Based in Red Wing, Minn., Red Wing Shoes are generally distributed through independent retailers, although the company does operate some frill-less factory-owned and outlet-type sources. Red Wing Shoe Co., however, wanted a dramatic prototype to showcase some of its lesser-known brands to a wider audience than its core market of construction/heavy-industry workers. Creators from SteinDesign, Minneapolis, said the prototype's design was based on Red Wing's belief that customers don't want to be sold anything.
They want to be empowered to make the right buying decision. So designers added some "you-be-the judge" elements like artificial rockwork. The cast rocks are not only convincing imitations, they are sturdy enough for customers to test-drive outdoor recreational brands. Also, an interactive kiosk has all the products on CD-ROM in case a customer is looking for a very specific kind of shoe. To create an emotional connection between customers and the brand's heritage, an "interpretive center" at the front of the store features a vintage facade. Credits of valued boot makers, both past and present, adorn the front of the store. Information presented this way helps customers learn about the complex craftsmanship that goes into the footwear.
Client Design: Red Wing Shoe Co., Red Wing, Minn. -- Arne Skyberg, project manager; Nick Farsted, design coordinator; Kim Wiemer, advertising; Sharon Rusch, retail development manager; Gail Rosenthal, art director Design: SteinDesign, Minneapolis -- Sanford Stein, design director; Andy Weaverling, project design and environmental graphics; Joel Woodward, project design and architectural interiors; Jim Hoeplf, CAD manager Consultants: Schuler and Shook, Minneapolis (lighting); National Contractors Inc. (NCI), Bloomington, Minn. (general contractors); Gausman & Moore, St. Paul, Minn. (mechanical/electrical engineers) Suppliers: Juno Lighting, DesPlaines, Ill.; Lightolier Inc., Fall River, Mass.; and Abolite Lighting, Cincinnati (lighting); Pinnacle Designs, Elk River, Minn.; Waves of Grain, Minneapolis; Thompson Museum Consulting, Minneapolis; and HSC Scenic Services, Minneapolis (fixturing); Custom Rock, St. Paul, Minn. (rockwork); Tep Systems Inc., Minneapolis (interactive kiosk) Photographs: George Heinrich, Minneapolis