Commercial Architecture August 2017 - 9
gram manager and grocery SME, ms consultants Inc., Columbus, OH.
Tom Phillips, owner, Phillips Enterprises Inc., Langley, WA, confirmed the
healthy-eating trend. "Today's shopping patterns are really, really geared to healthy
eating. Not necessarily organic healthy eating, but just healthy eating. We're finding
that perimeter departments in our grocery stores-fresh foods, produce, delis, and
meats and fish-are high-priority areas, with the major lines of hard goods being less
of an item," he said.
Phillips related that his firm has designed food stores geared to healthy eating on
the ground floors of student housing complexes at Washington State Univ. and the
Univ. of Washington. "Sounds kind of crazy, but instead of drinking beer, [students
are] actually shopping for groceries and cooking their meals," he said.
In addition, "the shopper today is shopping more European style, which means
shopping for each meal each day. They're looking more at how to assemble that
meal. They're buying the main entrées, and they want specialty entrées. They want
more of a healthy-choice-type product," Phillips noted.
John Youger, senior director, strategy and insights, WD Partners, Columbus,
OH, agreed that stock-up trips, the life-blood of most grocery stores, have been
under assault in recent years. "This burden is exacerbated by the increase in food
preferences from gluten free, vegan diets, etc. These smaller trips, coupled with
varied food preferences across shopper types, make it challenging for grocery chains
to serve everyone. The future challenge of grocery stores will be: who do you focus
on as your core customer? Will this customer want to come to your store or will they
expect services that allow them to buy online and pick up in store (BOPIS) or will
they expect these items to be delivered to their home?" he asked.
Not all food venues are megamarkets such as the Walmarts or the Meijers, either.
Tom Phillips thinks there is still a place for smaller stores. "Smaller stores can provide more personal customer service, and they can actually get fresher product, but
the biggest thing that we're finding is the independent grocery operator can make
changes at the snap of a finger, unlike a large chain. If that client doesn't like something or they want something different, they can virtually get it done that day or the
next day. Frankly, most of our stores are in the 18,000 to 25,000-sq.-ft. range, which
makes them a whole lot more manageable," he said.
STORE LAYOUT AND DESIGN
Store designers have responded to intense competitive pressure on food retailers
and evolved shopper habits with layouts that offer more convenience, Tom Henken
of api(+) observed. Some stores are shrinking and taking a curated approach to
merchandise based on consumer demographics. Designers are working to heighten
the shopping experience, providing a sense of theater and engaging guests in ways
that cannot be duplicated at home on the Internet. Some ways stores can do this
are by exposing prep areas and creating demonstration and educational stations, he
"As consumers have trended toward healthy eating, store layouts have had to
Clockwise from top. The Hangar Bar in a Whole Foods Market in Los Angeles encourages shoppers
to spend more time in the store. It was designed by D L English Designs. Photo: Paul Marroquin,
courtesy D L English
Designed by api(+), Simply Fresh by McCaffrey's in Doylestown, PA, demonstrates the importance of
product selection, lighting, and differentiation in today's grocery retail environment. Photo: Courtesy
Perimeter departments in grocery stores-fresh foods, produce, delis, and meats and fish-are highpriority areas, as in C.E. Lovejoy's in Bend, OR, designed by Phillips Enterprises. Photo: Tim Phillips,
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