Doug Wildey has been thinking about expanding Game Room Guys, headquartered in Comstock Park, MI, into other cities for several years. He has been talking to r.o.i. Design about what satellite stores could look like, and how those stores need to be designed to attract their customers. While they have a showroom at their headquarters, most of their sales are generated online. They have been delivering to major metropolitan areas in the midwest, east, and south already which gave them valuable data on where physical stores could benefit their growth.
This year they found a former golf pro-shop in Livonia, near Detroit. This great location already had a lot of “retail friendly” details in place. Their space, while larger than what they required, does allow for an impressive display of merchandise in all their different categories.
Wildey engaged r.o.i. Design to help Game Room Guys create merchandise layouts, select finishes, and create signage. As the store continues to see sales, we will finish up with all the little merchandising touches that will make the retail space an attractive and interesting place to spend time and money. One of the greatest challenges was the flooring, staying within budget while still creating a retail “look”. With the help of our Shaw Flooring Contract Representative, Patrick Coulsen, we were able to deliver both.
Kudos to Game Room Guys for their methodical process, their commitment, and investment into the project. They opened their doors in the summer of 2018 and are experiencing continual sales growth and increased traffic.
As a teen, Doug Wildey plunked coin after coin into the Captain Fantastic and Eight Ball pinball machines at his favorite arcade.
Decades later, Wildey turned his love of arcade games into a growing retail business, Game Room Guys, where he sells pinball machines, pool tables, foosball games, golf simulators, dartboards, poker tables, air hockey — even jukeboxes, record turntables, vending machines, and Jack Daniels memorabilia.
What started as a business out of his garage in 2001 has grown into a 26,000-square-foot national headquarters in Comstock Park, near Grand Rapids, with customers across the nation.
And now, Wildey has entered the metro Detroit market with a new store in Livonia, southeast of Eight Mile and Newburgh roads.
Wildey described Game Room Guys as “one of the largest pinball dealers in the world.” He said the majority of customers are homeowners who want to create or add a game room atmosphere to part of their home.
But he also supplies corporate break rooms, college dormitories, bars, youth centers and, of course, arcades.
Wildey said two of his three sons are involved in the business, which has 26 employees. He said his company is the go-to place for people who need to find replacement parts for pinball machines and other products dating back to the 1940s and 1950s.
Breweries and their eateries often want their space to feel like their guests are joining them in the warehouse while they are brewing beer. But Gravel Bottom Brewery Ada, MI had to move to a brand-new storefront to allow for the downtown Ada development project to put in a street.
All Photos: Courtesy of Gravel Bottom Brewery
First Companies’ Craig Schroeder called r.o.i. Design looking for design help to make the new space feel more like a brewery warehouse.
Owner Matt Michiels really liked his existing space and was hoping to re-create the look and feel. To r.o.i. Design that meant a warm paint scheme, industrial warehouse lights, reclaimed wood and vintage looking brick. We asked them to hang used wood pallets from the ceiling to add texture and hide some acoustic treatment.
All Photos: Courtesy of Gravel Bottom Brewery
Matt added an amazing concrete bar top to his new bar, as well as some incredible beer.
Congratulations to Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery and First Companies for making a place that looks like it has been in Ada for decades!
From 13 “On Your Side”, May 11, 2018 edition.
Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery in Ada is reopening after moving to a new location.
The brewery moved into a larger space as a part of the Ada Village redevelopment project. But, the company says that the new location still offers a familiar, cozy feel that it has become known for as the neighborhood brewery.
“We’ve put a lot of time and effort into making this feel similar to what the other Gravel Bottom was: welcoming and comfortable,” said owner Matt Michiels…
For more about Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery visit: gravelbottom.com
All Photos: Courtesy of Gravel Bottom Brewery
r.o.i. Design has been designing for retail for more than 20 years, but now that schools and universities have discovered their customers expect the same kinds of retail experiences on campus as they do in their communities, more than ever we find ourselves working for these institutions. On-campus stores are faced with new business challenges, and they have to be profitable in a time of change.
Unlike what the doomsayers predicted five years ago, books are still being sold in campus bookstores. But online competitors and used book providers continue to eat away at that business. Incoming freshman graduated from high schools where there were textbooks, and professors are still writing and using textbooks, so until those two trends change, there will be books in campus stores.
So the savvy campus stores are looking at other products and services that will eventually eclipse book sales. Leading categories today appear to be technology & communication (equipment and their repair), fashion & apparel, campus services (printing, product rentals, grocery, HBA, etc.) and entertainment (food service, movies and more).
Layout & Aesthetics:
Whether it is a gift shop, a concession stand, a book store, a copy center or a hotel, all these on-campus environments are being compared to their off-campus competitors. Very few students or staff are confined to campus for discretionary shopping.
While convenient, most outdated retail experiences on campus are seeing reduced sales.
Key retail design elements include lighting, store layout and merchandising, wayfinding and signage, and intuitive, easy check-out experiences. Store displays have to be clear and fresh.
Perhaps more difficult to change than product mix or store layout is the store culture and service attitude provided by staff. An institution that has previously considered all customer interface as administrative is now looking at how to change employee mind-sets. The new overall need for staff to be more flexible is paramount; to be open to work different hours, to work different jobs and to continue to be open to change. HR attitudes has further challenged some on-campus stores profitability.
The more on-campus stores can employ students and work to develop structures that hire and train students, the more successful their retailing will be.
This type of service situation (not just found in campus retail but in all retailers) motivated r.o.i. Design to start a consulting arm of their business where they work with teams to support these kinds of changes. See Accelerate ROI.
Marketing and Promotion:
Successful stores have independent marketing agendas and strategies, separate from the institution and marketing to the institution. Sometimes this means changes in staffing so there are resources internally available to support this effort.
Students need reminders of retail locations and what is being sold at those locations, continually. Social media and crowd-sourcing for marketing is undeniably the best tool to use on college campuses.
GVSU’s original “cafeteria” was built more than 40 years ago and is still the largest food service facility on campus. It feeds a lot of people but needed to respond to the changing campus and its customers. More seating capacity at Fresh Food Co. and upgraded finishes meant planning for a 2016 summer remodel.
r.o.i. Design, who also designed the GVSU Laker Store in 2014 and its adjacent food court, was engaged by the University through Preferred Construction to create the design.
Einstein Bros. Bagels was moved out to a different location giving the Commons a fourth dining room.
The design team, which included Campus Dining, GVSU Facilities, Preferred Construction and r.o.i. Design, looked at the trends in college dining and the recent building projects on campus along with their customer’s preferences to create a design criteria that could be executed within the budget and timeline.
“GVSU has more than 25,000 students and commensurate staff, so a lot of food service customers who have a variety of preferences. In order to create options in dining, it was agreed that the four rooms would each have a unique feeling so guests could have different experiences within the same facility. We agreed to organize the room designs around four ideas, one per room: water, earth, fire and wind,” says Mary Witte, President of r.o.i. Design. “The dining rooms already had some features that lent themselves to these notions, so we were able to build on what was already there and create something intentional and fun.”
Each room received new flooring, new lighting, new millwork features, new paint accents and new furnishings that aligned with the “theme” of the room.
“Community Tables” were added to allow for larger groups to gather. Custom lighting enhanced the distinct look of each room.
The food line was enhanced with new equipment to allow Campus Dining the option to offer more variety in their menu.
r.o.i. Design’s initial observations of customer’s response to the remodel has been very satisfying and we are proud that our design contributions met the goals of the Fresh Food Co. at The Commons at GVSU.
Northern Michigan Pediatric Dentistry. A design build team- r.o.i. Design was the interior designer.
Who is the design team?
The building architect, interior designer, site engineer, landscape architect, structural engineer, civil engineer, casegood designer, furniture designer, and art consultant all make up the design team.
Construction managers are dealing with a variety of team types:
One Stop Shopping
Large architect and engineering firms who offer “one stop shopping”, everything in one company, linear accountability. Convenient but not always transparent. When a design team has a bundle of work with a contractor, it is easier for the GM to negotiate changes since they are funneling a quantity of work to a firm.
The Inn at Harbor Shores, r.o.i. Design was recommended by contractor as an industry specialist.
A key player (designer or architect) who offers unique experience in a construction type: charter schools, national retail chains, senior care, mid-scale hotels, higher education, specialty medical, etc. , who recommends a group of independents they or the contractor manages to fill out the roster of all the professional design requirements.
GVSU Laker Store, a customer directed design team. r.o.i. Design worked as planners and interior designers.
When there are pre-existing relationships that have to be managed and the contractor works with the customer to fill out the professional needs of the project with a variety of firms.
The “design-build” team is assembled by the contractor and the customer directs all design criteria to the contractor who then works with their choice of professionals to support planning, produce design, architecture, engineering and all it’s documentation.
So what is the ideal “design team”? It’s the one that works best for the project.
Experienced construction professionals understand that they can’t have just one process that will deliver the design on all their projects (unless the contractor only works with one building type). Experienced construction professionals know they have to have a variety of firms in their contact list and stay informed of changes in those firms, understanding their emerging strengths and successes on new projects.
r.o.i. Design works on several teams and team types. We understand the “R’s”: rates, relationships and relevance. We see successful design companies prosper when they can collaborate and adjust to changing criteria. We also see the importance of the construction manager who realizes the need for customers to be connected to the design process and their designers, and still be sure their budget and timeline are prioritized.
Recently, r.o.i. Design was at a bid opening and after hearing the bids for Division 09, it was clear to all that something was “up”. We all are seeing a steady increase in the percentage of costs spent in finishes in projects.
r.o.i. Design has been able to balance budgets by applying specialty finishes with discretion in key areas and working with contractors on the design as a whole, before a project goes to bid. Managing customer expectations at the design phase is key in order to deliver the interior the customer requires.
Some of the areas to watch for creeping costs include:
Hard surface flooring
LVT is available in a wide selection of colors and patterns, including those that mimic wood and stone.
The old stand by – vinyl composite tile (VCT) – which is affordable at install, but adds cost
every year in maintenance, is loosing ground to other composites that don’t have that ongoing expense. There are VET (vinyl enhanced tiles) and LVT (luxury vinyl tiles) whose retail square foot costs are a minimum of $1 more than VCT.
A larger portion of the flooring in projects are receiving hard surfaces verses carpet.
The love for finished concrete isn’t necessarily a budget saver and it’s popularity has demanded more skilled trades in adapting concrete in order to be considered a finished floor.
Wall panels and specialty wall treatments
Molded cork wall coverings by Murrato
Wall covering manufacturers have been busy coming up with new materials and designs that are gaining interest. r.o.i. Design doesn’t believe we will ever see projects where 100% of the walls are covered with wall covering as was prevalent in the 90’s, but do see a percentage of the walls being given “special” treatment.
Custom wall covering and panel products are becoming more affordable allowing customers to create “branded” and proprietary looks to their interiors. Part of that customization means the finish category is fulfilling more of the signage requirements of a building.
Changes in technology have advanced product design and improved product performance. But the first wave of those innovations come at a higher price. The cycle of new product introduction is more robust, and increased competition will start to impact costs on trendy finishes in a positive direction.