And the Store of the Year is…

BY Marianne Wilson

ShopWithMe, a futuristic-looking “smart” store at Pioneer Plaza, Chicago, took top honors as Store of the Year in the Retail Design Institute’s 45th annual International Store Design Competition. The awards were presented during a gala celebration on Saturday, March 12, at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, the night before the kick-off of Chain Store Age’s annual SPECS Conference.

Designed by Giorgio Borruso Design, the 3,000-sq.-ft. ShopWithMe brings the best of offline and online shopping together under one roof, and creates personalized experiences for every shopper. The space is completely mobile. It is designed to be mass-produced so it can be deployed by retailers across the United States. Specialty retailers Toms Shoes and Raven + Lily were featured in the Chicago store.

The Retail Design Institute’s annual competition attracted entries from around the world, and featured 21 categories, ranging from department stores and specialty shops to supermarkets and pop-ups to restaurants.

Here is a complete list of all the winning projects (all winners are first place except where noted):

• Store of the Year:
ShopWIthMe, Pioneer Plaza, Chicago (Design: Giorgio Borruso Design)

• New or Completely Renovated Full-­Line Department Store
David Jones, Sydney, Australia (Design: Dalziel & Pow)
Outstanding Merit: Hudson’s Bay, Hillcrest Mall, Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada (Design: Hudson Bay Store Planning & Design)

• New or Completely Renovated Specialty Department Store
Nordstrom, Pacific Centre, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (Design: Nordstrom Store Design, CallisonRTKL and James K.M. Cheng Architects)

• Shop Within an Existing Full-Line or Specialty Department Store
Hudson’s Bay, footwear, Queen Street , Toronto (Design: Hudson Bay Store Planning & Design)

• Hard­Line Specialty Store
Jins, San Francisco (Design: Kwan Henmi Architecture and Planning)
Outstanding Merit: Ponto Frio Premium, Sao Paulo, Brazil (Design: GH Consultoria de Varejo LTDA0)

• Hard-Line Specialty Store | Jewelry and Watches
deBoulle Diamond & Jewelry, Houston (Design: Gensler)

• Hard-Line Specialty Store | Beauty
Outstanding Merit: Caudalie, Washington, D.C. (Design: Caudalie USA and TPG Architecture)
Outstanding Merit: Beauty Brands, Kansas City, Mo. (Design: Kiku Obata & Company)

• Soft-Line Specialty Store
Primark, King of Prussia, Pa. (Design: Gensler)
Raymond Ready to Wear, Bangalore, India (Design: Gensler)

• Soft-Line Specialty Store | Footwear
The Frye Company, Atlanta (Design: The Frye Company)

• Large-Format Specialty Store
First Place: Leroy Merlin, Le Havre, France (Design: Dalziel & Pow)

• Supermarket
Whole Foods Market, Playa Vista, Calif. (Design: DL English Design)
Outstanding Merit: Primo, Tangerang, Banten, Indonesia (Design: rkd Retail/iQ)

• Specialty Food, Gourmet Grocer & Delicatessen
LCBO, Toronto (Design: II BY IV DESIGN)

• Fine Dining Restaurant
Kabuki Sushi Lounge, Toronto (Design: dialogue 38)

• Quick Service Restaurant
eatsa, San Francisco (Design: eatsa)

• Quick Service Restaurant
Outstanding Merit Quiznos Grill, Denver (Design: Tesser)

• Casual Restaurant
Reggie’s Bar, Montreal (Design: Ædifica)

• Bar, Coffee, Tea Shop
Neo Coffee Bar, Toronto (Design: dialogue 38)

• Telecommunications
Outstanding Merit: Studio Xfinity, Chicago (Design: ESI Design)

• Pharmacy
I+ Pharmacy, Sevilla, Spain (Design: Marketing-JAZZ)
El Puente Pharmacy, Granada, Spain (Design: ariasrecalde taller de arquitectura)

• Common Area Retail
ShopWithMe, Pioneer Plaza, Chicago (Design: Giorgio Borruso Design)
Outstanding Merit: kikki.K, London (Design: Dalziel & Pow)

• Brand Spaces
Olympia Tile + Stone, North York, Ontario, Canada (Design: II BY IV Design)
Outstanding Merit: Stearns & Foster Showroom, Las Vegas (Design: dash design)

• Financial Services
Desjardins Marche Central, Montreal (Design: Ædifica)

• Innovation | Merchandising
Charming Charlie, New York City (Design: CallisonRTKL)

• Innovation | Facade
Primark, King of Prussia, Pa. (Design: Gensler)

• Innovation | Graphics
Leroy Merlin, Le Havre, France (Design: Dalziel & Pow)

• Innovation | Concept and Experience
The Inutilious Retailer, New York City (Design: Adrian Wilson)

• Innovation | Technology
eatsa, San Francisco (Design: eatsa)

• Innovation | Visual Merchandising
kikki,K, London (Design: Dalziel & Pow)

• Innovation | Materiality
PNC GingerBranch, Pittsburgh (Design: Design Compendium)

To see photos of the awards event, click here.


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Retail facilities veteran loses cancer fight

BY Marianne Wilson

Carl Nottberg, a veteran retail facilities executive, lost his battle with cancer on March 14, 2016.

Nottberg, senior VP of development at EMCOR Facilities Services, was suffering from multiple myeloma, a relatively uncommon form of cancer that attacks the plasma cells in the bone marrow.

Nottberg started his career in the retail industry as director of facilities for Mercantile Stores in 1987. Throughout a career that spanned almost three decades, he was recognized as one of the premier experts in energy management and HVAC. He was also admired for his generous spirit and philanthropic efforts.

Nottberg was a founding member of the Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association (PRSM), and served on numerous PRSM committees and recently served a second term on the Board of Directors.

In 2008, Nottberg was recognized as PRSM’s Vendor of the Year and was recently awarded the Lawrence W. Whelan PRSM Lifetime Achievement Award.

In remarks on the PRSM website, Bryan Walker, 2015-16 Chair, PRSM Board of Directors, stated: “Carl has been a steady driving force behind PRSM since its inception. His love for the industry and the people who comprise the profession have always been evident as he strove to make us all better by sharing his expertise, learning from others and championing PRSM as the hub of the industry. He will be deeply missed by all of us and remembered for his character, integrity and quick wit.”

Donations in Nottberg’s name are being accepted at His family has also created a special webpage in his honor.


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Trendspotting: Skyline Signs Tell the Tale (And SPECS Show Wrap-Up)


This week I’d like to discuss the re-emergence of skyline signs, but first allow me to offer a quick thank you to the entire Chain Store Age and SPECS Show teams for executing a trade show I won’t soon forget.

Of course, I’m talking about last week’s show at the beautiful Hilton Anatole in Dallas, #SPECS2016.

As American Signcrafters grows year-after-year I find our scarcest commodity to be my time and the time of my top executives. With that in mind we made a conscious decision to be exceedingly selective in the trade shows we participate in.

After much research, including soliciting the advice of colleagues and respected figures in the retail industry, we made the decision to participate in SPECS 2016. We could not be more pleased with the results.

Every step of the way our Sales Manager and the show’s Executive Director of Events standing by to steer me in the right direction. Time and again the staff went above and beyond the call of duty. As a first time exhibitor I was impressed by the staff’s attentiveness and attention to detail.

So much so that I’ve already circled my calendar for next year’s show in my home state of Florida.

Shifting to this week’s discussion in “Trendspotting” I turn your attention to the skies where the resurgence and importance of skyline signage tells a compelling retail story.

This trend was earlier written on by Community Architect who noted that high-rise signs which were “banned by sign regulations and zoning codes in favor of a clean and uncluttered look” are now making a comeback.

The Baltimore Sun explains some of the reasons this is the case writing that “company names show the strength of a commercial market, signaling that companies have invested and plan to stay. Signs not only raise awareness among potential customers, they also help landlords attract tenants and can bring new business to a market.”

I agree. As high-rise sign specialists, American Signcrafters attests that this 2014 trend has become reality.

In the last several years American Signcrafters has been responsible, in part or in whole, for the fabrication, restoration, or installation of iconic skyline and high-rise signage atop 1740 Broadway (formerly the MONY building), 30 Rockefeller Center, the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and the JW Marriott Essex House.

I argue, and pictures illustrate, that in each case the project has had a positive and transformative effect on the building and its community, and conferred the underlying brand iconic imagery whose brand value is immeasurable.

These days, one cannot picture Brooklyn without the aesthetically pleasing Barclays Center. Nor can anyone refute what the Barclays Center has done to transform its community. Nor can one think of 30 Rockefeller Center as anything but the iconic home to NBC Universal’s storied history.

As another example, the H&M skyline signs atop 4 Times Square are nothing less than crown jewels atop the beloved building home to the H&M Times Square flagship retail. And it’s not just in New York where skyline signage is seeing a renaissance.

In Baltimore for example, “The signage today signals a new economy,” or as the Baltimore Sun reports, “Across the waters rise the letters for Under Armour, the homegrown retail success that marries the region’s manufacturing roots and its nano-technological present and future. Even old mainstays like the Domino Sugars sign signal innovation – while its appearance has hardly changed since 1951, the sign recently switched to solar power.”

Still there are many more examples. For instance, American & Interstate Signcrafters are currently working on the Brickell City Centre development in Miami, which features its own skyline redefining signs.

As national skyline and high-rise sign fabrication and installation specialists we are observing first hand more and more of today’s top brands turning their gaze to the sky.

We look forward to being a part of these often historic, undoubtedly iconic, and lasting, custom sign projects.

As always readers are invited to contact Lisa directly with questions and inquires at [email protected].


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Do you think retail brands should steer clear of taking a stance on social and political issues?