Trolley Kiosk Remains On Santa Monica Pier With New Three-Year Lease

Thursday, 21 Feb 2013, 8:07:00 AM

Parimal M. Rohit

A tourist-friendly vendor will be sticking around for another three years on the Santa Monica Pier as the City Council authorized the negotiation and execution of a 36-month license agreement with a local company selling Route 66 themed merchandise. Council members voted on the matter Feb. 12 as part of its consent calendar agenda.

With the vote, the City Manager’s office will be able to finalize the License Agreement with 66 to Cali, Inc. The California-based company operates “Trolley Kiosk,” a retail-vending stand, on the Pier just east of the Santa Monica Pier Police Substation.

The retailer has been operating its tourist-themed stand on the Pier since 2009, when it arrived there as part of the City’s mobile vending cart program. Two years later, the vendor decided to no longer operate as a mobile cart and instead established shop in a fixed location, which became known as Trolley Kiosk.

A license agreement between 66 to Cali, Inc., and City Hall had expired June 30, 2012. Since then, the vendor has been operating as a holdover on a month-to-month basis.

In seeking a new three-year license agreement for the space where Trolley Kiosk is located, City Hall published a Request for Proposals. Consistent with City policy, 66 to Cali, Inc., has to engage in a public competition for leasing and licensing opportunities on the Pier. According to City staff, six proposals were submitted last November, including one from 66 to Cali, Inc.

An evaluation committee with representatives from the Office of Pier Management, Economic Development Division, Santa Monica Pier Corporation, and Downtown Santa Monica, Inc., reviewed the proposals.

“Proposed concepts included eyebrow threading, a food use, and various types of souvenir concepts,” a City staff report stated. “The committee evaluated the proposals based on responsiveness to the RFP; experience and qualifications; managerial capability; and product concept and compatibility with Pier. In addition, in accordance with the Santa Monica Pier Leasing Guidelines, the current Pier vendor received bonus points for being an existing Pier business in good standing.”

City staff stated 66 to Cali, Inc., “submitted the strongest proposal with respect to each criterion set forth in the RFP.” Accordingly, City staff recommended to council members they allow the City Manager’s office to enter into a 3-year agreement with 66 to Cali, Inc., allowing them to continue selling Route 66 themed memorabilia such as apparel, books, glassware, maps, plaques, and signs.

The staff report continued that 66 to Cali, Inc., despite other vendors also selling souvenirs items on the Pier, was uniquely placed to serve as an asset for visitors of Santa Monica’s most iconic destination.

“While there are other merchants on the Pier that sell Route 66 souvenirs, ‘66 to Cali’s’ strategy to ensure the uniqueness of its operation has been to sell higher quality products and employ staff who are exceptionally knowledgeable and eager to share information with visitors on the history of Route 66 and the Santa Monica Pier,” City staff stated in its report to council members.

City staff anticipates earning $11,850 per month in minimum annual base rent from 66 to Cali, Inc.

The council also authorized the City Manager’s office to execute 12-month license agreements with nine independent vending cart operations on the Pier, including: Candy Carousel (kettle corn, cotton candy, candy, shaved ice); Redline (sunglasses); Tee’s R Us (t-shirts and custom transfers); LA Beach Kites (kites, toys); Two Photos In One (holographic photos); Downtown Food Co (cut fruit); Berlin Currywurst (sausage with curry); Green Truck (organic wraps and fish tacos); Crepe’n Around (crepes).

According to the staff report, City Hall anticipates $106,650 in annual revenues from these vending cart operations.

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