Grand Central Coffee Station

Kennewick, WA
Posted March 22, 2000
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Renovation and a brand identity face-lift were in store for Pride Mart, a coffee/ convenience store in Kennewick, Wash., owned by George and Rene Reese. The Reese's design firm, Seattle-based Planet Retail, tapped into the shop's hometown advantage and friendly atmosphere to create Grand Central Coffee Station, a quick-stop shop that's warm and memorable.

In the original store, the design team saw employees and customers stepping over each other, which made it physically impossible for Grand Central to do more business than it had done before. To better direct traffic and define the store's focus, Planet set up a number of axes in the small space so that customers could immediately see what was offered.

Planet then blew out the low ceiling, replacing it with an open T-bar grid but no in-fill panels. They painted the ceiling a dark navy so that it would disappear visually, then hung the painted-brown grid from it, positioning the lighting between the two.

Many of the materials chosen are traditionally used in convenience stores, including plastic laminates. However, Planet Retail introduced several new materials, including a linoleum flooring versus a standard vinyl composition tile.

To add to the convenience store look, Planet Retail designed small signs like those on the outside of typical convenience stores. However, the signs are placed on the roof rather than attached to the fascia. "We wanted to send the message that this is a convenience store, just a different kind of one," says Bruce Brigham, Planet Retail principal.

Design: Planet Retail Studios, Seattle -- Bruce Brigham, principal; Scott Truitt and Stephanie Davis Long, designers

Suppliers: Muzak, Seattle (audio/video); DLW Marmorette, Lancaster, Pa. (flooring); King Merchandising Concepts, Seattle (furniture); Lightolier, Fall River, Mass. (lighting); Pacific Coast Container, Vancouver, Wash., and Commercial Plastics, Seattle (props/decoratives); Sign Associates, Redmond, Wash. (signage); Prism, Everett, Wash. (case work)

Photographs: Mustafa Bilal, Seattle