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Bona Design Lab Honored in Retail Design Institute “Store of the Year” Competition for Upa! C-Store in Santiago, Chile

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New design introduces “foodvenience” concept to Chile

NEW YORK (7/23/19) — Bona Design Lab, a global retail design and consulting firm based in New York City, has been recognized by the Retail Design Institute for the store design it created for ENEX, the licensee for Shell brand fuels and lubricants in Chile and operator of service stations as well as convenience stores under the Upa! and Upita! brands. The design was one of the finalists in the “Class of 2018 Winners” named by the Retail Design Institute in its 48th annual Store of the Year competition.

The award-winning design was created for a 270-square-meter (2,900-square-foot) stand-alone Upa! store located on the ground floor of a new office building on Avenida Apoquindo in Santiago, Chile.  According to Nicolás Correa, General Manager of ENEX, the store, which opened in December 2018, was the first of three scheduled to open over a 12-month period.  It was also the chain’s first location to exclude fuel.            

The new Upa! design marks the Chilean debut of the “foodvenience” concept formulated by noted designer and retail consultant Joseph Bona, president of Bona Design Lab. As a retail format, “foodvenience” incorporates a product assortment typical of convenience stores combined with a grill serving fresh, gourmet-quality foods and an offer of other freshly prepared food and drinks.                

The location on Avenida Apoquindo also offers an extensive selection of wines and liquors, a 5° beer cellar, an ice cream station, and a variety of seating options that includes sofas and armchairs and even workstations equipped with Wi-Fi. All told, the store can seat approximately 60 people.             

“What differentiates this store is that it really is a destination for people who want to relax and enjoy a high-quality offering of food and beverages,” said Bona. “The typical convenience store on a fuel site is for people who are in a hurry. Here, customers can enjoy a leisurely meal or drink or even use the space as a workplace away from home.”                

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The dramatic architectural design of the high-rise building, which results in floor-to-ceiling glass on three sides of the store, dictated a layout which places the extensive seating in the front half of the store and concentrates the foodservice operations in the rear.      

“In order to draw customers’ attention to the food and drink offerings, we used dramatic, theatrical lighting that creates visually arresting highlights and contrasts,” explained Bona.

The concept drew praise from judges in the Retail Design Institute’s competition, with one summing up the project as “solid fresh modern food and convenience. The nice cafe section would make you spend more time there.” Another judge called Upa! a “well-thought out concept and inviting design,” while a third credited Bona Design Lab for “good use of low-cost materials.

Enex plans to open 100 new convenience stores by 2022, of which about a third will be stand-alone outlets.         

About Bona Design Lab

Based in in New York City, Bona Design Lab is a global retail and design firm known for its elevated approaches to convenience store, food, and fuel retailing. Its suite of services includes brand strategy development, consumer insights, naming/logo development, site planning, store layout, exterior/interior design, and graphic design. Its capabilities in business analysis and consulting run the gamut from menu and communications strategies to equipment layout and workflow analysis, to financial metrics and operational consulting.

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