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Case Study: Harvest Market

May 1st 2019

Case Study: Harvest Market

Harvest Market is a high-concept grocery store based in Champaign, Illinois, and operated by grocery chain Niemann Foods. The store prides itself on its food philosophy, which closely aligns with the farm-to-table movement in food. They meet and work closely with local farmers, butchers, and other food manufacturers to establish a strong relationship that ensures an exceptional standard of food for customers in the Champaign-Urbana area. Moreover, they have these producers talk about their products directly through storytelling and interviews. They also work with local chefs and customers to make sure the best-tasting product is sold through taste-testing. Such concepts allow customers to more strongly connect with the people who produce the food. The store features an educational space for cooking classes and food demonstrations, as well as a farm-to-table restaurant called the Farmhouse.

New Philosophy, New Construction, New Shelving

Harvest Market was an entirely new building in Champaign, and Niemann Foods worked with design firm  Shook Kelley to create the store's look. The retailer contacted DGS Retail after viewing our line of wood gondola shelving while researching ideas for their liquor section. They saw the potential for our fixtures to match both the vintage retail environment they were looking for to best encapsulate their farm-to-table based philosophy.

Because they approached us with shelving in mind, our layout focused on those fixtures. We utilized gondola shelving units by Lozier that had wood back panels as the key fixture. In a slight modification of what we typically sell,  we made use of white shelving as the frame, which helped bring out the light tone that Shook Kelly wanted to emphasize. In addition, we made extensive use of wood bin shelves, whether in aisles or on end cap displays, to further accentuate the folksy feel of the grocery store.

The department ended up containing four island runs, each 24 feet in length, that are inline with the entrance to the store itself. It included  end caps with matching stained wood side panels, which helped maintain continuity with the rest of the store's theme while customers made impulse wine and beer purchases. As for the aisles, they featured angled wood dump bins on the bottom shelf. They functioned as wine crates, adding a more authentic look to the store while in turn offering a place to sell promotional items.

Harvest Market's liquor section, 3D planogram, designed by DGS Retail.

Aisle Signage to Complement the Store Decor

In maintaining with the prevalent use of wood in the shelving, we also supplied  wood-framed chalkboard header signs to place on top of the gondola shelving. Given the size of the department, it was necessary to use a large amount of signage in the store to better guide customers to the liquor they wanted. Moreover, the headers were designed to allow printed inserts to be put in place. This allowed for ideas such as adding details about a vineyard or craft brewery that they recently started selling, and further gave a modern and clean feel to the department.

The gondola header signs complemented well with the store decor signs that were installed on the soffit above the refrigerated beverage coolers. This dimensional signage was positioned on the two sides of the department opposite the main raceway aisle. The decor signs featured dimensional representations of shipping pallets that were finished white and have large 3D letters with inspirational messages of sharing good flavors. These maintained the design vision described by Shook Kelley and the food philosophy proposed by Harvest Market.

Completing A Store Design with Rewarding Results

Because Harvest Market was a new construction as opposed to an existing space, DGS Retail had to face distinct challenges in completing our design layout. We had to not only complete designs in a manner satisfactory to the client, but also had to time deliveries of our fixtures and signage to align with the general contractor's building schedule. This proved to be a very short window. Another major issue was budget, made more imperative by the need to consider construction costs.

Despite these challenges, we took to the task with exemplary effort. The design phase took 2 weeks of initial layout, revision, and completion. This was in part thanks to regular communications and reviews with all stakeholders in the project. We then sent our layout to Harvest Market, who approved relatively quickly. The order, build and installation took a total of 8 weeks, just in time for the opening in October 2016.

The design proved to be a success. In March 2017, Harvest Market received the Store of the Month Award from industry publication  Progressive Grocer. This store department demonstrates what DGS Retail can do to improve the look of your existing or new grocery store, even at the departmental level. Check out what we can do for you today.

PG Store of the Month: Harvest Market, Champaign, Ill. from EnsembleIQ on Vimeo.

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