While afraid I might be a bit out of context, I'm wondering if it ia really the word "place" that is causing the problem. With that in mind, my eyes quickly jumped to "occupy", which does give an air of being a "negative" word, if the idea of "not taking space" is the ultimate goal. Based on these assumptions, a complete re-engineering of the passage might be needed. An idea is:
These retailing shops will have to keep our cakes in good condition in their window cabinets. We will pay each shop a sum that exceeds thousand dollars monthly for their services in displaying the cakes in their window cabinets.
(And now the issue of how much space they take was bypassed, because the word 'services' tend to shift the mind towards the actual placing of cakes instead of them just sitting there.)
However, further investigation of the situation, reminds me of the matter of "borrowing". Sometimes we tend to use expressions that come from our mother tongues in other languages, where they don't carry the same (or worse, sometimes the complete opposite) meaning, or connotation. If we are talking of a business situation, it's then important to allocate for that possibility where words in English being read by a non-native might carry connotations that would not be taken by their value as perceived by native speakers, but by how the psyche of the reader was shaped by the perception of these words in their languages. As an example - or 2 :)
Portuguese: "a place" (in the context of the paragraph) would hint at that place belonging to something else.
Arabic: "a place" (again in the context of the paragraph) carries an idea of unavailability.
But I have been wrong before ;)