A Cincinnati-area manufacturer is working to develop a way to make outdoor dining and social distancing more appealing. The pilot product launches in New York City on Times Square today.
“It’s a group of business folks who are looking to try to get themselves more space to try to get through some of the times," said Todd Zureick, vice president of sales and marketing with Hollaender Manufacturing in Woodlawn. "And, also in regular times, help beautify areas.”
Hollaender is providing engineering and production of tables and seating for restaurants that are expanding their footprint outdoors to streets or parking lots. The company is working with Brooklyn, New York-based Fantastica, the company that designed the structures. Currently, they have three examples of the project. In addition to Times Square, there is a structure in the Wall Street area and near the Empire State Building. Hollaender produces pipe and fittings for the structures that can be painted, decorated and customized.
“This project obviously is a need right now. They are looking to expand the footprint of their restaurants, and make things where they can have more dining and more accessibility to patronage of all of their businesses,” Zureick said.
The benches, for example, are designed to be six feet long to provide natural social distancing. Zureick said it's a visual cue for people for keep their distance.
The added restaurant or retail space also can be decorated, include heating and even Wi-Fi. Zureick said they work with local governments to make sure the expanded space, particularly on municipal streets, meets local regulations. He said the company has had conversations with Cincinnati officials who have also expressed interest.
“And it’s not just restaurants," he said. "The one that they’re going to do on Wall Street is actually more for office space.”
The fittings are manufactured out of melted aluminum at Hollaender's foundry. The aluminum is heated in a 1400-degree oven then poured into molds and cooled. A simple railing or support structure can be put together with the pipe and fittings in a matter of minutes.
“It also allows modularity which means they can take it apart, put it away, move it to other places," he said. “It gives a really design-friendly look. It doesn’t look slapped together.”
Hollaender has been in business in Cincinnati since the 1940s. It's a fourth-generation, family-owned company that ships products around the world. On the walls in its lobby hang pictures of products produced over the years that have been used by NASA and other government entities, amusement parks, ballparks, even to secure President John F. Kennedy.
Zureick said they are an essential business because their products are needed for government structures. The items have also been used to construct portable hospitals.
"In Rhode Island, our pipe and fittings were used in three different field hospitals for COVID,” he said.
In the next several weeks, Zureick said the company expects to be able to offer the products nationally.