Thursday, April 9, 2009

Small Format Food Retailing Memo - Design Innovation: Supermarket Design Firm Wins Award For Design of Independent 'The Market' Specialty Grocery

Design Services Group (DSG), the supermarket design firm owned by supermarket chain Supervalu, Inc. has won the 2009 Outstanding Merit Award from the Association for Retail Environments (A.R.E.) design association for its design work on the independently-owned small-format specialty and natural foods store "The Market" (pictured above), which is located in Plymouth, Massachusetts USA.

DSG won the prestigious Outstanding Merit award at the just-ended 2009 A.R.E. Retail Design Awards event at GlobalShop, held in Las Vegas.

The award recognizes excellence in retail store design, craftsmanship and innovation. This is the second time DSG has been awarded an A.R.E. Retail Design Award: it won a grocery store category award in 2006 for its design of "Highland Park Market" in Windsor, Conn.

The 13,500 square foot "The Market" is the creation of specialty and natural foods retailing veteran Michael Szathmary, who is the store's managing director, and his associates. Szathmary's 40 year retailing career includes having founded and launched the Nature’s Heartland grocery store and Szathmary’s market/cafes in Needham and Brookline, Massachusetts. [Related post - January 20, 2008: Retail Memo: Designing the 'Perfect' Small-Format Grocery Store in a 'Near-Perfect' Place.]

The store's manager is food retailing veteran Mark Guinasso. Guinasso been in the grocery business for over 30 years, with previous management positions at Purity Supreme, Western Beef Supermarkets, Walter’s Meat Market and Nature’s Heartland, where he worked closely with Michael Szathmary.

The fresh produce department (above), named "Farmers Market," at the small-format "The Market" store keeps with the store's overall design theme of showcasing fresh foods in a rustic setting modeled after a 19th century farmers' market.

This is how the owners and management of "The Market" describe the store's format and retailing approach: "We’re The Market. And we want to change the way you shop — for the better, quicker, healthier and happier. With fresh, locally grown foods in season, expert help and our everyday value pricing on the everyday conventional groceries you need . . . every day.Our name says it all: simple, direct, not too fancy — full of good things waiting to be discovered. In fact, we want to make shopping an experience you actually enjoy.

It begins with healthy, high-quality food: like locally grown, seasonal produce. Freshly baked artisan breads. A delectable deli. Certified Angus beef and naturally raised chicken. And fish right off the boat. Fresh is best.

We also offer a constantly changing array of specialty items created in our own kitchen by our own chef and team — in case you’re too busy or tired to cook. Just heat and serve.

Plus, we have experienced people who know their stuff and are ready to help you. Whether it’s catering a party of fifty or just carrying your bags to your car. We’ve made the aisles more convenient, the displays a little tastier. You can pick up a bouquet by Martin’s Flowers just next to our bakery. And we’ve opened a doorway to Long Ridge Wine & Spirits next door. We’ve even selected great music for you to shop by."

You can learn more about the small-format grocery store at its Web site here.

The Deli department (above) at the independently-owned, small-format "The Market" features scores of deli items and ready-to-heat and ready-to-eat fresh, prepared foods.

DSG's Architecture and Engineering department designed the interior of "The Market" the store, working closely with Elkus Manfredi Architects, a Boston firm that designed the exterior shell.

With only 13,500 square feet to work with, DSG store planners had to carefully account for every bit of available space. They settled on an open layout with relatively low shelves to give shoppers a broad view of the entire store from nearly every vantage point, the design firm says. The small-format store has the look of a country store of decades best with a modernistic twist.

The store's design philosophy, according to DSG, is to showcase fresh foods in a rustic setting modeled after a 19th century farmer's market.

"The Market" looks like a modernistic barn by design. An open floor plan directs customers from one department to the next, from the full-service cheese, deli, meat and seafood departments to the bake shop, seasonal and locally grown produce department, the prepared-food section, salad bar, dairy, frozen foods, chef’s cove and floral department, and then to the aisles of groceries.

The 13,500 square foot store features basically all of the departments a large supermarket offers: dry grocery, fresh produce, meat-seafood, deli-prepared foods, bakery, wine, cheese and the like, each designed to fit into the small-format footprint and limited store interior space.

The store has high arched ceilings which make it appear much larger than its 13,500 square feet.

The small-format store is in the Pinehills development in Plymouth, Massachusetts. "The Market" opened in September, 2008.

As Natural~Specialty Foods Memo (NSFM) first declared in the summer of 2007, there's a small-format food and grocery store mini-revolution happening in the U.S. and in many other parts of the world. This includes chains like Aldi (Europe and U.S.), Lidle (Europe), Supervalu, Inc.'s Sav-A-Lot (U.S.), with there small-format, deep-discount grocery stores; Tesco (globally) with its mid-range small format stores like Tesco Express in Europe and Fresh & Easy in the Western U.S., along with Giant Eagle and its small-format Giant Eagle Express format; Safeway (its The Market format), Supervalue (Urban Fresh by Jewel), Wal-Mart (Marketside) and others in the USA (plus Waitrose and Sainsbury's in the UK) on the more upscale end, and numerous independents focusing on small-format stores, the original small-format grocers. Many other chains are playing in the small-format world as well, in the U.S. and internationally.

The current severe global economic recession has slowed down what in 2007 to mid-2008 was a very robust small-format revolution. But the fact is it has slowed down a ll new store development in the U.S. and globally considerably.

But despite the recession, small-format innovation continues.

And in the case of "The Market" in Plymouth, Massachusetts, it continues on an award winning pace.

[You can view "The Market" store's complete design project from DSG at the link below:
Download Project PDF (7790kb).]

[You can view a slide show of the store's interior here. There are links to photographs and information about other food stores designed by DSG at the site.

[Readers: You can follow Natural~Specialty Foods Memo (NSFM) on at]

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