SANTA MONICA, Calif. — April 11, 2018 — Erewhon Market today announces the grand opening of its fourth store in California located at 2800 Wilshire Blvd. in the heart of the mixed-use boulevard district.
Erewhon Market, an organic grocer that sells ethically and sustainably produced products, hired lead design architect Montalba Architects and executive architect Retail Design Collaborative (RDC). Together these robust architectural teams collaborated to develop a store that responded to the rapidly changing expectations of consumers, in particular, the desire of today’s shoppers for a social shopping experience.
“Erewhon Santa Monica takes into account both the location of the store and the changing attributes of today’s shopper. The Westside epitomizes the Southern California vibe: healthy and informed, active yet Zen. This was definitely front of mind as we designed the store,” explains Erewhon CEO Tony Antoci. “The space feels larger than its actual footprint, filled with natural light, offering plenty of areas for people to gather – both indoors and outdoors. A lot has changed since Erewhon opened its first L.A. location in 1968. But what hasn’t changed is the soul of the Erewhon community: they are curious, conscious shoppers who love discovering innovative ingredients and brands. They are committed to pure foods and to supporting companies that are mission-aligned. With our highly curated product mix, 100 percent organic produce, expanded Tonic Bar and Organic Cafe and our staff’s expertise, we look forward to sharing the Erewhon experience with our new neighbors.”
Yuval Chiprut of Slated Projects serves as head of business and development for Erewhon Markets and works directly with Antoci on Erewhon’s new store development.
“Erewhon is truly an experiential destination. When people travel to Los Angeles, they make it a point to visit our stores,” said Chiprut. “The City of Santa Monica was instrumental in the success of this store opening. We can’t wait to serve our customers in Santa Monica, Brentwood, Westwood, the Palisades and beyond.”
To create a social haven at the new store, as part of the grocery experience for its customers, Montalba Architects employed a variety of key elements in their design approach. The single-story, approximately 12,000-square-foot building was renovated from its original 1993 single-tenant structure to a 10,500-square-foot multi-layered space with a contemporary façade.
“The primary objective for the project was to rethink how the public engages with the space and enters the market. We unified the primary gathering areas with an indoor-outdoor trellis element to help ease consumers' interactions with the organic and retail spaces, creating a modernized shopping experience,” said David Montalba, FAIA, founding principal of Montalba Architects. “At Erewhon, the food is at the core of everything with vibrant produce, colorful ingredients and curated products. Ultimately, we wanted the design, architecture and landscape to be a platform to showcase the food and foster engagement with guests.”
One of the store’s key design elements is a unique garden terrace and its use of landscaping elements. Unlike conventional grocery stores, Erewhon Santa Monica’s garden terrace allows patrons to be more connected to the land in an urban setting and to interact socially while shopping. Customers can rest or dine under the cedar trellis amongst trees and plantings. The garden terrace is filled with sprawling plants that over time will grow on the building and create a lush store exterior along Wilshire and Harvard Boulevards.
Other unique design elements include carefully-placed skylights that allow natural light to flood the interior, sculptured soffits and suspended opaque glass to soften the light and help direct it throughout the interior. Additional elements include a new full-height storefront glazing along the north and west façades, which also emphasizes the natural light. The west façade is screened by a trellis garden and carefully-placed opaque glass film, allowing street visibility from inside the store for additional customer interaction. These key elements were carefully studied, detailed and supervised during construction to ensure the final consumer experience matched the expressed intent for the Market.
Complementing the unique design elements, and in collaboration with Erewhon, Slated Projects and Montalba Architects, RDC oversaw the functional execution of the market.
“With markets as unique as Erewhon, it’s critical to strike a careful balance between the design features and functional efficiencies,” said David Sheldon, vice president of client engagement at RDC. “Our team leaders, Branko Prebanda and Sean Unsell, who oversaw the execution of the project, have over 50 years of combined expertise in grocery store architecture. Their full-service experience added a tremendous value to Erewhon to ensure that the balance was met, and the overall guest experience exceeded expectations.”
Unique functional aspects of the market include an exposed kitchen, an Italian pizza oven, eight different kombuchas on tap and custom display cases. In conjunction with its tremendous line of organic products, Erewhon is a leader in fresh food and drink preparation.
“Erewhon is not your average grocer. Within a very small footprint, we needed to ensure that the planning and functionality of the space was conducive to the over 70 staff per-shift working there, not to mention the 2,500 to 3,000 guests per day,” said Sheldon. “We believe this market will be one of the finest grocer experiences in the world.”
Construction of the new store build-out was completed on March 20th, spearheaded by Abbott Construction, with operations manager Larry Lantero as project lead.
“L.A. locals know that Erewhon Market is the place to go for products you can trust, and a grocery experience you actually look forward to,” said Lantero. “It was our goal to build a store worthy of that reputation – with flawless execution and an enjoyable construction experience for everyone involved. We were honored to have a key role in bringing Erewhon Market to Santa Monica.”
Erewhon Market contributes to the image of Santa Monica as a place of beauty, creativity and individuality. Its development supports the public along with contributing overall improvements and bringing broadened infrastructure to the city.
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About Erewhon Market:
Erewhon Organic Grocer and Cafe is an independent, family-owned grocer with locations in Los Angeles, Calabasas, Venice and Santa Monica, CA. Since 1968, Erewhon has been committed to providing the purest foods and products to the communities they serve. Included in this commitment is keeping abreast of market innovations, supporting local farmers and brands, and protecting the environment. Recognized for its uncompromising quality standards and customer service, Erewhon provides an experience unlike any other for its loyal and passionate shoppers.
For more information, visit erewhonmarket.com.
About Retail Design Collaborative:
Retail Design Collaborative is an award-winning leader in retail design and a full-service architectural firm dedicated to making everyday places extraordinary and celebrating the retail realm as one of the focal points of human interaction. With more than 37 years of experience designing the retail realm, Retail Design Collaborative is at the forefront of the new era of retail, examining changing trends and drawing upon its experience to be a true retail thought leader. The firm has four offices worldwide. For more information, visit www.rdcollaborative.com.
About Montalba Architects:
Montalba Architects is a diverse architecture and design studio of more than fifty architects and designers based in Santa Monica, California and a European office in Lausanne, Switzerland. The award-winning practice is engaged in select retail, residential and other commercial projects in the United States and Internationally. Believing that architecture and one’s environment can truly improve quality of life, Montalba's approach is humanistic in nature, which often leads to solutions that are discrete, contextual, yet conceptual in their intent, effect and appeal. Further information about Montalba Architects and a full suite of project images can be found at www.montalbaarchitects.com.
About Abbott Construction
Founded in 1983, Abbott Construction is a progressive West Coast construction group known for superior management and field team, best-in-class standards and craftsmanship. Abbott’s expertise runs deep in pre-construction, project planning, and the timely and professional execution of the construction process in a variety of market sectors including retail, restaurant, hospitality, healthcare, office, non-profit, mixed-use, education, exterior remediation, and seismic improvements — from occupied tenant improvements to ground up. Abbott Construction is headquartered in Seattle, Washington with regional offices in Portland, Oregon and Los Angeles, California. For more information, visit www.abbottconstruction.com.