By  on July 19, 2005

NEW YORK — The Mall at Short Hills in Short Hills, N.J., an upscale shopping center about 20 miles west of Manhattan, has a new amenity for its busy and demanding customers — the Mobile Car Wash.

Malls are becoming the place where more and more of life's chores are done. Centers across the country have added dry cleaners, post offices, hair salons and medical offices to their tenant rosters. Another trend is building residential housing at malls, giving them the features of a downtown district.

The Mall at Short Hills, which includes stores such as Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co. and Burberry, already has two valet parking operations, located at Saks and Neiman's. Now customers can leave a car with the valet and have it washed while they're shopping.

Mike McAvinue, general manager of the Mall, formed a task force several years ago to look at potential amenities such as shopping bag and package delivery to customers' cars and shoe shine and concierge services.

The Mobile Car Wash employs uniformed workers who roam the parking lot with washing carts. The carts use limited electricity, foamless products and only 1.5 gallons of water a wash.

Shoppers flag down a worker and pay in advance for packages that start at $15.

"The response has been incredible," McAvinue said.

In addition, the Mall at Short Hills has landed the first Dior and Links of London boutiques in New Jersey, slated to open next month. Free People and Hollister recently unveiled stores at the mall.

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