Build-your-own robots touch down in two malls

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How many boys would like to build a customized robot? A lot, according to the founders of Robot Galaxy, the latest entry in the build-your-own-toy retail space.

With stores that look like spaceships, a comic book line and a Web site featuring games and other activities, Robot Galaxy looks to become a multichannel brand that appeals to boys up to age 12.

“When you look at the retail landscape today, there's really not much being done for this demographic,” said Ken Pilot, whose title is chief galaxy officer of New York-based Robot Galaxy. Pilot previously was president of Gap Brands.

The stores are currently Robot Galaxy's primary marketing vehicle.

“I truly believe that if the in-store experience is positive, than that is the best marketing I can pay for,” he said.

The store's Web site,, is also a part of the marketing strategy. Pilot envisions eventually creating Web community on the site in which kids can play games against one another and accrue points.

The first Robot Galaxy stores opened this fall at the Freehold Raceway Mall in New Jersey and the Palisades Center Mall in West Nyack, New York.

Upon entering one of the stores, shoppers see two conveyor belts on either side, where the robots are displayed. Touch-screen panels enable shoppers to program their robot while a 12-foot tall replica of Saturn with a see-through elevator is used for “activating” completed robots.

Shoppers build robots from a selection of a la carte pieces, some of which are motorized, with more than 1,000 different combinations possible. Prices for a completed robot range from $27-$47.


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