STORE SPACES

SPECS reveals keynoters for 2019 conference

BY Katherine Boccaccio

SPECS Show 2019 announced that two industry headliners will serve as keynote speakers at its annual event, which will be held March 3-5, 2019, at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine (Dallas), Texas.

The 55th annual SPECS conference will open with a keynote address by Robert Herjavec, the prolific investor and entrepreneur who is best known as a leading shark on ABC’s hit television show “Shark Tank.” Herjavec’s influence, however, is felt just as keenly in the business sector — he is the CEO and founder of global cybersecurity firm Herjavec Group.

Slated for Monday, March 4, at 8 a.m., Herjavec’s keynote presentation will underscore his commitment to physical retail and – with his rags-to-riches story — challenge the audience to take chances, take control of the future, and stay true to their visions. “The world owes you one thing: opportunity,” said Herjavec.

On Tuesday, March 5, at 8:30 a.m., SPECS brings in Kat Cole, COO and president of restaurant giant Focus Brands North America, whose 5,500-store holdings include the newly acquired Jamba Juice, Cinnabon, Auntie Anne’s, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Carvel, Schlotzsky’s, and more.

Cole will inspire with her “How to Iterate, Adapt and Succeed Faster” message that features her own Hooters-hostess-turned-csuite-executive stories and lessons about leadership and innovation.

SPECS Show 2019, exclusively produced by Chain Store Age and themed “The Forefront of Physical Retail,” will provide a window into the world of brick-and-mortar retail, with plenty of opportunity for education and networking. A lineup of 30 workshops and sessions will cover topics and issues that impact the design, building and maintenance of physical stores, from design opportunities to construction challenges and facilities maintenance innovations.

To review the SPECS Show agenda and to register, visit specsshow.com.

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STORE SPACES

Macy’s begins store upgrade program

BY CSA Staff

Macy’s is investing to improve its store experience for shoppers.

As previously announced, the department giant plans to upgrade 50 of its best locations. Among the first sites to get the makeover were two Macy’s stores in Texas, at NorthPark Center in Dallas, and Stonebriar Center, in Frisco, reported Dallas News.

New cosmetics brands have been added to both stores, along with such high-tech tools as a virtual mirror where customers can “try on” makeup, according to the report. The stores also have new LED lighting, flooring and remodeled fitting rooms and restrooms.

Click here to read more.

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First Look: Starbucks opens first U.S. sign language store

BY Marianne Wilson

Starbucks Corp. has opened a store that is the first of its kind in the United States.

The coffee giant’s first U.S. “signing store” is located in Washington, D.C., just down the street from Gallaudet University. The 150-year old institution is the world’s only university designed to educate deaf and hard of hearing students.

All the employees in the new Starbucks are proficient in American Sign Language (ASL), whether they are hearing, hard of hearing or deaf. Deaf associates wear special green aprons embroidered with the ASL finger spelling of Starbucks. Hearing ones wear traditional green aprons with “I Sign” pins.

The store itself was designed with accessibility in mind, with more open space, anti-glare surfaces, and visual displays for customers to check and pick up orders.

“All the barriers are gone from being able to communicate, or from people being able to demonstrate their skills and show off the talent they have,” said Marthalee Galeota, senior manager for accessibility at Starbucks. “We think this store celebrates the culture of human connection on a deep level.”

Here are five interesting highlights of the store:

1. Just inside the entrance is a mural created by Yiqiao Wang, a deaf artist and adjunct professor at Gallaudet University. The mural includes a host of letters, signs and symbols representing English, ASL, deaf culture and coffee. “In the center of the piece, you can see two very strong hands, arms raised up, rising from the bottom of the artwork,” Wang said. “It means community in ASL, and bringing various backgrounds, languages and people all together.”

2. The store incorporates aspects of DeafSpace, including an open environment for communication and low-glare surfaces. (Gallaudet University’s DeafSpace project cataloged design elements that address major aspects of the deaf experience in the built environment.)

3. For customers new to sign language, the store features some high-tech options for assisting with communication, ordering drinks and receiving beverages at the hand-off counter, including digital notepads and a console with two-way keyboards for back-and-forth typed conversations.

4. For hearing customers who don’t know ASL, the store offers an opportunity to learn something. Maybe it’s how to sign a word like espresso in ASL, from the chalkboard above the register with the “sign of the week.”

5. Custom umbrellas outside give the first hint this is a different kind of Starbucks. The umbrellas feature the company name as well as ASL finger-spelling of the company name.

For more slideshows, click here.

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