Trek Bicycle’s (Waterloo, Wis.) Retail Design Lab isn’t technically a retail space. Instead, it’s a design and branding lab where the company tests retail prototypes, solicits feedback from retailers and even hosts special events. Built in 2008, the space recently underwent a third remodel focused on communicating the brand’s history and the story behind its bikes.
Most Trek products are sold by independent retailers; some are wholly Trek shops, but most also carry competitors’ bikes and gear. This poses the twin challenges of staying true to the brand’s minimalist sensibilities while allowing it to stand out in a multi-vendor shop. “We hope this lab will raise the level of aesthetics you see for the brand,” explains Eric Lynn, Trek’s creative director. Accordingly, Trek’s creative team can experiment with merchandising in the reconfigurable space.
The 1800-square-foot venue’s design showcases the brand’s humble Midwest origins and high-tech know-how with minimalist colors and materials. These palettes include finished metals, rough-cut reclaimed ash, white acrylic and paint, whitewashed wood and concrete flooring. Keeping branding simple helps shoppers view “all of our products (expensive or not) in a high-end way,” says Jeramie Selders, director of retail and environmental design.
Trek bikes are designed for a range of consumers – from small children to professional racers – so the juxtaposition of sparse design with a high-tech feel helps teach retailers who visit the space how to speak to a range of consumers. “These are bikes, not toys,” says media relations manager Eric Bjorling.
Black-and-white photographs of company founders near the cashwrap emphasize the founding family’s hardworking history, which resonates with shoppers looking for a brand they can trust. “We’re sharing our history with customers to emphasize that we’ve been doing this for a long time,” Lynn says. “What we do with the Trek product is a labor of love.”
Design - Trek Bicycle, Waterloo, Wis.; Eric Lynn, creative director; Jeramie Selders, director; Stephanie Feiner, design project manager; Doug Chamberlain, environmental designer; Traci Fuller, visual designer;
Zachary Siefkes, production designer; Chris Schalow, construction project manager; Craig Bilau, manager; Jarrod Beglinger, art director; Ómar Sigursveinsson, art director
Architect - Oliver Construction Co., Oconomowoc, Wis.
Audio/Visual - Harmon Intl., Stamford, Conn.
Ceilings - Hoffman Manufacturing Corp., Madison, Wis.
Fixtures - Sparks and Splinters LLC, Madison, Wis.; Beeline Group, San Francisco, Calif.; Oliver Construction Co., Oconomowoc, Wis.
Flooring - Specialized Construction Services Inc., Waterloo, Wis.
Furniture - Pure Modern Chairs, Waterloo, Wis.; Waterloo Antiques Mall, Waterloo, Wis.
Lighting - Preferred Electric, New Berlin, Wis.; Home Depot, Madison, Wis.
Mannequins - CNL Mannequins, Buena Park, Calif.
Props and decoratives - Waterloo Antiques Mall, Waterloo, Wis.; Palette One, Waterloo, Wis.
Signage - Acryfab Inc., Sun Prairie, Wis.