Until now, One Thousand Steps was known, mostly by O.C. sun-worshippers, as a secluded cove just below Laguna Beach, Calif., popular among (what else?) surfers and volleyball players.
Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. hopes the name will soon reverberate as a compelling retail brand among 18-to-24-year-old shoe buyers familiar with such trendy labels as Tsubo, Puma, Diesel, Charles David, Steve Madden and Kenneth Cole Reaction.
One Thousand Steps is PacSun’s new mall-based shoe and accessories store, which opened its first three stores, at the Galleria at Tyler (Riverside, Calif.), Los Cerritos (Calif.) Center and Minneapolis’ Mall of America, earlier this year. It’s the Anaheim, Calif.-based teen-favorite retailer’s entry into the world of shoes. And it’s aimed at the company’s mainstream mall-rat market – but with a twist.
The design concept, called “Melrose to mainstream,” was developed by Gensler (San Francisco). “The goal was to achieve a balance between creating something aspirational and completely new, yet comfortable and inclusive for the wide swath of mall shoppers across the country,” says Ted Jacobs, Gensler’s design director for the project. “What we didn’t want to do was create something so cutting edge it alienated the masses.”
A brand positioning statement also clarified the marketing intent: “Make the familiar new and the new familiar.” “That became a driving theme,” says Jacobs, “influencing both the store’s inventory and the overall customer experience.”
So the mall concept was stretched, though not so far that it became uncomfortable to the mall shopper. Shoes, bags and accessories are displayed on both illuminated floor fixtures and on the wall display and storage system – movable wall cabinets, covered in modern and whimsical wood-grain patterns, that display merchandise in illuminated niches. Specialized wall ladders were designed so that sales associates can retrieve merchandise without losing contact with the customer.
The store is broken into separate areas, what the designers call “customer touch points.” The first of these is the expansive glass storefront, which also serves as an updatable graphic billboard.
Customers are enticed deeper into the store by a glowing architectural orb in its center that houses belts, bags and watches. This area also includes the cashwraps, encased in molded fiberglass.
The rear zone of the store is fashion-sport footwear and accessories. The back wall, the visual terminus of the 2500-square-foot space, is a glowing series of white molded cubbies, intended to launch new products.
“Footwear has been a highly successful part of our assortment in PacSun stores,” says ceo Seth Johnson. “One Thousand Steps will enable us to leverage our brand management skills in what we believe is an underserved market. This new concept gives us an exciting growth vehicle that adds a new and distinct customer base to our business. Combined with our existing PacSun and d.e.m.o. businesses, we will have the opportunity to achieve significant sales and profit growth in the future.”
There are now nine locations open. The company believes that One Thousand Steps can ultimately grow to as many as 800 locations.
Client: Pacific Sunwear of California Inc., Anaheim, Calif. - Kim Bennett, project manager; Michelle Tomlinson, director, visual design
Design/Architecture: Gensler, San Francisco - Ted Jacobs, principal; Kamol Prateepmanowong; Genesse Rosal
Amanda Moskowitz; Dian Duval; Erich Mele; Janice Natchek
General Contractor: Hardesty & Associates, Newport Beach, Calif.
Outside Design Consultants: Studio Three Twenty One, San Francisco (lighting)
Raymond L. Goodson, Dallas (structural)
Ericksen Ellison & Associates, St. Paul, Minn. (mechanical/electrical/plumbing)
Audio/Visual: Bose, Wakefield, Mass.
Center Orb, Dome Ceiling, Rear Focal Wall: Penwal Industries Inc., Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
Fixtures: National Mallfront, Phoenix
Flooring: Fritz Industries, Mesquite, Texas (tile)
ECORE Intl., Lancaster, Pa. (recycled rubber flooring)
Lighting: Juno Lighting Group, Des Plaines, Ill.
Metal Walls, Signage/Graphics: National Mallfront, Phoenix
Photography: Benny Chan, Fotoworks, Los Angeles