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STORE SPACES

First Look: Canada’s Indigo Books and Music makes U.S debut

BY Marianne Wilson

The largest bookstore chain in Canada has opened its first-ever U.S. store.

Indigo Books and Music has made its long-awaited U.S. debut with a 30,000-sq.-ft. store at The Mall at Short Hills, Short Hills, N.J. The space is designed around Indigo’s “cultural department store” for booklovers concept which combines typical book store categories such as books, magazines and stationery with such non-traditional ones as toys, home décor, wellness and other lifestyle products. It will also offer in-store events for kids and adults. (An in-store café is due is still under construction.)

The Short Hills outpost is warm, spacious and inviting, with an open floorplan designed as a series of zones, each with its own focal point. (Burdifilek, Toronto, developed the design approach for the store.) Books are the main attraction, but they are often complemented with products that tell a story around a book category. The Wellness Shop, for example, displays books on meditation, mindfulness, self-help and other related topics along with scent diffusers and candles.

Other zones include Home, Art and Photography, Paper Shop, Indigo Baby, and Indigo Kids, which is set off from the rest of the space with a color-splashed entry portal, colorful flooring and whimsical wall graphics. A large gift selection, Every Gift Tells a Story, is displayed on a wall opposite the checkout counter.

For more slideshows, click here.

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STORE SPACES

7-Eleven is off to the races—literally

BY Marianne Wilson

The world’s largest convenience retailer is set to open its first location at a professional sports venue.

7-Eleven will open a location at Texas Motor Speedway on Oct. 27, in time for the AAA Texas 500 NASCAR Playoff weekend (Oct. 27 until Nov. 5.) The store will operate 24 hours a day during race weeks beginning at 8 a.m. on the Saturday before the race and ending the following Monday at 4 p.m.

The 5,000-sq-ft. store will be located on the Lone Star Circle inner ring road outside of the infield’s North Tunnel exit. Tram service will be offered to and from the store and will give customers access to all other tram stops located throughout the Texas Motor Speedway’s property.

“7-Eleven customers are in a hurry and on the go. What better place to locate a store than at a major auto race track with fast cars and enthusiastic fans,” said Charles Bantos, 7-Eleven director of corporate development. “Opening a new store at Texas Motor Speedway allows us to meet them where they are and offer them the convenience they know and love during race weekends.”

The new 7-Eleven location will be available to fans during the speedway’s major race weeks throughout the year, including the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 NASCAR tripleheader in March, DXC Technology 600 INDYCAR/NASCAR doubleheader in June and the AAA Texas 500 NASCAR Playoff doubleheader and Texas Sprint Car Nationals in November 2019.

“We are proud to become the first-ever professional sports venue to have a permanent, full-service 7-Eleven convenience store on our property that will have the ability to provide multiple benefits to our fans throughout our major race weeks,” Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage said. “The store will be an outstanding source for our thousands of race-week campers that may be in need of any items, many of which will be specifically stocked to help fit their needs. It also will provide all of our fans and race teams with the opportunity to enjoy some of the iconic 7-Eleven products such as the Slurpee and Big Gulp or find a variety of items in which they will never have to leave the property.”

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Stop & Shop in $70 million store update

BY Marianne Wilson

Stop & Shop is updating its brand to make grocery shopping easier.

The grocer unveiled a fresh, new look at 21 remodeled stores in the Hartford, Conn. area. The update, a $70 million capital investment, is designed to improve the in-store experience with a focus on more fresh and healthy options and improved digital solutions.

The Hartford market will serve as a test market for Stop & Shop to pilot such features as an in-store smoker, poke bowl and taqueria stations, and frictionless checkout, which will be used to inform updates across the company’s 400-plus stores during the next several years. Stop & Shop said it is also investing heavily to lower prices on thousands of high-purchase items and extending its assortment of items from store brands.

The company currently employs over 3,000 people in the Hartford region. The remodeled stores are expected to increase headcount by 7%.

“We recognize that our customer is changing, and we’re evolving our entire shopping experience to better serve them,” said Stop & Shop president Mark McGowan, president, Stop & Shop, which is owned by Ahold Delhaize. “They’re focused on getting back to their lives, juggling many responsibilities and we want to make grocery shopping even easier and faster for them. Hartford is the first step in our journey towards repositioning our brand for future success and in helping our communities enjoy better food and better lives.”

  • Stop & Shop’s update includes a new logo and modernized store format that reflects a customer-centric approach and commitment to reshape its shopping experience around the customer and their evolving needs. While updates vary by store location, highlights of the refreshed stores include the following:
  • New in-store experiences – Customers can create their own olive oil and vinegar blends like fig-infused balsamic at DIY machines. They can also fill up growlers at a kombucha fountain, or find out what food pairs best with a hoppy IPA at an informational craft beer kiosk;
  • Community Tables – In-store cafes will feature “community tables” made from reclaimed wood so neighbors can gather together with family-style seating. Digital community boards will also share local fundraisers and other events around town;
  • Curbside Pickup – Customers can pull up beneath solar-powered canopies to pick-up their online Peapod orders, which will soon be assembled by a miniature robotic warehouse thanks to a new partnership with Takeoff Technologies.
  • Frictionless checkout – Customers can save time when shopping in-store by using the SCAN IT! mobile app, which provides a frictionless checkout experience, with no waiting in line;
  • Focus on local, fresh, and quality – Stores will feature more space dedicated to fresh produce and more locally grown and produced items;
  • Smoker – Customers can choose from meats like brisket, pulled pork and baby back ribs slow cooked up to 14 hours over solid hickory wood; and
  • Poke bowl & taqueria stations – New stations will make it easy to grab fresh, healthy meals with global flavors to-go.

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