As retailers have been fighting to survive over the last few years, experience and environment have become critical components in engaging customers in the buying experience. Exhibit Partners offers design and build services for retail environments and recently had the privilege of working hand in hand with HOM Furniture on a retail design project.
HOM Furniture is one of the nation’s largest furniture retailers, based in Minneapolis and with a large presence in the upper Midwest. They offer a variety of styles from modern to antique-inspired and are recognized for great quality design at reasonable prices.
Beginning with some smaller projects as HOM Furniture and Exhibit Partners got to know each other in this new partnership, the main event then happened in Bloomington, MN. The store location was torn down and completely rebuilt for a full remodel and there was a need for custom elements and engagement space inside the store.
HOM Furniture was looking for a turnkey solution to their custom millwork needs - a partner who could provide design, production, transportation and installation all in one package. With a store spanning more than 200,000 sq ft, the store team had an overwhelming number of details to plan, execute and track.
Exhibit Partners designed and created a significant number of customer elements that all integrate into the overall impact of the space. Items included faux windows and gates, custom displays, column wraps, seating, fabric racks, barn doors and cabinetry.
One standout element was the Inspiration Center fabric rack, an oversized display piece that needed to bear in immense weight. One side was for storage and needed to hold large sample books, while the other side needed to be able to showcase a large quantity of samples with easy viewing. The solution was a sliding structure, fabricated with solid wood to keep the cost manageable.
Design services were a critical part of the solution, because it was necessary to create drawings from original concepts and to redesign elements from the architecture drawings. A few drawings were even produced entirely from verbal communication!
In addition to the talented design and production team at Exhibit Partners, project management was the key to success in this project. Exhibit Partners was handling about 30 elements with the remodel in Bloomington and another store in Eau Claire, WI, so coordination and communication was critical.
Our team knows that part of our contribution can be just to make life easier for our clients and their team members. In this case, part of our solution was to also facilitate fabrication or installation elements that we do not offer as a in-house service. Because we have trusted partners, our facilitation of these elements for our clients means one point of contact, cost savings with our vendor partners and generally less work for them!
And of course, everything is not always 100% smooth in a project this large! While planning and anticipation of issues is our norm, last minute requests and needs do happen and in this case, our company size and nimbleness, meant that once again, we could save a situation with a quick turnaround time. We actually were able to laminate-match, build, transport and install a 50 foot countertop within three days of the store opening.
Megan Hauck, designer for HOM Furniture called the partnership a “fantastic experience.” She would send pictures of what they were envisioning and Exhibit Partners found a way of making it happen. She shared, “Anything we have thrown at them, they have had some type of source or resource to get that type of work done.”
From Exhibit Partner’s side, we couldn’t have asked for a better partner. Project Manager, Jake Riehle said, “They put full trust in our relationship,” giving us the ability to make the best decisions not only aesthetically, but with regards to function, budget and timing.
Since the pandemic hit during construction, the Grand Opening wasn’t the large gathering and celebration that HOM Furniture had hoped for, but instead a measured process with strict safety protocols and shopping appointments. Still, the success of the project and the beautiful finished space will be enjoyed by staff and customers alike over time.
As our team looks to the future, we hope that not only is HOM Furniture able to plan some projects in the near future, but we welcome the opportunity to assist other brands during this period that is so challenging for all retail businesses.