Z Market

VM+SD 2006 Retail Renovation Competition Winner
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Posted September 25, 2006
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North East, Md.
First place Convenience Store

Like many roadside convenience stores, the gift shop in the Chesapeake House Travel Plaza on the JFK Memorial Highway in Maryland was cramped and uninviting, with poor lighting and ad-hoc merchandising.

"The store had a chaotic feeling that lost as many sales as it made," says Paul Pizzini, vp, design director, at MillerZell (Atlanta), which was hired by shop owner HMS Host Corp. (Bethesda, Md.) to upgrade the space. "The Miller Zell/HMS Host design team believed that travelers deserved better."

MillerZell revamped the store's layout while HMS Host upgraded the merchandise mix. At the center of the space is a circular convenience hub offering candies and tobacco products in a tiered display. One wall is dedicated to an expanded cold vault cooler, while another houses a sweeping "fresh food" wall that showcases "Wolfgang Puck To Go" sandwiches, salads and coffee. In addition, the MillerZell/HMS Host team gave the space a zippy new name – Z Market.

"With such dramatic changes in merchandising, food and the shopping experience, Z Market makes a stop on the interstate something to look forward to," says Pizzini. "Sales have increased 40 percent over the previous year, and traveler response has been overwhelmingly positive. The MillerZell design team and the HMS Host retail team, led by senior vp Joan Ryzner, have collaborated to reinvent the travel plaza experience."

Client: HMS Host Corp., Bethesda, Md.
Joan Ryzner, senior vp, retail
Joe Lutz, senior vp, motorways division
Brian Gallant, vp, motorways
Mark Hertel, general manager
Linda Tolleson, director, space planning
Pat Villata, director, visual merchandising
Dave Widmar, food standards

Design: MillerZell, Atlanta
Paul Pizzini, vp, design director
Keith Curtis, design director

Corbin Pulliam, project director
Genie Lee, art director, graphics
Chris Chapman, z man design
Wright Bunch, design development, fixtures
Avery Draper, production art
Angie Coleman, program manager

Architect: Arc Vision Studios PC, Greensboro, N.C.

General Contractor: Arlene Inc., Alpharetta, Ga.

Outside Consultant: X-3 Creative LLC, Smyrna, Ga. (graphics)

Modular Fixtures/Graphics: Miller Zell, Atlanta

Floor Fixtures: OPTO Intl. Inc., Wheeling, Ill.

Photography: Rion Rizzo, Creative Sources, Atlanta