Cincinnati is the home of professional baseball. The first major league team, the Reds opened for business in 1869. And, to commemorate the Reds' 135-year history, the team's Hall of Fame and Museum now sits near the entrance to Great American Ball Park.
But the ball doesn't stop after leaving the Hall of Fame. A red carpeted staircase leads visitors directly down into the Reds Team Shop. Jack Rouse Associates (Cincinnati), which also designed the Hall of Fame museum, and Retail Design Collaborative (Cincinnati) worked together to create the shop, a showcase for the history of a five-time world championship team.
Peering down from the staircase into the store, a 20-foot-high replica of the World Series Championship trophy becomes the icon for the first floor. The lighting system above the trophy features suspended baseballs depicting the Reds' five World Series wins (in 1919, 1940, 1975, 1976 and 1990). The lighting structure leaves plenty of room to add oversized baseballs should the team bring home more World Series wins.
"The trophies in the Hall of Fame help connect with the iconic element on the ground floor," says Amy Merrell, coo of Jack Rouse Associates. "This element is a visual draw from the outside, since the surrounding glass windows let fans see directly into the shop."
From the Hall of Fame, a staircase leads down to the mezzanine level, where such collectible merchandise as signed baseballs, bats, jerseys, framed photos, gloves and helmets are displayed in museum-like cases.
After visiting the mezzanine, fans continue downstairs into the team store. "Red and white colors frame the creative approach to showcasing the Reds' product offerings," says John Heatherman, president of Retail Design Collaborative. "The oversized, 35-foot-tall Louisville Slugger bats seem to support the mezzanine, while a red ball stitch inlay in the white porcelain floor helps direct the fans visually through the space."
A large Reds logo "C" cashwrap houses four of the eight point-of-sale stations that are used on game days. The metal track system overhead also features the iconic "C" and displays numerous red and white lighting pendants. A 12-foot-high curved wall of hats draws fans into the center of the store.
Throughout the store, red and white internally lit and freestanding fixtures provide flexible options for merchandising. "Custom fixtures were designed to display merchandise such as pins, baseballs, t-shirts, jerseys and banners," says Heatherman. "In addition, small, built-in plasma screens show highlights of the past games."
Other notable elements in the store include a niche for children's wear; Nike's custom designed fixtures to present its own branded merchandise; and large black and white graphics of former and current Reds players and events that face outside the shop for visiting fans.
"This is the oldest, longest-running professional baseball franchise in the world, and so our desire was to create a 'wow effect' as you enter the store," says Heatherman. "We achieved a strong brand presence for the Reds as a total architectural anchor to the riverfront development."
Client: Cincinnati Reds, Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati
Declan Mullin, senior director, Ball Park operations
Amy Hafer, merchandise manager
Design: Retail Design Collaborative, Cincinnati; Jack Rouse Associates, Cincinnati
John Heatherman, president/principal-in-charge, Retail Design Collaborative
Amy Merrell, coo, Jack Rouse Associates
Outside Design Consultant: Architectural Group Intl., Covington, Ky. (interior project architect)
General Contractor: Megan Construction Co., Cincinnati
Audio/Visual: RCA, Indianapolis
Fixtures: Custom Millcraft, Fairfield, Ohio
Marlite, Dover, Ohio
International Visual Corp., New York
Glass-Edge for Perimeter Fixtures
Rudy Art Glass Studio, York, Pa.
Flooring: Innovative Marble & Tile Inc., Hauppauge, N.Y.
Mannington Commercial Flooring, Calhoun, Ga.
Lighting: Abernathy Lighting Design Inc., N. Providence, R.I.
Mannequins/Forms: Ronis Bros., Lynbrook, N.Y.
Silvestri California, Los Angeles
Props and Decoratives: Allen Meyer Ltd., Lake Zurich, Ill.
World Series Trophy, Oversized Baseballs and Bats
Nassal Co., Orlando
Signage/Graphics: Geograph Industries, Harrison, Ohio
Wallcoverings and Materials: Maharam, Cincinnati
Photgraphy: Matthew Lausé Photography, Cincinnati