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Design Gives Panera Local Appeal

BY Katherine Boccaccio

A space in a historic building in Baltimore’s trendy Canton warehouse district has been made over into a modern home for Panera Bread. The 5,200-sq.-ft. bakery-cafe is located in the former National Bohemian Beer Distributing and Bottle headquarters. The design references the surrounding historical and industrial architecture while still underscoring the familiar elements and icons of the Panera Bread brand.

“The design of this particular Panera Bread bakery-cafe kept the integrity of the Canton neighborhood,” said Brian Lemek, managing member, Panera Bread d/b/a Lemek, LLC, Chevy Chase, Md., which operates some 40 Panera Bread franchises in Maryland and Washington, D.C.

The contemporary, innovative design uses the open spaces, high ceilings, open ductwork and exposed brick to reference the surrounding industrial architecture, but also employs those same elements as a backdrop for Panera’s nationally recognized brand.

“We fit in,” Lemek said. “Therefore, the neighborhood is more comfortable visiting a national chain in a place that likes to support independent operators.”

The cafe, which opened in October 2008, is housed in what is referred to as “the bottle building,” which is where National Bohemian beer was actually bottled. The bottle building’s superstructure features soaring, 20-ft.-high ceilings in half of the space, exposed wooden trusses and brick masonry walls.

The design team kept the interior brick masonry walls, the imperfect concrete floor and the open wood ceiling trusses.

“The developer practically gutted the building but left the superstructure intact,” said Jeffrey D. Mahler, principal and co-founder of L2M, Baltimore, which served as architect and designer for the project. “In keeping with the historical character of the area, we made as few changes to the interior of the space as possible.”

The team reconfigured the typical Panera operational flow to place the dining room in the area with the high ceilings, and then positioned the kitchen and service departments in less historical, more “vanilla” areas while maintaining code-mandated 11-ft. ceilings.

“In a sense, we built a Panera Bread inside this bigger box,” Mahler explained. “While some of the interior walls are in the Panera Bread warm color palette and feature the franchise artwork package, the perimeter walls remain the original exposed brick.”

The entire dining room—about 50% of the space—is surrounded by exposed brick, including a former exterior wall, which separates the service line from the dining space.

That former exterior brick wall was bumped inside after an earlier expansion to the existing space. The arched masonry wall now features three 10-ft.-by-10-ft. openings, which allow patrons to weave in and out of the space while still serving as a visual divider between the service line and the dining area.

The Panera fireplace, found in most of the franchise’s locations, is freestanding to “allow the perimeter brick to remain exposed and intact,” Mahler said.

Original loading-dock openings have since been glassed in, providing five oversized windows in the seating area.

The standard Panera Bread fixturing package is juxtaposed against the aged concrete and masonry brick, offering a visual clue of the building’s past while still boldly expressing the Panera brand.

“In order to stay true to the historical surroundings, we felt we needed to work around the exposed brick walls instead of painting over them,” Mahler said.

The designers took the standard specified lighting package and hung it from exposed conduit and hangers to keep the ceiling space open. The heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system is also exposed to play on the historical look.

“That wouldn’t have been done in a typical Panera location,” Mahler added.

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Kohl’s, Forever 21 win bid for 46 former Mervyn’s stores

BY CSA STAFF

MENOMONEE FALLS, Wis. Kohl’s and Forever 21 won a joint bid for the leaseholds of 46 former Mervyn’s locations valued at approximately $6.25 million.

Kohl’s will assume 31 of the locations while Forever 21 will assume 15, pending approval by the court overseeing Mervyns bankruptcy proceedings.

“We are pleased with the results of the auction,” said Kevin Mansell, president and ceo for Kohl’s Department Stores. “With over 1,000 stores from coast to coast, these locations provide increased presence in under penetrated markets. We will continue to be opportunistic and prudent in our discussions with the owners of select Mervyns real estate as we continue to position Kohl’s to grow market share.”

In fiscal 2009, the Kohl’s said it continues to expect to open approximately 50 stores, including the majority of the 31 former Mervyns’ locations.

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Bazaarvoice appoints new CFO

BY CSA STAFF

AUSTIN, Texas Bazaarvoice, which provides social commerce applications that drive sales, announced that Ken Saunders has joined the company as CFO. Saunders has over 25 years of experience as a senior financial executive at companies including Open Solutions, Peregrine Systems, Fair Isaac Corp. and Arthur Andersen. In his new role at Bazaarvoice, Saunders will guide all aspects of the company’s financial operations, as well as lead the team responsible for day-to-day finance, IT and human operations.

“Bazaarvoice is not only the most innovative social commerce company in the industry, it’s the fastest growing, serving hundreds of major brands worldwide and adding more at a very rapid clip,” said Saunders. “As CFO, I look forward to working with Bazaarvoice’s executive team to drive the company’s growth now and into the future, as they continue to transform the way people interact and shop online.”

“Ken has a wealth of world-class financial experience at both private and public companies, and we’re thrilled to welcome him to the executive team as Bazaarvoice continues to cement its market leadership in the social commerce space,” said Brett Hurt, founder and CEO of Bazaarvoice. “As more and more retailers worldwide embrace the customer voice as a key brand and marketing tool, Bazaarvoice is poised for rapid growth – and Ken is the perfect person to lead our company’s financial strategy.”

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