Posted by on Aug 31, 2015

Building a legacy space is a true test of ROI. Selections have to have a story all their own that are exempt from trend.

The retail store on the Grand Valley State University Allendale Campus is one of a handful of non-academic environments, and planning the new GVSU Laker Store meant looking at its design in a way that held the GVSU brand but was totally retail.

In 2009, r.o.i. Design successfully helped the store remodel their small space in Kirkhof Center, so when it was time to plan a 40,000 square foot retail space, store manager Jerrod Nickels requested that r.o.i. Design be put on the team for the new store.

Working for Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber (A&E) and Pioneer Construction, r.o.i. Design recommended finishes and details that would appeal to the students, their families and the alumni of this growing university.

Lighting is key in retail. It directs traffic, creates interest and curiosity, much the way it does in theater. The 24 feet two story space with tall storefront glass presented a great opportunity and challenge to bring the focus to merchandise that was 30 to 72 inches off the floor. Helping to bring attention down to human scale was horizontal striping on the wall at 12 feet, drum fixtures hung off the floor at 10 feet, and 300 translucent banners hung throughout the tall space.

With the advance in technology and electronic books, university stores are no longer just “book” stores but a variety of stores within stores. The Laker Store has fashion apparel, athletic wear, gifts, supplies, technology, supplies and books; and those areas were given different finishes to help cue the shopper.

r.o.i. design wanted shoppers to have the “Laker” experience and with the support of the entire design team we are very proud of some key branded details.

  • Custom floor tile that has the 30 international symbols of academic departments.
  • Custom wallcovering that uses a motif from the first GVSU course catalog with an array of GVSU initials.
  • The 300 banners are intended to represent a water wave, in reference to the Laker brand.
  • A 20 foot x 16 foot video wall that broadcasts real-time events from campus activities or video loops that show highlights of student life.

The LakerStore opened April 2015 and continues to grow into the possibilities that the space provides.