SPOTLIGHT ON: Facilities
Energy efficiency is one of the key benefits of using LED lighting. But there are plenty of other reasons to incorporate LEDs into retail stores, Sally Lee, applications marketing manager for Osram Sylvania, told attendees at the session, “Spotlight on LED: Getting the Dirt on Rare Earth Minerals.”
Small, inherently directional LEDs are a great candidate for highlighting merchandise, Lee said, and their enhanced brilliance and product appearance result in increased sales. She cited a 2007 Costco study, which determined that jewelry appeared to be of higher quality under LED light and resulted in higher sales compared with fluorescent lighting.
In other advantages, the long life of LEDs can reduce maintenance costs and help support store image. Also, most LEDs emit no UV light, which reduces damaging effects on materials and merchandise.
“And the color mixing of LEDs can bring a retail space to life with a dynamic and dazzling array of colors,” Lee said.
Refrigerated displays are one of the top retail applications for LEDs.
“This is a big area because LEDs perform better at cold temperatures,” Lee said, who added that the lower heat of the lamps also lengthens the shelf life of foods.
Signage and illuminated advertising are also well suited to LEDs. Used in these applications, LEDs offer such advantages as consistent brand image, lower maintenance and energy costs, design flexibility and ease of installation.
The use of LEDs in recessed downlights also delivers significant benefits, including the ability to capitalize on the directional light of LEDs to improve system efficacy.
Solid-state lighting is also playing a major role in retrofits, according to Lee. She said that there is not an application in retail today without an LED choice.
That is not to say, however, that LEDs are a silver bullet. LEDs are heat-sensitive and produce less light and fail early if not thermally managed. Also, lamps with the same specifications may have inconsistencies, making it difficult to match one lamp to the next.
“LEDs are still expensive on a first-cost basis compared with traditional choices,” Lee concluded. “But because of all of the advantages — both short- and long-term — I truly believe that it’s the best energy choice you can make.”
SPOTLIGHT ON: Tenant Improvement, Construction, and Remodeling
The recent updates to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design were detailed at the SPECS session, “The ADA: 20 Years +1.” The session, part of the Tenant Improvement Construction/Remodeling workshop track, also gave a brief overview of the law and its enforcement.
According to the speaker, more than 200 private ADA lawsuits are filed in U.S. Federal Courts across the United States each month. The suits are filed mainly by disability organizations, disability rights advocates and law firms.
“ADA is a complaint-driven law, and it’s not going away. The firm of William Charouhis has filed more than 450 ADA Title I and III cases in Florida, including three Class Action ADA suits,” said Joan Stein, president and CEO, Accessibility Development Associates, Pittsburgh.
The ADA is a civil rights law and, as such, it is enforced by the Department of Justice. It’s important that retailers understand their risk with regard to the ADA, according to Stein.
“Penalties, which are paid to the U.S. Department of Justice, can start at $55,000 for the first violation, and then $110,000 for each subsequent violations,” she explained.
Stein emphasized that the ADA always supersedes state or local building codes.
“Another important point to keep in mind is that building codes can be negotiated,” Stein said. “But there is no negotiating civil rights.”
DIFFERENCES: Stein explained that the new regulations not only update the federal requirements based on advances in technology and lessons learned since the 1991 standards were first established, but also attempt to make ADA more consistent with building codes.
In addition, they clarify or expand policies on things such as effective communication, service animals, and motorized wheelchairs and mobility devices.
One of the most important things to remember about the new 2012 standards is that dimensions not stated as a “maximum” or “minimum” is absolute. Construction tolerances, Stein added, are gone.
Important technical differences include the following:
• Height reach ranges: Under the 1991 standards, reach ranges allowed for a maximum of 54 ins. above the finished floor for a side approach and a maximum of 48 ins. above the finished floor for a front approach. Under the 2010 standards, however, it is 48 ins. maximum for either front or side.
• Parking: One in every six accessible parking spaces must now be van-accessible.
• Handrails: These are required even with other means of access.
• Toilet centerlines: Under the old standard, the toilet centerlines — the space from the sidewall to the center of the toilet — was an absolute 18 ins. Under the 2010 standards, it is a range of 16 ins. to 18 ins. for a toilet in a standard, accessible stall.
• Clear-floor-space requirements for water closets not located in stalls increased.
The 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design can be downloaded from the DOJ website at ada.gov.
SPOTLIGHT ON: Planning & Design
Building collaborative relationships between design visionaries and construction teams was the fundamental theme underscoring the tips for success shared in the SPECS Planning & Design workshop session “Going from Prototype to Reality, Without Losing the Sizzle.”
The logical first step, suggested Brady Harding, VP project architecture, Interbrand Design Forum, Dayton, Ohio, is to test design through a concept store, ideally staged in close proximity to the retail headquarters, then follow with a tiered rollout of flagship stores in major MSAs, mainstream models in key secondary markets and modest design refreshers in tertiary markets.
Throughout the process, the critical challenges are staying on task, on budget, on time. To do this without “stifling creativity,” observed Matt Kobylski, director of real estate and construction at the fast-casual dining chain Pollo Campero, requires hands-on management and attention to details.
“Stay away from volatile [building] materials with cost fluctuations or [questionable] availability,” Kobylski cautioned.
Few retailers have mastered prototype execution as well as Disney Store, where design is all about the brand. Jonathan D. Endicott, VP global store design and construction at Disney Store USA, rounded out the SPECS presentation by outlining practices that have contributed to his company’s success, including:
• Define what goes on the priority list and what goes off. For Disney, brand is priority No. 1, followed by schedule and cost.
• Build a fully operating “mock” store and learn from its problems.
• Develop a comprehensive tool kit of everything required to meet the overall schedule.
• Commit to the “big” idea and evangelize the concept so everyone knows what is important and why.
• Plan for chaos, manage to order, and fail on paper first, not in construction.
• Follow the 80/20 rule: 80% of stores will roll out virtually on autopilot; focus on the 20% that have site anomalies.
Pop-up stores: The unique challenges of designing and building pop-up stores were addressed in the SPECS Planning & Design session, “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow.”
Chain Store Age contributing editor Connie Gentry opened the discussion by explaining that the definition of pop-up retailing embraces stores that are open for hours, days, weeks or months — basically any time frame less than one year. The newest craze, referred to as “Flash Retail,” involves stores that are open for one to 24 hours and are usually promotion-driven concepts. Pop-up stores that last days to weeks in duration are typically intended to engage consumers, create brand buzz, test markets or introduce new products.
The most recognizable format in the pop-up genre, seasonal stores, are more closely aligned with traditional retail, where the primary objective is simply to sell merchandise. Halloween stores are classic seasonal concepts and Bob Schank, president of Masquerade, Inc., presented lessons learned over the 29 years that his company has been opening Halloween Adventure stores throughout Northeast and Mid-Atlantic markets.
“Controlling expenses is critical in the pop-up business because there is no time or margin for error; you have to maximize sales every day,” Schank advised. To help keep the rollout as efficient as possible, the flow and adjacencies are basically the same across all Halloween Adventure stores, even though the formats and store footprints may vary dramatically, from inline shopping center spaces, to street-front retailing and, in some unique cases, even large big-box formats.
Among Schank’s recommendations are to hang signs in the windows as soon as possible after the sites are selected to begin to create awareness even before the store opens. And to minimize costly liabilities, he advised conducting a formal walk-through of the space prior to taking possession. The walk-though should include recording any pre-existing facility issues in photos and on a sign-off sheet so the landlord cannot hold the pop-up tenant accountable for prior damage.
Similarly, obtain official meter readings for utilities on the day of occupancy and the day of termination to ensure accurate billings, Schank recommended.