OPERATIONS

OfficeMax debuts smaller-store prototype targeting small businesses

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Naperville, Ill. — OfficeMax Inc. announced Monday the unveiling of a new format, OfficeMax Business Solutions Center, in downtown Milwaukee. The 5,000-sq.-ft. store is designed to serve small businesses with services, solutions and products to help local entrepreneurs grow their companies.

Located in The Shops of Grand Avenue, the new format replaces the previous OfficeMax store.

"With the launch of our new store, we are pleased to introduce a relationship-based retail service center focused on partnering with businesses to help them grow," said Ravi Saligram, president and CEO, OfficeMax.

Some of the services offered at the new concept include web hosting, customized web sites and cloud storage, as well as computer network setup, software installation and repair. OfficeMax offers business meeting space in the store and free Wi-Fi that allows customers to plug in and work. Employees even can help customers set up their websites.

The store also provides business card and sign printing, furniture and space planning, packaging and FedEx shipping, and document shredding. Products for sale include convertible laptops, smartphones, printers and shredders.

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Polaroid Fotobar, Delray Beach, Fla.

BY CSA STAFF

Polaroid Fotobar, a new retail concept from Polaroid, has opened its first location, in Delray Beach, Fla. The 2,000-sq.-ft. store is designed to allow consumers to take the images from their smartphones and tablet devices and easily turn them into “museum-quality” art that can be framed and hung on a wall or displayed on a desk.

Polaroid Fotobar has a modern, streamlined look, with sleek lines. The Delray Beach location will serve as a prototype for nine additional cites due to open this year, including locations in New York, Las Vegas, and Boston.

Customers can upload photos from their device to one of the store’s many workstations, where they can enhance the images with special filters, adjust the brightness, and make other adjustments. Once the images are uploaded and adjusted, customers can choose from a wide variety of materials and framing options. Images can be framed, matted, and/or printed directly onto a variety of unique substrates including canvas, metal, acrylic, wood and bamboo.

The store also contains a space called “The Studio”: a multi-purpose room that will host classes and parties, and also serves as a professional portrait studio.

“There are currently around 1.5 billion pictures taken every single day and that number continues to grow in tandem with the popularity and quality of camera phones,” Warren Struhl, founder and CEO of Fotobar, said in a statement back in January. “Unfortunately, even the very best of those pictures rarely ever escape the camera phone with which they were taken to be put on display around our homes and offices. Why? Because turning those pictures into something tangible, creative and permanent is neither easy nor fun. Polaroid Fotobar stores are going to change all of that.”


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Wet Seal promotes two in merchandising department

BY CSA STAFF

FOOTHILL RANCH, Calif. — Wet Seal has announced the promotions of the company’s two divisional merchandising managers for its Wet Seal brand. Kim Bajrech has been appointed SVP, general merchandising manager apparel, and Debbie Shinn has been appointed SVP, general merchandising manager accessories and ready-to-wear.

Bajrech and Shinn previously served as VP, divisional merchandising manager of apparel and VP, divisional merchandising manager accessories and ready-to-wear, respectively, since July 2009. The promotions were effective March 25th, and both will continue to report to John Goodman, Chief Executive Officer.

Commenting on the promotions, Goodman stated, “We are thrilled to recognize the talents and accomplishments of Kim and Debbie. They have a deep understanding of the fast fashion market, they know the Wet Seal customer well and they are executing on all fronts as we return the business to its roots. I will continue to work closely with Kim and Debbie and feel confident that we have the right team in place to help us reenergize the Wet Seal business and drive growth.”

Prior to joining Wet Seal, Bajrech was creative director at PJ Salvage, a leading manufacturer of fashionable PJs, loungewear and intimates. Earlier in her career, she was a VP, divisional merchandising manager for The Wet Seal from 1990 to 2002.

Shinn served as VP, divisional merchandising manager for Junior Sportswear at Kohl’s prior to joining Wet Seal. Shinn held a variety of VP, general merchandise manager roles at Pacific Sunwear from 1998 to 2006 and started her career at Hecht’s, a division of May Company, where she held several managerial positions over the course of 19 years.

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