Final Installment....

Whew. Back from a quick whirlwind tour of Central Texas (San Antonio, Austin, the Hill Country, et al) and ready to finish up this Hogue Cellars story at last.....here are before & after photos of the lower half of the floorplan, which is the West side of the shop.

This huge antique oak cabinet is located on the South wall, to the left side of the entrance. (See floorplan in last post). On it were some of the previously-mentioned Garfield bottles, some wines from the history of Hogue Cellars, and a few pieces of glass stemware. Up there near the top of the front of the cabinet, you'll see two of the stained glass panels that I showed in the last post. They were just propped up there on some brass handles - I am totally amazed that they never fell on someone's head. Yipes. The basket 'shelves' in the corner hold wine openers, etc., and were moved to the slatwall area I shared in another post. Notice the huge gaping bare space in the center of the room.

We loaded the cabinet with glassware so that customers could purchase four or six or eight glasses for a party or dinner....rather than wondering if the two of each style previously on display were the last of the stock. Massing the merchandise makes it easier for the customer and the staff - less stocking when items sell. And, um, more items SELL. The 'tree' wine holder adds enough wine to the display to make sense, but not a hulking mass of dark bottles in the midst of sparkling glass - remember Balance. Scale. Composition. Art class 101, kids.

Also: No more empty space! (More on this in a minute.)
The cabinet sparkles with lots of glass...detail below.
Moving around to the West wall, you can see from the photo that it was empty. Save for a bizarre table that we dubbed 'the Coffin'...which went to the event room to fill in for the hutch until it arrives. (Photos of that project next time).
This is a closeup of the display that is on the West wall. Wood bowls & platters, black candle lanterns, wine, books, linens, books, wood tables & wine racks, pear & apple candles and glass votives all mix together to create a vignette that focuses on the tones of the Hogue wine labels. It's home decor, tabletop, picnic, giftware, all in one. For fall, these same products can be merchandised with amber linens and some fall leaves to totally change the look without having to rebuild.
Before shot: view from the entry across the West side of the shop, to the tasting bar. Yes, it offered a clear view & path to the bar. But the bar is....huge. It's awesome, really. You can't miss it. So a clear path & view wasn't really needed. People come here to drink the wine - they'll find the bar. Show them some merchandise first. Romance them, welcome them. Entice them. They know they want wine. They may NOT know they want something gorgeous for Aunt Alma. Convince them - subtly.

After Shot: Filling up all that empty space are two displays. One is freestanding at the center front area, the other is against the wall/windows. Lots of space around them for traffic flow and line of sight - the bar is still there and you can see it just fine. But now, the interior of the shop vibrates with color and pattern and interest...it pulls the customers in and says 'Welcome! Look what we have to offer you!', instead of 'Here's the bar'. Blows their minds and makes them think "I never knew they had THIS!" Exactly. Now ya know. Come back often!

A detail shot of the front display....those pedestals are actually fibreglass planters, with glass on top to provide a surface for merchandise. I use them at Columbia, too. The products include ceramic dinnerware, amber glassware, linens, pear & apple candles, books, sunflowers, copper vases that look like big wine bottles, nested metal table sets, metal & stone wine racks and wine. There are two wine racks back-2-back, so the display is set up to be viewed from the tasting bar as well as from the front door. Can you see how the gold label of the wine (Genesis Syrah) perfectly blends with the colors of the merchandise? When we saw this pottery in the showroom, I knew these fixtures and this wine would be used. I LOVE LOVE LOVE seeing my 'inner vision' come into 3-D reality like this!!!!
Okay, I'm exhausted just looking at all those photos again!
I do want to offer my never-ending gratitude to Lisa, who wins the 'Best Buyer in All of Christendom' Award, for finding amazing products for me to work with (and actually listens to my suggestions, amazingly enough!); to her assistant, Janel, without whom I would be sleeping at the wineries (because Janel unpacks and prices and assembles and hauls and takes away and rewraps and any number of other things that make my artistic efforts possible); and also to Miss Holly, who had the innate good sense to hire me as a retail consultant on her second (yes, SECOND) day directing NorthWest retail for Columbia's parent company Constellation Brands, and is also such a good friend that she will drive three hours across the desert to help me with a project like this one. We rocked, girl! (Just like the old days at the Chateau Ste. Michelle winery gift shop: after hours with a glass of wine, some loud music, making some really big messes, and a lot of laughter!) Thank you, dream team!!!
ps: Karen: Next time, you come, too!!!!

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my take on retail visual design:

"The thing is, retail design is driven by psychology. It is by manipulating space, visuals, lighting, sound, smell, and mood that we influence customers to enter, stay, browse, buy, and return. It is an endless exercise in change, endurance, growth, education, and imagination that enables retailers to stay on top of their game and at the forefront of their customer's minds. Yes, what you sell IS important - but even the very best merchandise won't sell at full price if it's presented in torn boxes on dirty shelves in a store that is too crowded to turn around in. Visual impact is a huge part of business, and utilizing the principles that have been proven to work can help you build a better business." ~ DWK