BRR’s roots in the grocery sector run deep and we maintain long-standing relationships with many national and regional grocery brands. Our team has been working with Schnucks Markets since 2014 and has developed a successful working relationship. So, when the client team sought to remodel a suburban store located in St. Louis County, BRR rose to the challenge.
The Initial Concept
This location was built in the late 1980s with minimal updates, so the store needed a substantial amount of updating to achieve the aesthetic for which Schnucks strives. The client team set a goal of creating not only a great looking grocery store, but also an experience for customers to enjoy drinks and hang out in the space. The collaboration between BRR and Schnucks on this particular store began in late 2019, when the team conceptualized a high-end design, including a food hall with an an inviting bar and restaurant area , and a large outdoor patio for guests to enjoy. Then, when the pandemic impacted the country in early 2020, everything halted and the team was forced to re-think the entire project.
Suddenly, the idea of people gathering in the store wasn’t the main goal anymore – it couldn’t be. The design team needed to consider other options to elevate this location while keeping employees and customers safe. An added challenge was the idea of what would happen after the pandemic. The team at Schnucks wanted to have the opportunity to incorporate these gathering spaces at a later date if possible.
BRR got to work, focusing on a new design concept that would be flexible enough so it could add spaces for customers to gather together in the future. The team honed in on a new décor package that would merge the typical Schnucks interior décor with some inspiration from the previous Kirkwood design concept. Also, BRR helped Schnucks achieve their goal of opening up the space to create uninterrupted sight lines from one side of the store to the other. BRR focused on creating this inviting environment by opening up the “fresh” side of the store where the Food Hall tenants were located along with the typical Schnucks offerings such as specialty cheeses, bakery, deli and the Schnucks Kitchen.
Another way BRR aided in creating this open concept for the fresh side was by simplifying the original ceiling and removing two portions that were raised in a dated octagonal shape, along with adding in clean-cut ceiling transitions. Also, the produce department was shifted towards the center of the store to help open up this “fresh” side even more. These modifications give the store a larger feel without adding any additional square footage.
Once the new aesthetic was in place, Schnucks sought to focus on new amenities to bring to the store. Both the brand and its customers have a deep pride for St. Louis – and they like to show it. As in multiple other locations, Schnucks has partnered with Arch Apparel to sell St. Louis merchandise within the Kirkwood location. BRR assisted the Schnucks design team by branding the space with a floor-to-ceiling, white tiled wall, so the area is visible from any point in the store and draws customers in to view the merchandise.
Another area the Schnucks team wanted to maintain from the original plan was the idea of a food hall where they could bring in local vendors. This is the first store to introduce the food hall idea and it was really important for the client to keep this in the design. The original layout for the back of house needed to change slightly after the pandemic, as each vendor needed to have their own cooler, freezer and dry storage space instead of shared spaces like what was originally planned. The Schnucks design team collaborated with BRR to rework the layout to include separate areas for each tenant while keeping the original design concepts on the front façade, to minimize disruptions to the budget and schedule.
Overall, the finished store has been well-received by customers and Schnucks teammates alike. The store underwent a huge transformation and now aesthetically matches the rest of the revitalized surrounding community. While the big dreams for an indoor bar and outdoor seating area have been postponed, there new space allows for this dream to be realized in the future.
About the author:
Meg Olson, RA, LEED GA, has been with BRR since 2011. Meg has worked on a variety of projects including new construction, tenant improvements and remodels. She currently serves as the program manager for Schnucks Markets and works remotely in St. Louis, the hometown of the brand. She is involved in each project from day one with the scope of work ranging from minor remodels to major interior and exterior remodels. Email her.