Orchard Supply Hardware celebrates its heritage in an updated, easy-to-shop environment. The design, unveiled in a 48,000-sq.-ft. store in Santa Rosa, Calif., has a rustic, authentic hardware feel and creates a series of zones or “neighborhoods” in which consumers can easily find what they are looking. From layout to color palette, the design introduces a number of firsts for the hardware retailer.
“This is a revolutionary store for Orchard Supply Hardware,” said Janis Healy, assistant VP visual merchandising and store design, Orchard Supply Hardware, San Jose, Calif., which operates 88 stores. “It is completely different, from fixture layout, to navigational signing aids, to coloration, to materials, to a brand new logo. We’ve moved away from the once typical ‘grocery store’ layout—long gondola runs with endcaps facing the front of the store and one main drive aisle—to a racetrack format that allows for better penetration into the back corners of the store.”
The new design replaces OSH’s signature teal coloration, with warm tones of primary colors. The company also changed its logo to better reflect the company’s heritage.
“The new one is much more reminiscent of logos we used in our early years,” Healy said.
The environment, accessible and inviting, strips away the unnecessary, with a minimum of bells and whistles.
“The product is new and the decor is retro, which helps to achieve the brand positioning goal of being at the junction of heritage and innovation,” Healy explained.
The store is also full of surprises. A classic 1946 Chevrolet truck, similar to the type that Orchard Supply’s founding members would have used, serves as an entry promotional and merchandising prop for seasonal displays, as well as the store’s focal centerpiece. Adjacent wooden orchard crates are used as display tools.
In a touch of whimsy, and to pull customers toward key areas, mobiles made of unexpected elements are suspended from the ceiling. The mobile in the paint area is made of recycled paint-can lids. Another is made of watering cans and shovels.
Throughout the space, various display fixtures and large-scale, vintage photo graphics reinforce the company’s agricultural and cooperative history. Finishes, such as epoxy-finished concrete floors and fixtures of raw steel, lend to the honest, authentic feel.
“We eliminated the VCT flooring, opting for stained concrete and wood-look planking, creating a more organic feel,” Healy said.
Graphic details, such as inch marks on a tape measure, provide hardware subtext in the directory signage. The indicator lights in the checkout are mounted inside inverted shovels.
The main zones—Indoors, Outdoors, Hardware and Tools—are reinforced through decor, color blocking and finishes. The Outdoors section, for example, features galvanized and corrugated metals characterized by a leafy green palette, while the Hardware and Tools area is identified with brick red details and raw construction-grade flakeboard. The Indoors zone has painted beadboard and a marigold palette.
“While the three neighborhoods have distinct personalities, together there is a sense of cohesiveness that makes for smooth transitions and a very comfortable shopping environment,” Healy explained.
The main departments are also anchored by clusters of fixtures anchored by pylons with emotive graphics (such as “Hardware is all the nuts and bolts that holds our homes and lives together.”) that seek to convey a larger purpose to hardware shopping.
The wayfinding signage is simple and straightforward.
“The aisle directories were turned 90 degrees to make it easier for the customer to locate categories while traveling the main drive aisles,” Healy added. “And these were supplemented with category blade signs inline, perpendicular to the gondolas and large informational graphics inline with the product to aid in the selection process.”
As to her favorite part of the design, Healy said to name one element would be remiss.
“The key to this store is how well all of the elements work together and how each plays off of each other and the product,” she added.