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07/28/2013

Brilliant Blueprints

PG proudly crowns a new collection of show-stopping supermarket design concepts that shine brightly from coast to coast.

From a vastly remodeled store that went from drab to fab with an additional 15,000 square feet of space and a complete floor-to-ceiling facelift, to a transformed space that merges a warehouse format with an ultra-modern vibe and top-of-the-line services, to a store whose produce department features Tiffany-inspired windows and overhead conservatory arches — these and 21 other supermarkets that have opened their doors during the past year have been chosen as winners of Progressive Grocer’s fourth annual Store Design Contest.

Five budget categories — two for new ground-up construction, as well as three for remodeling projects ranging from modest to massive — once again provided store design teams a chance to be recognized for outstanding achievements in innovation, form, functionality and creativity.

Having received the highest-ever number of Store Design Contest entries this year, our judges had a challenging time winnowing the original pool of more than 50 to a total of 17 first-place winners, each of which are profiled on the following pages. Additional coverage of our Store Design Contest’s excellent runners-up and honorable mentions can be found at Progressivegrocer.com/2013StoreDesignContest, which also features expanded photo galleries and video clips of many of the stores showcased herein.

BEST OVERALL DESIGN

New Construction

Over 50,000 Square Feet

STORE NAME

Reasor's

NEIGHBORHOOD

Bixby, Okla.

DESIGNER

Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc.

PG'S FAVORITE DESIGN ELEMENT

The grabber: A 3D décor element of a semi-trailer truck complete with real lights and horn, appears to back through the wall of the dairy department, with an image of owner Larry Reasor in the cab. This store was designed to appeal to an upscale community in Bixby, Okla., as well as the mid-market grocery shopper through the use of a base neutral-color palette departmentalized by theme and motif.

MOST PROGRESSIVE FEATURES

The produce department uses Tiffany-inspired windows, overhead conservatory arches and a huge skylight to emphasize the "Garden Spot of Bixby." Track lighting using the latest in LED technology enhances the product on tables. The meat and seafood departments are uniquely defined yet connected through a mural that depicts the progression from pasture to pond, boasting a 3D boat and fish swimming to the department.

HOT TRENDS

The Kitchen Connection is an architectural billboard for kitchen demos that flanks the kitchenware department. A trellis above the floral department is finished to look like greenhouse wood. Routed metal-arched structures impart warmth and comfort to the checkout area.

BEST OVERALL STORE DESIGN

New Construction,

Under 50,000 Square Feet

STORE NAME

Lunds Hennepin Avenue

STORE OWNER

Lund Food Holdings Inc.

NEIGHBORHOOD

Downtown Minneapolis

DESIGNER

In-house with Shea Design Inc.

PG'S FAVORITE DESIGN ELEMENT

The 20,000-square-foot Lunds Hennepin Avenue grocery store, housed in a building constructed in 1912 by the Reno Motor Co., preserves the site's historic attributes while creating shopping experiences that meet the needs of today's urban residents and workers. Lunds created a store that fosters a sense of community and is a true destination for extraordinary food, exceptional service and passionate expertise.

MOST PROGRESSIVE FEATURES

To help customers with alternative-fuel cars, the store's parking lot offers two charging stations for electric and plug-in-hybrid vehicles. The store's location on a public transit route makes it a routine stop for shoppers seeking grab-and-go options. The rain garden between the grocery store and the wine and spirits shop is designed to hold and filter rainwater from the property before it enters the public drainage system. Each chair in the café seating area is made from 111 recycled plastic bottles.

HOT TRENDS

Much of the wood used in the store was salvaged from the renovation of the neighboring wine and spirits building, including century-old Douglas fir beams. The unique tiles used throughout the store are handmade by local artisans. A shower room and bike storage area are provided for employees.

BEST NEW CONCEPT DESIGN

STORE NAME

Orchard Fresh

STORE OWNER

Tops Markets LLC

NEIGHBORHOOD

Orchard Park, N.Y.

DESIGNER

CIP Retail Design

PG'S FAVORITE DESIGN ELEMENT

Williamsville, N.Y.-based Tops Markets' first-ever small-format concept store wowed us with the alter-ego contrast between the upscale suburban Buffalo, N.Y., location and the industrial-chic end result, where the simplicity and beauty of fresh food takes center stage. At 30,400 square feet (with 18,500 square feet of selling space), the open-market floor plan was designed to give guests a visual panorama of the entire store immediately upon entry.

MOST PROGRESSIVE FEATURES

Affectionately dubbed "The Amoeba" by the Orchard Fresh team, the epicenter of the store features 142 linear feet of free-flowing cases forming a one-of-a-kind island that houses the concept store's kitchen and delicatessen, which offer authentic, chef-prepared dishes; wood-fired pizzas; made-to-order sushi; and cheeses from around the world. When guests look up, they can see the floating ceiling that's designed to take the shape of the island below.

HOT TRENDS

In produce, mobile cases — which were selected for their role as a backdrop for featured products rather than merely a prop — serve as the focal point to emphasize an ever-changing organic selection. As a nod to ensuring the most efficient use of a compact space, there are no visual barriers to otherwise interrupting the guests' experience.

BEST STORE REMODEL, OVER $6 MILLION

STORE NAME

Fresh St. Market

STORE OWNER

H.Y. Louie

NEIGHBORHOOD

West Vancouver, B.C., Canada

DESIGNER

King Retail Solutions

PG'S FAVORITE DESIGN ELEMENT

A prevailing feeling of fun, wonder and, most importantly, a playground of fresh ingredients to combat the middle-of-the-road grocery feeling of Fresh St. Market's competitors. Thoughtful, visual displays dedicated to each "food destination" throughout the space reinforce the store owner's and designer's key goal of transforming the former Safeway into a stunning new grocery destination revolving around authentic, affordable fresh foods in the affluent neighborhood of West Vancouver, B.C.

MOST PROGRESSIVE FEATURES

Each department serves as a boutique-within-store, imparting a sea-front farmers' market favor via a stand-alone bakery, deli and Chop House butcher shop, among others. Dimensional copy highlights specific departments while incorporating various creative banners and signage, including framed chalkboards, corkboards and brown parchment paper in the meat department. Simple, rustic materials, such as exposed-grain edges of wood and metallic features, enhance the "street market" feel.

HOT TRENDS

Various custom fixtures, with a focus on creating bright, unique ways to display fresh food, include the soup & salad bar island and 16th St. Deli. Among the vertical materials are corrugated steel and wood grain around the island, topped with a Caesarstone countertop.

BEST LOW-COST REMODEL — LESS THAN $3 MILLION

STORE NAME

Yummy Market

STORE OWNER

Alexei Tsvetkov

NEIGHBORHOOD

Vaughn, Ontario, Canada

DESIGNER

api (+)

PG'S FAVORITE DESIGN ELEMENT

The design goal for the 50,000-square-foot store was to create a fully branded European-style environment and to define the Yummy Market brand essence, focusing on brand personality, brand promise, point of difference and tone of voice. Rather than gutting the building previously occupied by a major grocery chain, the concept integrated some existing architectural and design elements into the new look. The floor, ceiling color, decorative headwall tiles and some refrigerated cases remain as they were, but the previous store's branding and style have changed. The design team created a fresh, new color and material palette around the original pieces.

MOST PROGRESSIVE FEATURES

The bakery was moved toward the front of store, creating a new architectural feel and a focal point for shoppers. Prominent design features include images of European landmarks, curved bulkheads featuring colorful tiles and signage, and an open layout. Hints of European culture, such as the use of Cyrillic letters in the dairy department signage, can be seen throughout the store.

HOT TRENDS

Yummy Market's European-style shopping experience is heavily focused on prepared foods and imported specialties. The store contains a 2,315-square-foot kitchen and is centered on the 3,050-square-foot bakery and patisserie featuring breads, cakes and pastries baked from scratch daily. Other fresh departments include a delicatessen, a butcher shop, a fishmonger, smoked fish, a juice bar, self-serve bulk nuts, produce, dairy and flowers.

BEST HISPANIC CONCEPT DESIGN

STORE NAME

El Rey Foods

STORE OWNERS

Jason and Laura Hyland

NEIGHBORHOOD

Southside, Milwaukee

DESIGNER

Mehmert Store Services

PG'S FAVORITE DESIGN ELEMENT

The store's new façade stretches past the grocery aisles well into the adjoining spaces. A mural-like window concept draws attention from the east side traffic while sprucing up an otherwise outdated sidewalk view. Replacing the old windows with energy-efficient ones creates significant savings as well for the once-outdated building that's since been dramatically transformed.

MOST PROGRESSIVE FEATURES

The produce department greets customers upon entry with the bold colors of fresh fruits and vegetables alongside beautiful décor elements. Once located in the farthest corner of the store, the relocated front-and-center produce department has resulted in drastic improvements with the overall floor plan and total store sales as well.

HOT TRENDS

The in-store restaurant's new kitchen equipment and lively décor provide a cozy spot for a sit-down meal or a quick grab-and-go lunch. Often overflowing with patrons at lunchtime, the beautified space makes it tricky to determine whether it's a supermarket with a restaurant, or a restaurant with a supermarket.

BEST SMALL-FORMAT DESIGN

STORE NAME

Broulim's

NEIGHBORHOOD

Rexburg, Idaho

DESIGNER

Decorworx

PG'S FAVORITE DESIGN ELEMENT

Broulim's is a local favorite in Idaho, and its newly remodeled and expanded Rexburg store has brought that message home even more clearly. Broulim's raised the roof with the new addition of 15,000 square feet for a total of 30,000 square feet, which showcases an expansive deli and bakery with quick meals to go.

MOST PROGRESSIVE FEATURES

Heritage, tradition and legacy are the three core values that inspired the Broulim's remodel design. Rich colors in green, blue and ruby red fill the walls, giving a comforting feeling. Shadow boxes with family photos represent the family values the Broulim's team wants to share with guests. Even employees' own family vacation photos can be found framed in prominent locations throughout the store.

HOT TRENDS

Departments were each given their own fair and brand. For example, "Dick's Steakhouse" is named after owner Dick Broulim, well known throughout the community his store serves. The different materials used for the face of letters and graphics, from wood and metal to faux paint, bring a custom look to a highly customized Idaho store.

BEST REBRAND STORE DESIGN

STORE NAME

Macey's of Spanish Fork

STORE OWNER

Associated Foods

NEIGHBORHOOD

Spanish Fork, Utah

DESIGNER

Decorworx

PG'S FAVORITE DESIGN ELEMENT

A full-blown rebranding campaign set the tone for the remodel of Macey's Spanish Fork, which has since given way to a modern, playful, colorful design aesthetic that's produced a sustained 30 percent comparable-sales increase. Known for its bulk merchandising scheme, the spruced-up store now greets guests with a playful "Treasure Aisle" that's packed with seasonal items and deep discounts on family favorites.

MOST PROGRESSIVE FEATURES

Sea green, bubble-gum pink and the true blue of the Macey's logo appeal to millennial shoppers in a fun, family atmosphere that's further enhanced by bubbles, lines and lowercase letters to add another creative dimension to the approachable redesign.

HOT TRENDS

Special attention is given to the new price savings program throughout the store, including the Butcher's Block fresh meat department. Large end caps, coffin-case signs and prominent pallet-rack price signage remind guests that Macey's is all about a great deal.

EXTREME MAKEOVER

STORE NAME

Farmer's Country Market

NEIGHBORHOOD

Roswell, N.M.

STORE OWNER

Robert Garcia

STORE DESIGNER

Decorworx

PG'S FAVORITE DESIGN ELEMENT

Farmer's Country Market regulars barely recognize their newly remodeled store, which went from drab to fab with an additional 15,000 square feet of space and a complete facelift from floor to ceiling. A Mediterranean theme was chosen by owner Robert Garcia, who sought to bring a tranquil feeling to his cozy, elegant store, which has since rung up a 50 percent sales increase.

HOT TRENDS

New cases and granite countertops set the expanded deli apart to create a destination point for customers.

MOST PROGRESSIVE FEATURES

Espresso wood floors enhance sophisticated mosaic icons, polished metal, and limestone accents set off with warm Tuscan colors that glaze the walls. Sculptures on simple shelving, such as the winged goddess of Victory, large bell lighting and rich chocolate-brown wood columns add just the right details to emphasize the message of quality products.

BEST MID-BUDGET REMODEL ($3 MILLION-$6 MILLION)

STORE NAME

Hays

STORE OWNER

Hays Supermarkets

NEIGHBORHOOD

Jonesboro, Ark.

DESIGNER

Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc.

PG'S FAVORITE DESIGN ELEMENT

A newly extended front entry with stone columns was added to the 30,000-square-foot store, giving it prominence in the shopping center. The overall design concept uses neutral field colors and profiled trim throughout to provide a feeling of comfort for the shopper. Lower light levels around the perimeter of the store, with wall wash lighting directed at the department lettering, and artwork and LED track lights highlighting the produce and bakery tables, place shoppers' focus on the product.

MOST PROGRESSIVE FEATURES

The lighting scheme also uses custom light boxes with the Hays logo routed in them to provide accent lighting on the walls, and similar light boxes as the checklane markers. The department letters stand on the front of profiled trim, allowing the directed wall wash lighting to cast a shadow on the wall behind.

HOT TRENDS

This store has been a big supporter of Arkansas State University (ASU) athletics. The walls have murals of the mascot and the ASU football field with vignettes of ASU football players. The booth fabric and accent lighting fixtures were selected to match the ASU red colors.

BEST WELLNESS CONCEPT DESIGN

STORE NAME

The Fresh Grocer

NEIGHBORHOOD

New Brunswick, N.J.

DESIGNER

The Fresh Grocer, Cold

Technology and Balongue Design

PG'S FAVORITE DESIGN ELEMENT

As the anchor of Wellness Plaza, a public-private redevelopment project of New Brunswick Development Corp., The Fresh Grocer's functional, sleek, efficient design revolves around a nontraditional, triangle-like footprint that houses a medley of innovation. Living up to expectations to improve the well-being of the community, the mixed-use facility delivers mightily with a mezzanine café, a 60,000-square-foot fitness center, a 1,275-space parking structure, a parking garage and, eventually, an elevated walkway connected to the train station. The second floor of Wellness Plaza is home to a fitness center and also a full-service café operated by The Fresh Grocer that caters to gym members and commuters alike.

HOT TRENDS

Prepared food plays a starring role in The Fresh Grocer's concept store, highlights of which include brick-oven pizza, made-to-order sandwiches and subs, a full-service Chinese buffet and sushi counter, and full-service catering. Each perishable department is equipped with state-of-the-art digital menu boards showcasing the offerings and weekly sales in a sleek, modern format.

MOST PROGRESSIVE FEATURES

The Fresh Grocer's creative use of space is apparent in the vestibule where the floral department is housed and additional café tables line the glass walls.

BEST GREEN STORE

STORE NAME

Giant Eagle

NEIGHBORHOOD

Broadview Heights, Ohio

DESIGNER

In-house

PG'S FAVORITE DESIGN ELEMENT

Making the transition between the open-concept hall and the traditional grocery aisles are the wine and beer departments, plus a full-service liquor store. In addition to abundant signage, the wine department's upgraded floors, fixtures, finishes and lighting clearly mark this area as a destination. The wine and beer departments share a steward and customer service station to assist shoppers with selections.

HOT TRENDS

In support of customer convenience objectives, the pharmacy can be accessed via a separate entrance with its own checkout. Upgraded signage, floors, fixtures and finishes highlight this area as a drug store within the store. A separate consultation room provides privacy for customers with questions for the pharmacist. At the beauty counter, an on-site staff esthetician assists customers with beauty selections.

MOST PROGRESSIVE FEATURES

This store was the first supermarket with a solar roof in northeast Ohio. The solar array uses photovoltaic glass tubes working with the energy-efficient white roofing to generate 170,000 kilowatt-hours annually. Customers can learn more about the solar installation by observing a wall-size education center with a digital monitor that broadcasts real-time environmental benefits. Nearly 25 percent of construction materials were manufactured from post- or pre-consumer recycled content; 95 percent of construction waste was diverted from landfills. Native and drought-resistant landscaping species have been planted on-site, requiring no permanent irrigation.

STORE NAME

Super 1 Foods & Discount Pharmacy

STORE OWNER

Brookshire Grocery Co.

NEIGHBORHOOD

Tyler, Texas

DESIGNER

api(+) and BGC Facility Services

PG'S FAVORITE DESIGN ELEMENT

A new layout for this 58,000-square-foot remodel merges a warehouse format with a modern appearance and top-of-the-line features such as bakery, deli and full-service meat, all within a customer-oriented atmosphere. The bakery department now includes a tortillería, while other fresh departments were also expanded to include more variety. Customized for local shoppers, the remodel allowed for the addition of more Hispanic products such as pastries in the bakery and a greater variety of produce.

MOST PROGRESSIVE FEATURES

Many environmentally friendly elements were added, including skylights and centrally monitored refrigeration systems and lighting controls, as well as night shades and a refrigeration leak-detection system. The store's larger back room and receiving area allow for more streamlined store operations, and the expanded refrigerated vaults provide greater speed-to-shelf delivery and increase the ability to keep products in stock.

HOT TRENDS

The store includes a pharmacy with a drive-through window and manned carousel-style checkstands, which replaced the check stations where customers were responsible for bagging their own groceries. The customer service center is now an open area at the front of the store, with large signage to assist shoppers better.

BEST HYBRID CONCEPT

STORE NAME

Fresh Marketcafé

STORE OWNER

University of Oregon

NEIGHBORHOOD

Eugene, Ore.

DESIGNER

King Retail Solutions

PG'S FAVORITE DESIGN ELEMENT

Leave it to the über-cool University of Oregon (UO) to fuse the best of quick-service restaurant, café and retail food boutique with a single POS to produce a hybrid standout known as Fresh Marketcafé. Serving as the on-site grocery, cafeteria and community meeting spot for the university's Global Scholars Hall residents as well as non-resident students, UO staff and local residents, Fresh Marketcafé also merges multiple food genres (e.g., sushi, pasta, deli, salad bar), coffee shop and food retail elements under a single brand with fresh, international appeal.

HOT TRENDS

Fixtures were specified for cross-merchandising retail food in fresh areas and vice versa, encouraging impulse and convenience purchases and reminding patrons of the unique brand offering at each visit. Lighting is bright and dramatic, bringing energy to the space, day or night. Intermingling product from the fresh food stations, retail food offerings and café area allow Fresh Marketcafé to cross-promote its range while elevating its brand presence as a single stop for quality, healthy, fresh dining, take-out and grocery in a home-away-from-home environment.

MOST PROGRESSIVE FEATURES

Fresh Marketcafé's branding and brand application throughout the space are bold, beautiful and cohesive, with the "fresh" phraseology and graphic element repeated throughout service areas and signage elements. Colors/themes exist independently from, and in homage to, the university's pervasive green-and-yellow color palette and "O" logo.

BEST URBAN FORMAT

STORE NAME

Harmons City Creek

NEIGHBORHOOD

Salt Lake City

DESIGNER

Decorworx

PG'S FAVORITE DESIGN ELEMENT

"We are in the people business — we just happen to sell groceries" — This branding message is visible through the two-story glass windows, welcoming guests to the 65,000-square-foot store as they step into the café overlooking the produce department. Soft, fabric-like photos of Harmons' people and products wrap the large cement pillars in the center of the store. Oversized poplin banners of Harmons' pharmacist, cheesemonger and pastry chef drape the spacious walls. These elements capture the local favor and unique image of Harmons from the moment shoppers arrive.

MOST PROGRESSIVE FEATURES

The industrial stainless feel of the exterior is blended into the modern décor elements of the interior. Rounded cherry wood trellises with stainless letters perched around the curved tops soften the hard interior of the ceiling that expands across the scratch bakery and expansive deli. Harmons' signature yellow plays out boldly through the interior staircase, which is visible from State Street through multiple-story windows. All of these details set the tone for the urban and yet comfortable feel.

HOT TRENDS

Warm earth tones in the paint were chosen for the background, to let the product and messages take center stage. Custom-designed glass globes, filled with colored beads, dangle from the vast ceiling, giving the large walls a soft, comfortable glow and adding to the upscale mood within the store. Plush seating areas are surrounded by local artwork and a cozy fireplace.

BEST RETRO DESIGN

STORE NAME

Best Market

STORE OWNER

Aviv and Eran Raitses

NEIGHBORHOOD

West Babylon, N.Y.

DESIGNER

In-house

PG'S FAVORITE DESIGN ELEMENT

Armed with an ambitious remodeling plan for a 40-year-old location in West Babylon, N.Y., that had been shuttered a year earlier, Best Market's owners journeyed back to the future to regain relevancy with a nostalgic design aesthetic that positions the store as a full-service market with an emphasis on freshness, community and family. Relying solely on its in-house team and a $1.5 million budget, Best Market envisioned a store that would emphasize its strengths as a leader in low-price fresh items, especially produce. Best Market's West Babylon remodel demonstrates how dedicated in-house teams can achieve blue-sky goals within realistic time frames. The store fuses practical design with aspirational branding, and it does so with an eye on frugality, sustainability and serving its customers' as well as its community's needs.

MOST PROGRESSIVE FEATURES

Signage throughout the store fits the branding: crisp, high-definition images are bordered in white and black, calling attention to shape and texture, while vintage-inspired typography contributes an added dash of style. Paint colors throughout the store skew toward warm blacks, browns, oranges and yellows, hearkening to onions, creamery butter and ripe pears. Best's team knocked down walls and raised the ceiling in the lobby to bring in natural light and triple the size of the store's produce department. Best Market's lighting makes produce extra "green" with high-efficiency LED lighting. Extra space was created by stripping away gondolas and removing some categories entirely.

HOT TRENDS

In keeping with the overall emphasis on sustainability, many of the original front end fixtures were updated and refreshed. Ironically, replacing registers with more efficient models while refinishing and repainting the store's 1970s-era fixtures in a retro orange and green ft the design objectives, lowering costs and environmental impact in the process.

BEST INTERNATIONAL STORE

STORE NAME

La Cadena

STORE OWNER

La Cadena Supermercados

NEIGHBORHOOD

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

DESIGNER

King Retail Solutions

PG'S FAVORITE DESIGN ELEMENT

For this two-story space, La Cadena had to ensure customers would shop both levels. KRS addressed this challenge by situating fresh produce along with some sundries on the entrance floor of the space. The customer path then leads traffic toward a stairway dressed to entice foot traffic to the upper level, accompanied by an elevator and signage educating shoppers as to the food categories to be found on the upper level: meat, seafood, dairy and bakery.

MOST PROGRESSIVE FEATURES

The two-level location presented an initial challenge in delivering the store's brand promise of fresh merchandise, superior service and quick convenience. A sleek, contemporary design showcases goods and services in a setting that delivers on the grocer's desire to "blow away the competition," creating an easily shoppable space in just 8,000 square feet (no store in the chain is more than 15,000 square feet).

HOT TRENDS

In a Caribbean city of European influence, La Cadena positions itself as an affordable option for customers with the wherewithal to shop for high-quality fresh foods without any pretension of being out-of-reach luxury. Quality products, a clean modern space and good customer service are conveyed through the La Cadena shopping experience.