STORE SPACES

Kitchen and bath products giant launches experiential retail concept

BY Marianne Wilson

Kohler Co. is debuting a retail format designed to showcase its full offering of products and offer on-site product immersion — literally.

The first-ever Kohler Experience Center (KEC), located in the Flatiron District of Manhattan, houses fully-functioning displays of Kohler's global product line — including showers, tubs, sinks and "intelligent" toilets — in what is a first for the brand. The center is open to trade design professionals and regular customers.

The 10,000-sq.-ft. store features more than 20 kitchen and bath vignettes. It includes a private "bathing space" in which customers can experience such Kohler products as its digital showering system, showerheads and intelligent toilets.

The center offer a new Kohler global specification service, which allows professional architects and designers working on international projects to have instant, hands-on access to all products across the entire company's global portfolio. A Kohler team of experts will be stationed on-site to help source and resolve complex plumbing projects both in the United States and around the world.

Kohler plans to open nine KECs over the next year, with London to open soon. Additional locations include Los Angeles, Singapore, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Bangkok, New Delhi and Taipei, all opening later in the year.

The KEC New York is run and operated in partnership with Best Plumbing Supply, a leading Kohler plumbing distributor in the Northeast.

"Our partnership with Kohler Co. spans nearly 50 years," said Kymberly Weiner, New York City sales and development manager of Best Plumbing Supply. "It's a tremendous honor to elevate our collaboration to one that will best inspire and serve consumers and design professionals through a shopping experience rooted in Kohler's spirit of gracious living."

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STORE SPACES

Online giant on the hunt for ‘innovative’ store designer

BY Marianne Wilson

Amazon is beefing up the team responsible for its grocery store concept.

According to a job description on LinkedIn, the company is looking for an "innovative" store designer to join its Amazon Go ACE (Architecture, Construction & Engineering) team. The ideal candidate, according to the posting, is a "self-starter who thrives in a fast-paced, ambiguous environment and has a deep passion for innovative retail design."

“We are looking for someone who is obsessed with creating world-class shopping experiences for our customers," Amazon stated.

The posting comes as speculation builds that Amazon intends to expand its cashier-free Amazon Go mini-grocery-store format from its original (and still only) location in Seattle—and not just in the United States. The company recently filed several trademark applications related to slogans the concept with the UK’s Intellectual Property Office and its European Union equivalent.

In its job listing, Amazon said the position will be responsible for the implementation and customization of brand design standards as they translate across Amazon's physical retail locations. And while grocery and/or commercial kitchen design background is "strongly preferred," it is not required.

To see the complete job description, click here.

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STORE SPACES

Walmart in big remodeling push

BY CSA STAFF

Walmart will be making big changes to a lot of stores this year, according to a report from MLive.com. Among the roughly 400-640 stores that will get a remodel this year are 12 Michigan locations, the report said.

MLive notes that among the changes coming to stores undergoing a remodel will be a lounge-like area for in-store pickup, the locations of which will move to the front of the store, more fresh and organic offerings, wider aisles and changed sightlines. Three markets in Michigan also will see the piloting of online grocery ordering for in-store pickup, the report said.

When the company announced it Q1 financial results, president and CEO Doug McMillon said, “"We're moving faster to combine our digital and physical assets to make shopping easier and more enjoyable for customers."

Also among the remodeling priorities are increasing customer interaction, MLive said.

To read more, click here.

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