Retail Rebirth, Part IV

Gelson's renovates in order to appeal to a wider demographic
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Posted September 20, 2019

Retail Renovation Competition, First Place
Conversion – Supermarket
Gelson’s, Manhattan Beach, Calif.
submitted by: Shook Kelley, Los Angeles

Los Angeles-based premium grocer Gelson’s was looking to expand its customer base and refresh its store design to better serve shoppers and meet the evolving demands of the sector, starting with a new location in Manhattan Beach, Calif. Designers at Shook Kelley (Los Angeles) crafted the chain-wide growth strategy by first identifying the regional brand’s core Southern California customer, who they call the “new affluents.” This shopper has a discretionary income, epicurean tastes, values health trends and is willing to spend their money on quality products and meaningful experiences.

To captivate this SoCal foodie, a fresh, contemporary look to the store was important, but even more so was incorporating in-store fresh-prepared food stations and bars that present quality and opportunities for social gathering, eschewing typical fast-food counter selections. “Too often we see grocers offer all the same prepared food options, like fried chicken or sushi,” says Kevin Kelley, Founding Partner and Principal, Shook Kelley. “We are highlighting what makes [Gelson’s] unique: high quality, but easy and relaxed dining solutions, such as prime rib from the carvery or fresh oysters at the wine bar.”

Housed in what was previously an auto body shop, the space underwent a drastic overhaul in the renovation. The overall design concept reflects a Mediterranean aesthetic, translated through natural elements found in the local landscape, such as sun, sky, ocean, sand and agriculture. Decorative swirling ribbons suspended from the ceiling in the produce department recall coastline topography. VMSD judges were most impressed by the store’s environmental graphics and signage, like in the wine room, for example, which portray the state’s hillsides and vineyards.

For more winners from VMSD's 2019 Retail Renovation Competition, be sure to check vmsd.com throughout the month of September.

For Retail Rebirth, Part I, click here.
For Retail Rebirth, Part II, click here.
For Retail Rebirth, Part III, click here.