LIGHTING/FLOORING/SIGNAGE

True Value stores cut energy use with LED retrofit

BY Marianne Wilson

An LED upgrade has added to Rosenberg True Value Hardware’s to bottom line profitably.

The retailer, who operates two True Value stores in Michigan (in the towns of White Cloud and Grant), switched out the existing T8 fluorescent lamps in the stores in favor of 18-watt, 2200 lumen, 4000K, four-ft. T8 LED linear tubes (from EarthTronics, Muskegon, Michigan).

“We had researched the idea of changing over to LED lighting,” said owner and CEO Bob Rosenberg. “But, it wasn’t until we discovered the right mix of products that we started to understand that a full conversion made sense. When we combined these products with a rebate incentive from our utility provider, Consumers Energy, we found a cost-cutting solution that would offer a viable, measurable impact to our business.”

The T8 linear tubes, a direct-wire LED, help eliminate the existing florescent ballast and wire AC power directly to the lamp. Earthtronics’ LED linear tubes have a color rendering index above 80 and feature glass tube construction to ensure proper cooling to support high lumen maintenance for a 50,000 hour rated life.

“With LED bulb life at 50,000 hours, we won’t have to replace these new lamps for up to 10 years,” Rosenberg said. This delays future product and labor expense for us. We also learned that LED lighting runs at a lower temperature than florescent lighting, reducing summer cooling costs.”

Instead of purchasing new lighting fixtures for the LED linear tubes, Rosenberg True Value decided to convert its existing eight-foot florescent light fixture to one using four-foot LED linear tubes.

A simple retrofit kit enabled the retailer to forgo the expense of purchasing new light fixtures with additional labor and material costs. It also easily allowed the hardware stores to use the eight-foot metal housing from its existing florescent fixtures and quickly convert them to four-foot LED lighting.

The kit made the conversion from eight-foot tubes to four-foot ones relatively quick and simple. The conversion occurred during hours of operation with little or no inconvenience to the stores’ customers.

“The retrofit kit was easy to install and allowed us to efficiently adapt each fixture,” said Rosenberg. “After a half-day, the installer was able to accomplish each conversion in about 15 minutes per eight-foot fixture. This kept labor costs to a minimum. It also enabled us to complete the whole lighting project in less than three weeks at a labor cost of under $3,500.”

By switching from T8 florescent tube to linear LEDS, the True Value locations were able to decrease the number of the lamps used in the overhead fixtures from four to two, reduce more than 10,500 kilowatt hours and drastically cut their energy bills over the summer. The White Cloud location reduced 5,170 kilowatt hours, while the Grant store cut 4,384 kilowatt hours over the brief summer months.

Rosenberg says initial project analysis estimated a payback period of a little over two years. Ultimately, after the project ended and he received the stores’ third energy bill, Rosenberg learned payback would occur in closer to 18 months. (The total project cost was only $10,700, which includes a $3,300 rebated from Consumers Power.)

“This is the first time we have been able to make a significant cut in what would be considered a fixed expense and succeeded to the point that it will actually improve the health of our business,” he said. “Consumers Power rebates gave us the incentive to pursue a project that led to using LED technology. It is one of the best things that happened to our business in several years.”

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DESIGN/CONSTRUCTION

Pet supplies giant hits store milestone; working on new test store

BY Marianne Wilson

As PetSmart continues to expand its brick-and-mortar presence across North America, it also is working on its next generation store.

The company opened its 1,500th store, in Sheridan, Colorado. One of approximately 80 new locations the retailer is opening in 2016, the 18,000-sq.-ft. Sheridan store offers a full line of pet supply products along with pet training and adoption services and a full-service grooming salon.

“We are ramping up efforts to expand our retail footprint in North America. said Michael Massey, president and CEO, PetSmart, which operates 1,470 stores nationwide. “At the same time, just last week, we launched the news of our new and improved, mobile-responsive PetSmart.com site, a key omnichannel strategy for us.”

PetSmart is working with retail and design consultancy Fitch to develop a new store environment, with the test store to open in Highland Ranch, Colorado, in fall 2007. The retailer will use the store to test new ideas and experiences to potentially roll out chainwide.

“Our goal is to design an extraordinary experience that is centered around the emotional bond we all have with our pets,” said Joanne Putka, design director at Fitch. “The new PetSmart test store design will deliver a fun and friendly space with new discoveries to help our pet parents establish and improve the relationship with their pets.”

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TECHNOLOGY

Nordstrom expands its B2B gift card program

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Nordstrom is taking its gift card program industry-wide.

Leveraging its partnership with CashStar, Nordstrom is using the CashStar Business platform to streamline the sale of its gift cards — both plastic and digital — to business partners.

Called the Nordstrom Gift Cards for Business program, the department store retailer is streamlining orders, and enabling partners to securely place, pay for and manage orders, as well as load cards with $5 to $2,000 per card.

Nordstrom partners can also use the platform to track current and previous orders, as well as create new orders via saved information — all directly through the portal.

Nordstrom began its partnership with CashStar in 2015, when it adopted the CashStar Consumer application to debut a new consumer digital gift card program in time for last year’s holiday season, a company statement said.

“Launching our Gift Cards for Business program gives Nordstrom a great opportunity to connect with and better serve business-to-business customers,” said Sean Burrow, director, gift card at Nordstrom. “CashStar’s platform will help us to provide expanded ordering options, faster fulfillment and improved account management.”

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