Title:
Portable flat pack merchandise display
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention provides a portable merchandise display comprising a plurality of corner posts, a plurality of upper tracks attached to upper portions of the plurality of corner posts, and a plurality of lower tracks attached to lower portions of the plurality of corner posts, wherein the plurality of corner posts, the plurality of upper tracks, and the plurality of lower tracks constitute a support structure for panels stocked with merchandise for sale thereof.



Inventors:
Elston, Stephen (Ormond Beach, FL, US)
Application Number:
10/075553
Publication Date:
08/14/2003
Filing Date:
02/13/2002
Assignee:
ELSTON STEPHEN
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
211/182
International Classes:
A47F5/10; (IPC1-7): A47F5/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
TRAN, KHOA H
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Carl M Napolitano PhD (Orlando, FL, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A portable merchandise display comprising: a. a plurality of corner posts; b. a plurality of upper tracks attached to upper portions of said plurality of corner posts; and c. a plurality of lower tracks attached to lower portions of said plurality of corner posts, wherein said plurality of corner posts, said plurality of upper tracks, and said plurality of lower tracks constitute a support structure for panels stocked with merchandise for sale thereof.

2. The portable merchandise display of claim 1, further comprising means for connecting and disconnecting said plurality of corner posts, said plurality of upper tracks, and said plurality of lower tracks.

3. The portable merchandise display of claim 1, further comprising brackets for connecting and disconnecting said plurality of corner posts, said plurality of upper tracks, and said plurality of lower tracks.

4. The portable merchandise display of claim 3, wherein said brackets comprise at least one upper bracket and/or at least one lower bracket.

5. The portable merchandise display of claim 4, wherein said upper bracket includes a support notch, so as to provide support for a cover, display, or cover and display.

6. The portable merchandise display of claim 4, wherein said upper bracket includes means for connecting at least one of said plurality of corner posts to at least one of said plurality of upper tracks.

7. The portable merchandise display of claim 4, wherein said upper bracket includes at least one hole, so as to provide for connection to said upper portion of at least one of said plurality of corner posts, respectively.

8. The portable merchandise display of claim 4, wherein said upper bracket includes at least one detent for connecting said upper bracket to at least one of said plurality of upper tracks.

9. The portable merchandise display of claim 8, wherein said detent is a partial cutout from said upper bracket.

10. The portable merchandise display of claim 9, wherein said cutout is bent and offset from said upper bracket by the thickness thereof.

11. The portable merchandise display of claim 4, wherein said upper bracket includes a protrusion, so as to provide an anchor for a cover, display, or cover and display.

12. The portable merchandise display of claim 4, wherein said lower bracket includes means for connecting at least one of said plurality of corner posts to at least one of said plurality of lower tracks.

13. The portable merchandise display of claim 4, wherein said lower bracket includes at least one hole, so as to provide for connection to said lower portion of at least one of said plurality of corner posts, respectively.

14. The portable merchandise display of claim 4, wherein said lower bracket includes at least one detent for connecting said lower bracket to at least one of said plurality of lower tracks.

15. The portable merchandise display of claim 14, wherein said detent is a partial cutout from said lower bracket.

16. The portable merchandise display of claim 15, wherein said cutout is bent and offset from said lower bracket by the thickness thereof.

17. The portable merchandise display of claim 4, wherein said lower bracket includes means for providing connection to a moveable base support.

18. The portable merchandise display of claim 1, wherein at least one of said plurality of upper tracks and/or at least one of said plurality of lower tracks include a front leg, a back leg, and a connecting member between said front leg and said back leg.

19. The portable merchandise display of claim 18, wherein said front leg, said back leg, and said connecting member define a space in at least one of said plurality of upper tracks and/or at least one of said plurality of lower track for at least one upper portion and/or at least one lower portion of at least one merchandise display panel, respectively.

20. The portable merchandise display of claim 19, wherein said front leg of at least one of said plurality of upper tracks is longer than said front leg of at least one of said plurality of lower tracks, so as to provide for easy installation, removal, and restraint of said merchandise display panel.

21. The portable merchandise display of claim 19, further comprising means for connecting and disconnecting at least one of said plurality of corner posts, said plurality of upper tracks, and/or said plurality of lower tracks, and wherein said connecting member includes at least one groove or slot for receiving said means for connecting and disconnecting.

22. The portable merchandise display of claim 19, further comprising at least one upper bracket and/or at least one lower bracket so as to provide for connecting and disconnecting at least one of said plurality of corner posts, said plurality of upper tracks, and/or said plurality of lower tracks, and wherein said connecting member includes at least one groove or slot for receiving said upper bracket and/or said lower bracket.

23. The portable merchandise display of claim 1, wherein at least one of said plurality of corner posts includes at least one fastener bracket.

24. The portable merchandise display of claim 23, wherein at least of said plurality of corner posts is L-shaped.

25. The portable merchandise display of claim 23, wherein at least on of said plurality of corner posts includes at least one groove or slot for receiving a panel.

26. The portable merchandise display of claim 1, further comprising a cover.

27. The portable merchandise display of claim 26, wherein said cover includes a tent.

28. The portable merchandise display of claim 27, wherein said cover includes a frame to support said tent.

29. The portable merchandise display of claim 1, further comprising a support panel attached to at least one of said plurality of upper tracks, at least one of said plurality of lower tracks, and/or at least one of said plurality of corner posts, so as to provide additional support and rigidity thereof.

Description:

BACKGROUND

[0001] 1. Field of Invention

[0002] The instant invention relates generally to merchandise display method, apparatus, and article-of-manufacture. More particularly, the present invention relates to a high-capacity floor display adapted for storing and displaying merchandise, such as eyeglasses, jewelry, paper products, clothing, accessories, and other products sold in stores and markets.

[0003] 2. State of the Art

[0004] There are many different types of merchandise displays available today. Typical display stands include the carousel-type, fixed-flat type, counter-top type, free-standing type, and fixed-floor type.

[0005] One of the problems faced by retailers utilizing such displays is that a significant amount of time and effort is required for initial loading and subsequent replenishing of merchandise. These displays are generally large and heavy, especially when fully stocked, making it difficult to move, let alone transport to another facility or storage area. Still other drawbacks involve displays with an enormous number of components that must be removed or dismantled before the display can be stored or moved, which is especially true for large displays that provide a substantial amount of room for merchandise display and/or storage.

[0006] It is important for the retailer to receive from the wholesaler a merchandise display that is pre-loaded with inventory, thus requiring minimal time and effort in stocking, not to mention keeping pace with the changing seasons and consumer demands. Equally as important for the retailer having sufficient surface area to display a large number of items, while retaining the ability to store merchandise, move the display as desired within a store or to a different location, and disassemble the display for storage or transport.

OBJECTS AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a merchandise display.

[0008] Another object of the present invention is to provide a merchandise display that is portable.

[0009] Another object of the present invention is to provide a merchandise display in which inventory is stored.

[0010] It is a further object of the present invention to provide a merchandise display that is easily assembled and disassembled.

[0011] These and other objects of the present invention will be apparent in the following description.

[0012] The present invention provides a portable merchandise display comprising a plurality of corner posts, a plurality of upper tracks attached to upper portions of the corner posts, and a plurality of lower tracks attached to lower portions of the corner posts, wherein the corner posts, the upper tracks, and the lower tracks constitute a support structure for panels stocked with merchandise ready for sale.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0013] FIG. 1 depicts an exploded view of a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

[0014] FIG. 2 depicts a top view of the preferred embodiment;

[0015] FIG. 3 depicts a front view of the preferred embodiment;

[0016] FIG. 4 depicts an end view of an upper track of the preferred embodiment;

[0017] FIG. 5 depicts an end view of a lower track of the preferred embodiment;

[0018] FIG. 6 depicts an end view of a corner post of the preferred embodiment;

[0019] FIG. 7 depicts a top view of an upper corner bracket of the preferred embodiment; and

[0020] FIG. 8 depicts a top view of a lower corner bracket of the preferred embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0021] With reference now to the figures and, in particular, with reference to FIGS. 1, 2, and 3, there is depicted a representation of a merchandise display 10 of the present invention. Corner posts 24 are connected to each other at their lower and upper ends by a lower track 34 and an upper track 32, respectively. Support panels 22 attached between the upper and lower tracks provide additional support and stability. In order to allow for easy transport and rotation, wheels 36 are provided, preferably under each of the corner posts. Nevertheless, the base of the structure may simply be set on the floor, or on an additional rotatable and/or moveable base. The panels that hold and display the merchandise (not shown) are well known in the market place, and include the prepackaged panels pre-stocked with merchandise. Any merchandise panel may be utilized with the present invention without departure from its scope and spirit.

[0022] A cover 12 is provided for the display, preferably in the form of a pyramidal tent supported by an upper tent frame 14 and a lower tent frame 16. Naturally, the cover need not be limited to a pyramidal shape, and may be dome shaped, flat, square, or any other shape or design that is esthetically appealing or provides additional storage space within or on top of the structure; it can even be left uncovered altogether. The upper tent frame and the lower tent frame are triangular, and each includes a vertical slit between the base and the apex. Both slits extend half way between the base and the apex; the difference being that the slit of the upper tent frame begins at the base, and the slit of the lower tent frame begins at the apex. The ends of each of the bases also include cutouts 15 that provide a seat on which the frames rest on and are registered with the corner posts, and thereby add to the stability of the structure. As with the tent, the tent frames are not limited to a triangular shape, and may be semicircular, rectangular, or any shape or form that provides the necessary support of the tent.

[0023] As shown in FIG. 4, the upper track 32 includes a back leg 31, to which the support panel 22 (FIGS. 1, 3) may be attached, a front leg 35, and an upper connector 38 with bracket grooves or slots 38′ above and between the two legs. The lower track 34 (FIG. 5), is similar and includes a back leg 33, to which the support panel 22 (FIGS. 1, 3) may be attached, a front leg 37, and a lower connector 39 with bracket grooves or slots 39′ below and between the two legs. Once the display has been constructed, panels carrying merchandise (not shown) would be positioned between the upper and lower track and slidable therein. In order to provide for easy panel installation and removal, the front leg 35 of the upper track is slightly longer than the front leg 37 of the lower track, and is adapted to hold the upper portion of the panels carrying merchandise, provided that the height of the panel is less than the distance between upper and lower connectors and more than the distance between the front legs. The longer front leg provides additional space at the top, so that to install a panel, one need only slide the top portion of the panel into the upper track, providing sufficient space at the bottom for the panel to clear the shorter front leg of the lower track. Once the panel is lowered to rest on the lower track, the extra length of the front leg of the upper track is sufficient to restrain the top of the panel from falling out.

[0024] The corner post 24 shown in FIG. 6 has an L-shape, and includes panel grooves or slots 25, and fastener brackets 27 for retaining corner panels 26 (FIG. 1), which may include advertising or decoration. The L-shape is preferred for a merchandise display having a rectangular shape. Nevertheless, the right angle of the L may be varied to allow for a display with less than or greater than four sides, so that if three sides are preferred, the angle is decreased, while if five, six, or more sides are preferred, the angle is increased.

[0025] FIG. 7 depicts an upper corner bracket 42 as viewed from above, including screw bores 45, detents 48, a notch or cutout 43, and a flat edged corner 41. The screw bores are aligned such that a connector may pass through and be held by the fastener brackets 27 of the corner post 24. While screw snaps are preferred, equivalents may be substituted, such as screws, bolts, dowels or any other device that may be utilized to attach the corner post and the upper corner brackets. The notch 43 provides a seat for the cutouts 15 in the upper and lower tent frames, thereby increasing the stability of the structure. Opposite to the notch, a protrusion with the flat edged corner 41 provides an anchor about which the corners of the tent 12 are stretched over and held in place, which also adds to the stability of the overall structure. The main purpose for the upper corner bracket is to provide a connection between the corner posts and the upper tracks, as shown in FIG. 2 in which the tent is clear to show the connection. The detents 48 are actually cut out of the bracket itself, having three cutout sides with the remaining side bent out and offset from the bracket by the plate thickness, and preferably protrude downward from the upper corner brackets. The bracket grooves or slots 38′ of the upper track hold the outer edges of the upper corner bracket, and because the detents tend to push away from the upper track, while the slots push the upper corner bracket toward the upper track, the pressure causes a higher friction force, thereby making the connection firm and sturdy. Nevertheless, the offset also provides a space for similar detents, holes, or other protrusions in the upper track to be tightly imbedded therein. The detents need not be cut out of the bracket, but simply added on by well known means, bent, or molded.

[0026] Lower corner brackets 44, shown in FIG. 8, are practically the same as the upper corner brackets with a few preferred modifications. As with the upper corner bracket, the lower corner bracket includes similarly positioned detents 49, as well as screw bores 47 aligned such that a connector may pass through and be held by the fastener brackets 27 of the corner post 24. While the lower corner bracket does not require the protrusion for anchoring the tent, a wheel bore 46 is included for those instances where wheels or other base structures are desired to be secured by a connector, as apposed to a structure into which the wheels could be snap-fit. As with the upper corner bracket, the lower corner bracket detents 49 are cut out of the bracket itself, having three cutout sides with the remaining side bent out and offset from the bracket by the plate thickness, and preferably upward from the lower corner bracket. Again, these detents are effective in providing a holding force when used together with the bracket grooves or slots 39′ of the lower track, which hold the outer edges of the corner bracket.

[0027] The present invention has been specifically designed to provide a merchandise display structure where assembly and disassembly are conveniently and easily accomplished, without sacrificing the stability and strength of the overall structure. The process of assembling the merchandise display of the present invention begins with the attachment of the upper and lower brackets to the corner posts. As described above, screw snaps are utilized for their inherent convenience, but other suitable alternatives may be substituted. Next, the upper and lower tracks are systematically snapped into place, utilizing the detents. The support panels are then attached to the back legs of the upper and lower tracks, thus providing a solid structure in which merchandise panels may be inserted and stocked, as described above. The space inside of the structure provides a substantial storage area for additional stock, pre-stocked merchandise panels, or anything else that needs to be placed out of sight. Simply by removing a merchandise panel, access is provided to additional stock within the display. Another method is to have two panels in each side, with the upper and lower tracks having sufficient space between the back and front legs to permit one panel to slide in front or behind the other. And, yet another way would include one of the two panels only partially stocked with merchandise, and the remaining space utilized for advertisements, notices, or even a mirror. The possibilities for variation are almost endless.

[0028] While the structure is complete and operable, other additional components may be added if so desired. As described above, wheels or other base structures may be added to provide for rotation or movement of the display. Additionally, lighting fixtures may be attached for illumination or simply esthetic appeal.

[0029] The above described tent may be installed by first sliding the upper tent frame into the lower tent frame through the slits. Once attached, the combined tent frame is positioned on top of the merchandise display structure, with the cutouts aligned and placed in the notches of the upper corner brackets. Finally, the tent is placed onto the tent frames, and the corners of the tent are pulled over the protruding flat edged corners of the upper corner brackets, as described above. To dismantle the display, for storage or movement to another location, the above steps are simply reversed.

[0030] The forgoing description is meant to be illustrative and not limiting. Various changes, modifications, and additions may become apparent to the skilled artisan upon perusal of this specification, and such are meant to be within the scope and spirit of the invention as defined by the claims.





 
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