Nebraska Furniture Mart, The Colony, Texas
Nebraska Furniture Mart (NFM) has opened the nation’s largest home furnishings store, in The Colony, Texas. Featuring 560,000 sq. ft. of selling space, the two-level space also has an on-site warehouse, giving it a combined footage of more than 1.8 million sq. ft.
NFM partnered with Interbrand Design Forum, Dayton, Ohio, on the design of the mega-store, which sells 100,000 products, ranging from very high-end items to value offerings, and has another 500,000 items in stock in the warehouse.
“When you think about the volume of merchandise, this is like building a bricks-and-mortar Amazon of merchandise for your home,” said Amanda Kohnen, senior creative director, Interbrand Design Forum. “This has been an exciting design challenge to help NFM create a store with a vast assortment, but that is also easily shoppable for the customer.”
Open sightlines help accomplish this as having a view across the space allows shoppers to orient themselves. Another key was the creation of a design system that provides a framework for using the space. The system includes towers and beacons that help shoppers identify departments and encourage exploration.
Some of the store’s highlights include:
• Treehouse focal in the kids bedding area, where animated movies are shown;
• “Man cave” area featuring pool tables, game tables and bar counters;
• A 96-ft. interactive headphone wall;
• High-end kitchen shops showcasing the latest high-tech options; and
• A pop-up shop whose theme will change out quarterly. For its debut, the focus is unique Texas items.
Interactive kiosks are used throughout the massive space to augment the shopping experience in different ways. There are a number of touch-screen monitors that allow customers to search and obtain directions to specific categories, brands or products. There are also interactive design tools and brand specific touch-screens, such as in the KitchenAid area.
Walmart to expand vet hiring program
Walmart is more than doubling the number of veterans it plans to hire by the year 2020.
The company announced that it will guarantee a job offer to any eligible U.S. veteran honorably discharged from active duty since Memorial Day 2013.In addition to this Veterans Welcome Home Commitment, Walmart is expanding its 2013 promise to hire 100,000 veterans by 2018, increasing the projection to 250,000 veterans by the end of 2020.
Since Memorial Day 2013, Walmart has hired more than 92,000 veterans, and nearly 8,000 have already been promoted to jobs with higher pay and greater responsibility.
The Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff estimates 250,000 service members may separate from the military per year over the next five years.
Walmart is also extending its support for transitioning military members and their families beyond the company’s operations and is leveraging the size and scale of its supply chain to further support programs that provide training, education and economic opportunity through such programs as:
• Coalition for Veteran Owned Business: On May 5, Walmart participated in the launch of the Coalition for Veteran Owned Business, which will work to create opportunities for veteran and military-family owned businesses with American businesses and supply chains.
• U.S. Manufacturing Summit and Open Call: Walmart is also specifically encouraging military and veteran-owned businesses to apply for its annual U.S. Manufacturing Summit and Open Call to be held July 7-8, 2015 in Bentonville, Ark. The summit and open call will provide an opportunity to meet with Walmart’s buyers and facilitate meetings for current and potential suppliers with key state economic development officials.
• Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF): The Walmart Foundation awarded a $1 million grant to support a three-year initiative to pilot new ways in which non-profit, public, and private sectors can better work together to serve veterans.
‘&’ marks the spot for Smart & Final campaign
Smart & Final is launching a new marketing blitz that puts its use of punctuation front and center.
The rollout will include print, radio, television and outdoor advertising in select markets and digital outreach now through July 3. The new campaign aims to tell the story of what the value-oriented food and staples retailer has become through its growth initiatives and will highlight the company’s heritage.
“Smart & Final has a rich history and commitment of inclusion. The ampersand signifies many different components of our company including the partnership between our founders Mr. Smart & Mr. Final, treating our customers like friends & neighbors and serving as a warehouse & market,” said Smart & Final Chief Marketing Officer, Eleanor Hong. “We are rebranding to ensure customers know who we are, what we offer and what we stand for so that they can choose Smart & Final as their primary shopping destination.”
The ampersand also is indicative of the company’s dual roles providing warehouse and marketplace goods and low prices while offering restaurant-quality goods, among other pairings, Hong said.
“Our successes are marked by connections,” added Hong. “Households rely on us for the finest meats and freshest produce for their families while local restaurant owners depend on us for the right products, prices and sizes. They will find all of these offerings and more at Smart & Final stores located in the communities we build together.”
For the remainder of 2015, Smart & Final is scheduled to open 16 additional Smart & Final Extra! stores including three store conversions.
As of Dec. 28, the company operated 254 grocery and foodservice stores under the “Smart & Final”, “Smart & Final Extra!” and “Cash & Carry Smart Foodservice” banners in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Nevada, and Idaho, with an additional 14 stores in northern Mexico operated through a joint venture.