Sony has once again stepped out of the box in its search for markets for the Sony PictureStation by placing test units in four New Jersey stores of the Michaels Arts & Crafts chain, PTN has learned.
A Sony spokesman would not comment on the report.
PictureStation units, PTN learned, would be placed in four of the larger stores in the chain: Holmdel, Freehold, Princeton, and Bridgewater. These are all upscale communities in New Jersey. Installation was scheduled for June but had not been completed by this writing
Michaels is a major retailer of picture frames and an aggressive promoter of scrapbooking and it is no doubt looking for additional ways to build traffic and sales for those departments. Having a nearby kiosk to take consumers' digital flash media and turn them into prints immediately could be a good companion for those sections.
The PictureStation being installed will have all the Sony bells and whistles including a scanner for print-to-print and three dye-sub printers for 4x, 5x, and 8x print output. List price for the system is about $14,000.
It was also learned that Michaels had tested other brand kiosks in the past and were unhappy with the results.
Michaels Stores, Inc., based in Irving, Texas, owns over 800 Michaels stores in the U.S. and Canada, and another 158 Aaron Brothers stores on the West Coast.
With this test, Sony once again has reached outside the photo industry to look for placement opportunities for its PictureStation. Almost two years ago they captured the Kinkos account from the Kodak Picture Maker and have so far placed kiosks in over 900 Kinkos locations-some with two systems. Also, the 7-11 convenience chain has had the PictureStation on test at five Texas locations since the winter but has not yet decided on whether to expand the program.