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Retail Challenge Live At Shop! Marketplace

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The winning 2022 Retail Challenge team built their concept at Shop! MarketPlace. Team members include Robyn Novak, Jeremy Martin, Jessie Sanders, Stephanie Lewis, Anthony Vitiello, Mari Miura and Jalpa Patel.

A HIGHLIGHT OF SHOP! MarketPlace this year was undoubtedly watching the winners of the 2022 Ideation Retail Challenge build out their winning store design IRL.

Emceed by Bevan Bloemendaal, Sr. Principal, Chief Brand and Creative Officer, NELSON Worldwide (Minneapolis), the Shop! Ideation Retail Challenge takes roughly 10 teams comprising retailers, designers and suppliers/manufacturers, and challenges them to create a retail design in one day within a set of prompts, working toward a common goal. Taking place in Columbus, Ohio, this past Oct. 25, 2022, the Retail Challenge partnered with the Columbus Fashion Council (CFC), a not-for-profit organization that seeks to expand the fashion economy in Columbus, Ohio.

Retail Challenge Live At Shop! Marketplace

The CFC leases eight storefronts in downtown Columbus at below-market cost, part of a strategic plan to launch “The Columbus Fashion & Retail District” in the heart of the city. Seven of the stores were occupied by local designers, while the eighth storefront was left vacant specifically for the winning team from the Retail Challenge to reimagine a flexible incubator of sorts, one that would feature a rotating assortment each quarter of local artisans and fashion designers.

Retail Challenge Live At Shop! Marketplace

After Shop! Ideation concluded last fall, the next step was making the winning display a reality at Shop! MarketPlace. Suppliers and manufacturers across the industry donated a slew of materials to make it come to life, including JPMA (Montreal), VCI/Rose Displays (Pawtucket, R.I.), D|Fab (Madison Heights, Mich.), Epidaur Digital (Oneonta, N.Y.), Hera Lighting (Norcross, Ga.), Mondo Mannequins (Hicksville, N.Y.), ZenGenius (Columbus, Ohio), AGAR (Cincinnati), and Dynamic Resources Inc. (New York). This resulted in a hanging grid system, a story wall, multi-use pedestals, tactile materials and an immersive digital wall.

Retail Challenge Live At Shop! Marketplace

The winning team, led by Robyn Novak, Executive Director of Strategy & Development, AGAR, attended Shop! MarketPlace to build out the store in real time – dubbed FROW, a fashion industry term that means “front row” – and change it over during the event to accommodate different merchandise displays. Fashion Designer Gerardo Encinas was in attendance, with some of his wares on display (and for sale) within the booth.

Retail Challenge Live At Shop! Marketplace

“When I saw the renderings of how the space was going to look, I was even more excited, but nothing compares to being there and seeing it being built and then changed in front of everyone – from my own pop-up boutique into a women’s shoe store with different colors, graphics and video images. I was amazed by how quickly it was done and how versatile the space can be,” says Encinas.

After MarketPlace concluded, the fully built store was disassembled and shipped directly to Columbus, Ohio, to be built out in the real retail space in Ohio’s capital city.

The Shop! Association wishes to thank all the sponsors and suppliers who made this dream a reality, the winning team, and Bevan Bloemendaal for leading the charge the past two years for the Retail Challenge. Stay tuned to vmsd.com, shopassociation.org and shop-marketplace.com for more coverage. And don’t forget to save the date for the next Retail Challenge taking place at Shop! Ideation this October in Minneapolis. Registration will open this summer.

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