Can Your Retail Renovation Meet Safety Standards Without Losing its Flare?
From early childhood right down to old age, we face the constant battle between ‘either this’ and ‘either that’. As a kid, you probably remember the stern look of your parents who insisted that you could have either the G.I. Joe action figure OR the Tonka truck, or the barbie convertible OR the cabbage patch doll – not both. In high school, you knew that you could either sleep in and get cut from the team, or drag yourself to practice to stay on. In college, you might have had to choose either between a night out with friends, or a date with that new sweetheart of yours. Since you most likely don’t have the comic book power of omnipotence, you will find that you have to make the ‘either this or that’ decision throughout the rest of your life.
If you are a retail store owner, you may face an ‘either this or that’ situation. You might have the intention to redesign your store’s interior, but may have an issue balancing aesthetic desires and safety requirements. However, you don’t have to choose safety at the expense of your store’s design. With the help of the branding professionals, designers, architects and commercial contractors, you can adorn your retail store with exceptional design while adhering to safety standards. You shouldn’t view the possibilities as unrealistic. Rather, you should view them as necessary, since they can ensure your business’ prosperity instead of its mere survival.
The Design vs. Safety Seesaw
They say that location determines the success of business above all else, and yes, it is essential. After all, you can’t expect a ton of customers if you’re located in an alley populated by minions of the underworld. However, even if your store sat in the middle of Dundas Square, you couldn’t get away with the homely interior design best suited for a dingy warehouse. Think of your own shopping experiences. There’s a good chance that you’ve bypassed stores that didn’t catch your eye.
Therefore, you can’t ignore the importance of your retail design. It doesn’t have to look like an Apple store or some high-end fashion boutique (unless you really want it to), but it should be inviting to your customers. However, you need to exercise care when it comes to the implementation of your in-store design, since you can overlook some of the most basic safety measures. That’s why it’s important to hire qualified commercial contractors along with your design team, since they can make sure that your aesthetic choices contribute to your store’s safety.
Ignoring the Obvious
If you take delight in the world’s irony, it most likely amazes you that the successful retail chains are the ones who get into trouble with the law. They’re like the teacher who gets arrested in front of all of his students. Some of these chains are exhibits of great design but lack the basic safety measures to keep their employees and customers safe. In fact, some major retailers have been recently exposed for such flaws.
- Wal-Mart – Whether you’re an advocate for or against Wal-Mart, it’s hard to deny the effective retail design of their stores, especially their supercenters. However, a Wal-Mart store located in Rochester, New York violated various safety requirements. This included blocked fire exits and equipment devoid of proper safeguards. As a result, the discoveries forced the company to pay $190,000 in fees.
- Home Depot – The home renovation chain is another example of irony at its best. You might have made a trip to the store to fix a faulty or defective unit at home. Yet, officials made some startling discoveries of the store’s safety flaws. A report revealed blocked fire exits, faulty wiring, and failing to install plates to receptacles. Agencies reported these safety violations in chains throughout the country.
Why Comply With Commercial Contractors?
You might give your design and branding team credit for the amazing layout of a store. However, commercial contractors deserve the credit for the safe installation of building materials in the store. Without their input, handiwork and supervision, your incredible store design becomes nothing more than a disaster disguised as a fancy design on paper.
What Contractors Do:
- Collaborate – Contractors don’t wait until the end to get involved with the renovation process. Right from the beginning, they get involved with your design ideation to ensure that they make your vision possible. Following the motto of “the earlier the better”, they learn the strengths and weaknesses of your plan, so that their construction efforts meet your goals. This means that they will collaborate with you, along with your design team.
- Inspections – Before the contractors get to work, they need to gain an understanding of your store’s physical condition. This will allow them to know what modifications are feasible and which ones are not. This part of the process also helps them to determine what materials to use for your store’s renovations.
- Installation – Of course, there is the physical work that comes with retail design. Once the contractors learn what your business requires and get the go ahead, they will commence construction. They’ll start putting up the materials necessary to make your store’s transformation complete.
Proof That Great Design & Safety Can Exist Under the Same Roof
So now we must return to the initial question of this post: can great design accompany maximum safety? The answer is yes. In fact, there are a good number of stores that have won awards for the retail experience in terms of health and safety. Sears Canada had the privilege of receiving the 2013 Excellence in Retailing Award for the “Health, Safety, and Wellness” category. Sears has remained among the top department stores in Canada, and continues to draw in considerable consumer traffic. Much of this success can be attributed to the consistent and clean design of each individual chain.
No More Either Or’s!
If you are on the verge of a retail design project, remember that you do not have to sacrifice good design to meet safety standards. Ultimately, you should strive for balance when approaching your design project. Why? Your customers are demanding and they expect your store to deliver on multiple levels. Not only do they expect great customer service and products, but they also appreciate great design, a fun shopping experience, and a safe environment. While your design team plays a major role in these facets, commercial contractors make sure that your store delivers these ‘goods’ while adhering to safety requirements. By following their advice and expertise, you can be sure that your store will exceed all expectations!
Are you about to commence a retail design project or renovation? Give us a shout at 1.888.244.4171 or email us, so that our commercial contractors can make your vision possible!