Designed To Succeed


PG salutes its inaugural slate of Store Design Contest winners, which exemplify the utmost in creativity and innovation — and ultimately lay the groundwork for higher sales and happier customers.

From the outskirts of big-city Dallas-Forth Worth, Texas, to quaint New England communities and various points in between, nine supermarkets have been recognized for setting the standard in store design and innovation, in Progressive Grocer's first-ever Store Design Contest.

Five categories — including new ground-up construction, as well as three budget levels for remodeling projects ranging from modest to unlimited — gave operators of every shape and size a chance to be recognized in the following classes:

  • Best Interior Design (new ground-up construction)
  • Best Original Store Design (new groundup construction)
  • Best Low-cost Remodel (less than $1 million)
  • Best Mid-budget Remodel ($1 million to $3 million)
  • "Sky's the Limit" Remodel (more than $3 million)
    Construction of eligible store designs and remodels must have been completed between January 2009 and December 2009.
    Highlights of PG's slate of charter Store Design Contest winners include:
  • A supermarket whose major remodel centered on strengthening its connections with the local community, through a design celebrating its historical roots
  • An eco-friendly city supermarket that features the latest in sustainable technology, with a interior setting and layout that are simple and convenient to shop
  • An enchanting remodeled supermarket that splendidly identifies each department with its own distinguishable "storefront" motif
  • A luxuriously designed, full-scale urban supermarket that not only takes care of its city customers, but also those who visit for special events
  • A "sky's the limit" remodel that transformed the bland architecture of the original 50-year-old location into an elegant, fresh-focused food store
  • An interior design winner that employs architectural elements of its local surroundings to create a stunning marketplace-oriented design
  • A project that reconfigured a series of inner-connected adjacent shops with the main supermarket to allow customers to move throughout the entire space seamlessly, thereby enhancing the total shopping experience
  • A modernization and expansion of a unique landmark store to impart a more shopper-friendly feel while better accommodating local and destination customers
  • A visual and aesthetic update of a popular city store to create destination departments within the floor plan

Much more about this year's inaugural set of design contest winners, runners-up and honorable mentions, including two additional profiles of store design excellence — an alternate format and an international marketplace — appears below and continues on the following pages.

Best Interior Design/Ground-up Construction

Winner: Dave's Fresh Marketplace, Quonset, R.I.

Best Original New Store Design

Winner: Cosentino's Market, Kansas City, Mo.

Best Original New Store Design

Runner-up: Star Market at Chestnut Hill, Chestnut Hill, Mass.

"Sky's the Limit" Remodel

Winner: Family Fresh Market, New Richmond, Wis.

"Sky's the Limit" Remodel

Runner-up: Brookshire's Food & Pharmacy, Forney, Texas

Best Mid-budget Remodel

Winner: Burnstad's Market, Tomah, Wis.

Best Mid-budget Remodel

Runner-up: Dave's Fresh Marketplace, Smithfield, R.I.

Best Mid-budget Remodel

Honorable Mention: Shady Maple Farm Market, East Earl, Pa.

Best Low-cost Remodel

Winner: ValuMarket, Louisville, Ky.



Woolworths New Constantia Food Market, Cape Town, South Africa

Alternate Format Spotlight Focus:

Swiss Farms, Ridley Township, Pa.



Quonset, R.I.

A paragon of store design excellence where attention to detail is evident at every turn, Dave's Fresh Marketplace in Quonset, R.I., precisely captures the vision East Greenwich, R.I.-based independent owner Dave Cesario set out to achieve, with an aura and ambiance that thoroughly embraces the particular flavor of its picturesque geographic setting.

Located close to the ferry dock that transports locals and visitors from the Providence R.I., area to Martha's Vineyard, Dave's 24,000-square-foot showplace in Quonset boasts an interior design that allows shoppers to feel as though they've happened upon a Vineyard market, sans the ferry ride. What's more, the quality of products abounding in Dave's Quonset Fresh Marketplace is enhanced by traditional elements drawn from the region's prevailing style of architecture to create a distinctly southern New England feel.

Having evolved from a small roadside fruit and vegetable stand in 1969 to the largest independent grocery chain in Rhode Island, Cesario's eight-store operation strives mightily to distinguish itself from chain competitors by providing customers with innovative merchandising techniques and cost-conscious prices.

While brainstorming décor and design ideas for the Quonset store, Dave's executives worked in lockstep with Fairfield, Ohio-based CIP Retail Impact from earliest inception to deliver a finished product that's nothing short of amazing. As showcased in the accompanying photos, the structure uses the area's unique architecture to develop individual "storefront" identities for each of the perimeter departments.

To accomplish this, CIP's talented and creative design wizards employed standard materials that were personalized and embellished with intelligent use of interior illustration and design.

Also contributing significantly to the store's stunning visual marketplace-oriented design are aesthetic lighting that coordinates fixtures, and inventive departmental signage that helps shoppers quickly — and pleasantly — identify each department with its own distinguishable "market."

The various building facades, which include a bike shop and replicas of gingerbread houses in the Oak Bluffs section of Martha's Vineyard, convey a sense of strolling through a quaint outdoor market, while a lovely seascape mural is adorned with crates featuring the names of local vendors throughout the state that supply the store. In addition, each department is flanked by locally inspired decor that cleverly replicates hand-carved signage and related elements.

In addition, the store's environmentally friendly fixtures are in keeping with the company's sustainability principles, and include such energy-efficient measures as polyglycol refrigeration units and an LED lighting system designed and created by a locally based business. Among the highlights of the offerings found within Dave's masterpiece in Quonset is an assortment of homemade meals, soups and side dishes, alongside a wide selection of organic, natural and specialty foods and an extensive assortment of top-quality fresh produce, meats and seafood.



Kansas City, Mo.

As a model of an urban food shopping experience, Cosentino's Market in downtown Kansas City, Mo., has decidedly met and exceeded its owners' original aspirations to construct a store that not only takes care of its city customers, but also those who visit for special events. As the crown jewel in Cosentino's diversified metro Kansas City-based store portfolio, the family grocer's 25th eponymous flagship store, which opened in January 2009, aptly serves as the linchpin of an $850 million entertainment district revitalization project.

Packing a myriad of gourmet foods, natural and organic items, onsite chef-prepared meals, extensive wine and spirits, gourmet pastries, cakes, and chocolates, Cosentino's 33,000-square-foot upscale urban market, profiled in 2009 as one of Progressive Grocer's Stores of the Month, solidified the regional grocer's image as an aggressive locally owned independent.

Among the store's most stunning features is a tapered dome, recessed into the frame of the ceiling and set off by pillars, on whose plaster surface are sumptuous food images that, in addition to enhancing the ambiance and overall culinary mojo, also pay tribute to the family patriarch, Dante Cosentino, an artist who made his living painting frescoes on church ceilings before he purchased a small fruit stand for his children to operate in downtown Kansas City in 1948.

Other awe-inspiring design elements include a sprawling wall of windows that covers one side of the structure facing the street, enabling abundant natural light to pour in from the outside while imparting a refreshing, open-air feel to a busy downtown location. A warm, sunny interior décor features wood floors and elegant shelving systems and display fixtures. The columns throughout the store appear as if they're covered in marble, to match the countertops that were imported from Italy. The store also boasts an adjacent 130-space parking facility, with an entrance leading in directly from the garage, as well as one from the street.

There are other signs that one is shopping in a true urban environment, such as the sandwich and pasta stations where customers can choose from menu boards or custom- build their own meals; a sushi bar run by one of the city's top sushi chefs; an 83-foot hot and cold salad bar that runs the length of the main windowed wall; homemade gelato; a full-service upscale bakery churning out an array of premium pastries, breads and even artisan chocolates; and a brick oven for made-in-the-store pizza, rising like a phoenix from the middle of the octagonal prepared foods station.

With café seating for 150, the special touches evident within the store's mezzanine represent yet another way the store's design team, hailing from Associated Wholesale Grocer's (AWG) Design & Decor Source Group, sought to visually departmentalize the interior by creating destination points and places throughout while accentuating sophisticated city elements.

The store also used cutting-edge design practices to draw attention to exceptional service areas through increased light levels, wall-washed lighting to visually enlarge the store's size while also highlighting artistic murals, and visually framing frozen foods with mirrored colors and ceiling and floor imagery.



Chestnut Hill, Mass.

Aiming to meld the latest design elements with a friendly neighborhood market, the 53,500-square-foot Star Market at Chestnut Hill features the latest in sustainable technology with a interior setting and layout that's simple and convenient to shop.

Designed as a replacement for an older, smaller store that had been operating at the location since 1950, the ground-up project resulted in a new standard set for sustainable supermarket design by Supervalu's New England-based Shaw's Star Market subsidiary. Indeed, as the first supermarket in the nation to receive a GreenChill Platinum Award for eco-friendly refrigeration technology, the store offers such other sustainable features as motorized night curtains, a hybrid water-cooling tower and motion-activated light sensors.

Employing 3D modeling to ensure clear sightlines and dramatic product presentation, the store's cutting-edge equipment is tempered by clean signage and décor for a relaxed, inviting atmosphere. The sales floor, located on the second level, features a large entrance vestibule on the ground level. An impressive glass-front elevation allows natural light into the store, and the unique open floor plan offers a full view of the departments, maximizing the use of space and allowing shoppers to move easily in any direction.

As the first supermarket in the nation to use all LED for its interior and exterior lighting, the Star Market at Chestnut Hill has directional spotlights positioned high above merchandise, with fixtures painted dark to blend in with the ceiling. These spotlights cast a warm glow that permeates the store.

The design team selected natural materials and finishes, including textured metal walls and custom wood display fixtures, while the refrigerated cases feature unusual stainless steel accents with black finishing inside and out that visually pops. The store's hallmark fixture, however, is found in a 40-foot custom stainless steel circular foodservice counter, anchored by a herringbone-brick pizza oven. As well as serving as a focal point for shoppers, the counter offers stir-fried pasta, rotisserie chicken and other specialty items.

Large graphic food banners are complemented by simple departmental signage with a casual, contemporary scripted font, resulting in an uncluttered shopping environment that keeps attention focused on the food. With exceptional sightlines to the perishables departments, fresh foods at Chestnut Hill are placed in full view so that time-starved shoppers can quickly find what they need, and choose from an array of fresh prepared meals.

The Star Market at Chestnut Hill delivers advanced sustainable technology, beginning with its exclusive use of LED lights, which extends to the store's parking lot, as well as all interior and refrigerated case lighting, which not only reduces energy consumption by as much as 65 percent, but is also recyclable and can last 10 times longer than conventional light sources.

Additionally, the store is the second in the nation to use an on-site 400-kilowatt combined heat-and-power fuel cell that as well as providing 90 percent of the location's energy, is virtually pollution-free and independent of the local power grid.



New Richmond, Wis.

Family Fresh Market is a new and growing concept in the Minneapolis-based Nash Finch Co.'s family of corporate grocery stores. And if the results of an extensive remodel to an existing store in New Richmond, Wis., are any indication, the future looks bright for more locations introduced under the fresh-focused format banner.

Having bowed the first Family Fresh concept store in Hudson, Wis., in 2008, Nash Finch decided on a substantial revamp of an existing store in New Richmond for its second such effort, which has paid off handily for both local residents and the Twin Cities distributor and grocer since the store's opening in June 2009, as business has been booming ever since.

Before embarking on the project, Nash Finch's store design and construction teams painstakingly sized up and studied a variety of challenges they needed to surmount, the foremost of which was determining the best way to transform the bland architecture of the original 50-year-old facility into the elegant architectural vision they had in mind. Key to the process was a phased construction plan that allowed Nash Finch's teams to renovate every inch of the store, including complete replacement of the electrical and refrigeration systems, all while continuously serving customers.

An additional 10,000 square feet added to the existing building, expanding the store to a total 42,000 square feet, enabled the location to offer more choices and enhance the overall shopping experience.

The end result is an award-winning fresh-focused store, whose signature produce, meat, bakery and deli departments are top-shelf. The cornerstone of the location is a full-service meat and seafood counter, where a trained butcher personally helps customers select the exact cut of meat desired. The produce department, meanwhile, features 150 organic and locally grown items, and a myriad of fresh breads and baked goods are produced daily in the full scratch bakery. The deli not only offers an array of fresh sliced meats and prepared hot meals, but also features healthy options like trans fat-free fried chicken and world-class sandwich options.

Cognizant that customers want to see a greater variety of organic and healthy choices, the Family Fresh Market team also understands the importance of helping shoppers make well-informed choices about maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Enter Nash Finch's proprietary "Well Balanced" shelf labeling program, which assists customers in easy identification of items that are low in fat, cholesterol and sodium; organic; or gluten-free. The store also boasts an on-site nutritionist who serves as a fantastic wellspring of dietary information, as well as an expanded natural foods department housing a wide variety of gluten-free and organic choices.



Forney, Texas

Strengthening its connections with members of the local community, with a keen eye on preserving its historical roots, was at the heart of the award-winning store design of Tyler, Texas-based Brookshire Grocery Co.'s major remodel of its Forney, Texas, store.

In conceptualizing the end result for the store, Brookshire's inventive design teams relied heavily on 100-year-old architectural design elements and nuances of original structures as the central inspiration for the store's exterior. The interior décor, meanwhile, also pays homage to the community's historical significance by prominently showcasing reproductions of vintage photographs of Forney throughout the store.

The results of the considerable work that went into this labor of love — including an additional 2,200 square feet of space — brought forth a functional and attractive 36,200- square-foot community supermarket where service and quality rule.

The store's facade of brick, stone and stucco sets the stage splendidly for helping Brookshire's store designers accomplish another key objective, which was to use as much natural light as possible. Having accomplished this goal by adding windows along the front wall, as well as other design elements that provide for ample additional natural lighting, the store additionally offers polished concrete floors; a warm, attractive interior décor package; a multitude of new cases, shelves and coolers; and an upgraded pharmacy drive-through, among other standout features.

Providing tangible evidence of the company's commitment to the local community, Trent Brookshire, grandson of company founder W.T. Brookshire, worked within the Forney store throughout most of its lengthy remodel, making many friends among local shoppers and associates.



Tomah, Wis.

Competitive changes in the marketplace and a banner change were behind the Tomah, Wis.-based Burnstad family's decision to dramatically upgrade its unique flagship store, which has served its local community since 1944 and occupied its current location for 42 years.

With its corporate offices situated in the mezzanine of the store, Burnstad's Market had a particularly complicated project on its hands: a former segregated floor plan comprising three separate buildings that collectively housed a supermarket, restaurant and bar, card and gift shop, Amish furniture store, and a European Village hosting specialty stores with such items as men's and women's clothing, gifts, Wisconsin specialty foods, and candy.

With a goal of expanding the supermarket, renovating the exterior façade, updating the floral shop, and remodeling the restaurant dining area, bar and kitchen, while leaving the European Village, Amish store and restaurant intact to maintain their iconic status as tourist attractions, the project required the owners to work around a series of inner-connected buildings linked together by protective fire doors between each.

While each building had been modified and expanded individually through the years, Burnstad's wanted to dramatically enhance the traffic flow between the supermarket and the other shops to allow customers to move throughout the entire space and experience everything the complex has to offer.

Among the key considerations during the original planning stages was adding space for the supermarket expansion, but after further evaluation, it was determined that the existing space could accommodate both the end goal and the best financial outcome. Although budget considerations prevented major structural modifications, additional hurdles thrown up by the infeasibility of installing a sprinkler system throughout the total footprint were yet another major element.

As such, preliminary planning proved to be an invaluable ingredient in the successful outcome of the finished product, which relocated the restaurant into the European Village, along with the bar, which was expanded and converted to a pub with seating and its own menu, and the card shop, which was transposed to one of the shops in the European Village. Establishing a new gateway to the path to the Amish furniture store, floral shop and European Village on the right, and the balance of the supermarket on the left, the new scheme also created a new main entrance that flows directly into the expanded fresh food area while also opening up floor space for expanded grocery, meat, dairy and frozen foods, as well as a new — and tremendously expanded — beer, wine and liquor department.

In addition to the interior reconfiguration of the individual entities within Burnstad's, the entire store was rebranded with new interior signage and décor to emphasize the European market and village atmosphere while celebrating the family's Scandinavian heritage.

After completion of the well-planned remodel, the end result has proved to be highly rewarding, particularly in regard to produce, bakery, deli and natural foods, sales of which have increased about 25 percent, as well as in the pub and restaurant, which have experienced an amazing 51 percent sales rise.



Smithfield, R.I.

One of eight stores owned and operated by East Greenwich, R.I.-based independent retailer Dave Cesario, the recently remodeled Smithfield, R.I., Dave's Fresh Marketplace vividly illustrates the grocer's longstanding commitment to localizing and celebrating the indigenous flavor of the surrounding New England community by offering a store interior that bursts with visual splendor.

The challenge for the design team at Fairfield, Ohio-based CIP Retail Impact was to convert an abandoned 35,000-square-foot Linens 'N Things location into a full-scale Dave's supermarket in less than four months' time.

Paying homage to the Smithfield community's 150-year heritage rooted in sprawling apple orchards, as well as its founder's humble fruit stand origins, large murals adorning the produce department depict many of the orchards that were once a prominent part of the community. As the pillar of Dave's high-quality fresh food offerings, the produce department, not surprisingly, remains the hallmark of the store's captivating use of visual and emotional cues. For this reason, the location's talented designers constructed a faux barn façade — the Apple Valley Food Barn, to be exact — that serves as home to a carving station and sushi bar, alongside other prepared food options like burrito and pasta stations, and brick-oven pizza prepared in a hearth oven that's another show-stopper.

Presiding splendidly over all facets of the interior, including flooring, lighting and interior construction design, as well as the décor, branding, wayfinding and installation, CIP delivered an enchanting finished product that visually identifies each department with its own distinguishable "storefront" motif.

Among the remodeled store's highlights, the the seafood department, which plays up the dockside freshness and wide bounty of daily catches, stands out in particular, as does the Cheese Lodge (above), which offers a wide variety of cheeses to appeal to a wide range of palates.



East Earl, Pa.

Located in the heart of Pennsylvania's Amish country, Shady Maple Farm Market is popular not only among local shoppers, but also with visitors from afar, who flock to the store that's renowned for having the county's largest smorgasbord (over 200 feet of food), as well as for its full-line grocery offerings that include an in-house scratch bakery, a smokehouse, a butcher shop and a café.

Shady Maple Farm Market's owners, Marvin and Miriam Weaver, set out to expand the unique store with a more open, airy, shopper-friendly feel to better accommodate customers via a 14,000-square-foot addition to the East Earl, Pa.-based supermarket. Construction on the addition got underway in September 2009.

Among the enhancements of the recently remodeled and expanded store is a new entrance with a carport, new spacious restrooms, additional checkout counters and new tile flooring throughout. The produce and seafood departments were enhanced and repositioned, while the meals formerly available in the store's foyer have since been incorporated into the new in-store Maple Leaf café. Design-wise, the café exudes a more upscale atmosphere, thanks to attractive, functional flooring, comfortable seating for 170, and a light, airy feel with skylights and an open floor plan. Breakfast, lunch and dinner items are available, and the menu has expanded to include wok selections.

In addition, significant bakery sales increases have also been achieved as a result of moving items out of the sidelines and into a high-profile setting. The bulk foods section was also significantly expanded, which has again yielded positive results.

The highly popular original smorgasbord, which formerly seated over 300, was also relocated and enhanced to help ease the long waiting lines featuring a large and diverse range of customers. The new look not only adds an up-to-date yet unique appeal, but also a "wow factor" that has generated much positive feedback.

From a design standpoint, the biggest challenge for the store design team from Myerstown, Pa.-based Horst Signs was the low headroom in many areas of the store, which couldn't be changed. With the creative use of visual imagery coupled with LED light boxes and LCD monitors, however, the store's designers were able to develop a keen way of diverting shopper attention.



Louisville, Ky.

Known for being an aggressive, innovative, community-focused grocer for the past 32 years, ValuMarkets, Inc. in recent years has gone from a small business trying to survive to one that's now the largest locally owned grocery chain in the Louisville, Ky., area.

But rather than rest on their strong quality and service laurels, executives from the family-owned grocery company — including brothers Greg and James Neumann — embarked on a renovation and remodeling project for its Outer Loop Louisville store in June 2009.

Keeping the store open for the duration of the renovation project, designers from Kansas City, Kan.-based Associated Wholesale Grocers' (AWG) Design & Decor Source Group set out to visually and aesthetically departmentalize sections to create destination cases and places within the floor plan.

Seeking to re-create meaningful city elements and incorporate them into the design, ValuMarket's award-winning project channeled the family grocer's historical roots by showcasing nostalgic graphics and imagery reminiscent of old-fashioned quality and service.

In the produce department, a high-visibility "fresh-picked" garden mural sets the tone for a fresh environment that helps shoppers visualize fresh fruits and vegetables growing in a natural setting.

ValuMarket's remodel also uses sophisticated design practices to draw attention to full-service areas via increasing light levels and wall-washed lighting to visually increase the store size and highlight artistic murals. In addition, frozen foods are visually framed with mirrored colors, and ceiling and floor imagery.

Among the store's signature features are expanded produce, meat, bakery and deli departments, the last of which now features a full salad and olive bar, a chicken wing bar and a cheese island. ValuMarket also added a large walk-in "beer cave," which has been well received, too.

In addition to visiting the chain's four other locations, ValuMarket customers can order groceries online at and either pick them up at the store of their choice or have them delivered to their homes.



Cape Town, South Africa

Embodying a central concept of prominently incorporating a fresh-market feel into a new store design, Woolworths' New Constantia Food Market in Cape Town, South Africa, has achieved all that it set out to do. The aim of the market's overall look was to make the products become heroes in a traditional supermarket layout, with standard ambient and fresh produce that runs along an interactive aisle at the back of the store as part of a "food High Street" comprising a butcher shop, bakery, hot foods counter, fishmonger, cheesemonger and salad bar.

The layout called for an interactive experience for both the front and back of the store, including a café placed at the entrance, which helps to set a food-focused tone with shoppers, as a way to turn a task into an experience. Efficiencies were also maintained with a "best-of-both-food-worlds" mentality highlighted in an efficient store design and layout that blend a real market experience with a modern attitude, heralding a new way forward for Cape Town-based Woolworths' overall food brand.

As a result of research into traditional food markets that used more industrial materials, Woolworths' New Constantia store features such substances as concrete and plywood, coupled with industrial lamps and windows for separating and demarcating departments.



Ridley Township, Pa.

Some places say "Come on in." Broomall, Pa.-based Swiss Farms says," Drive on in."

Indeed, the drive-through dairy concept store has broadened its focus from a traditional dairy to include a wider food offering that encompasses hot foods like rotisserie chicken and fresh produce. In doing so, Swiss Farms wanted to reposition itself as the customer's in-between shopping trip and, in turn, challenged its store design team from Columbus, Ohio-based Chute Gerdeman Retail to take on the brand's transformation, including a new prototype drive-through in Ridley Township, Pa.

Considering the foremost challenge at hand — explaining to customers what's inside an entirely drive-through store — designers literally sat in the driver's seat to answer that question and find new ways to reach Swiss Farms' loyal on-the-go customer while also attracting new customers from the street.

A new identity was designed to signal Swiss Farms' product shift, which has resulted in the inclusion of fresh produce, baked goods and prepared meals. The new identity creates a fresh-from-the-farm feel with the iconic rooster, sunrise imagery and new color palette. The curved horizon line gives the feeling of a landscape, and also speaks to the speed of the shopping process.

Under the new site plan, traffic is routed in opposite directions on each side of the building so that drivers are in close proximity to the employee serving them. The number of service locations has been doubled for a total of four — two on each side of the building — which increases throughput and decreases wait time.

The new exterior was designed to include fresh cues from European barn architecture, combined with a sleek shape and metal accents to communicate the speed of process. The result is an architectural icon that not only attracts the eye and draws customers, but also quickly communicates Swiss Farms' unique proposition.

Masters of Design

Congratulations to the following companies that submitted entries on behalf of PG's first-ever Store Design Contest winners, which are profiled within the following pages:

CIP Retail Impact

Fairfield, Ohio

Mehmert Store Services, Inc.

Sussex, Wis.

MulvannyG2 Architecture

Bellvue, Wash.

Nash Finch Co.


Brookshire Grocery Co.

Tyler, Texas

Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG)

Design & Decor Source Group

Kansas City, Kan.

Horst Signs

Myerstown, Pa.

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