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Got Milk?

Renovations are no time to stop thinking about your customers’ needs



My neighborhood convenience store has been closed for renovation for eternity. At least it feels like it’s been that long, every time I find myself driving 10 minutes out of my way just to get a gallon of milk. While I’m puzzled by the retailer’s choice to stay closed so long (haven’t they heard about rising gas and food prices!), I’m holding out hope that it’s worth the wait when they unveil a new store this month. Still, these six months have not been without frustration.

And that’s just one shopper’s perspective.

No renovation project – whether it’s a complete gut and remodel or transforming an existing white box into a new home for your brand – is without its complications. Hidden structural issues, compressed timelines, delivery schedules – it’s quite a puzzle to work through. In our September issue, VMSD unveils 10 stunning renovation projects that rose from the rubble to produce winning results in our annual Retail Renovation Competition.

These case studies offer new ideas and inspiration for dealing with challenging layouts, transforming simple materials into eye-catching designs and creating a store that better serves and connects retailers to their shoppers.

Maintaining that connection is even more important today when your competitor down the street is ready and willing to serve your customer’s needs – especially while a “closed” sign hangs in the window. Here again, some of this year’s competition winners provide some creative ways to handle that down time.

In anticipation of the renovation of its 57th Street flagship, luxury retailer Christian Dior worked with Shawmut Design and Construction to open a temporary store on Madison Avenue to serve customers while it gutted the space. The retailer even fronted the construction site barrier with a three-story Dior handbag, making quite an impression with New Yorkers and tourists alike.


Starbucks Coffee Co. took the caffeine needs of its customers to heart in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood when it closed its Olive Way store for renovation. The retailer parked a trailer on the site to sell coffee and espresso drinks with a limited food menu. They even made space for a small on-site patio so as not to interrupt any regular coffee dates. “It goes back to local relevance,” says Lionel Sussman, design director, Global Concept Design, Starbucks, “and keeping the customers happy.”

And a happy customer is one who’s sure to return once you do open the doors to your new retail experience.




MasterClass: ‘Re-Sparkling’ Retail: Using Store Design to Build Trust, Faith and Brand Loyalty

HOW CAN WE EMPOWER and inspire senior leaders to see design as an investment for future retail growth? This session, led by retail design expert Ian Johnston from Quinine Design, explores how physical stores remain unmatched in the ability to build trust, faith, and loyalty with your customers, ultimately driving shareholder value.

Presented by:
Ian Johnston
Founder and Creative Director, Quinine Design

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