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The Transformation of the New Jos. A Bank Flagship Store

Joseph A. Bank Clothiers or Jos. A. Bank is a company with a lengthy and impressive industry legacy. Founded in 1905, Jos. A. Bank is one of the most recognizable retailers for tuxedos, suits, dress shirts, and other men’s formalwear. Jos. A. Bank is particularly known for its promotions, during which the brand offers deeply discounted items and unique sales (such as its iconic “Buy One, Get Three Free” strategy, discontinued in 2015). History is central to the Jos. A. Bank brand. Recently, WJCA was proud to partner with the business to successfully execute an extensive renovation project for the brand’s flagship New York City store.

 

Located at the corner of Madison Avenue and 46th Street, the newly-remodeled Jos. A. Bank store is perhaps the most jaw-dropping of the company’s 500+ locations nationwide. The 13,800-square-foot, two-story store sits right in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. It’s a location that Jos. A. Bank has occupied since 1994 but one that the company wanted to reimagine as it seeks to adapt its brick-and-mortar offerings to suit the changing demands of retail.

 

Jos. A. Bank engaged WJCA to execute this critical flagship design project, which included a full gut-and-remodel of the Madison Avenue space.

The before photo:

One of the brand’s central goals with the renovation was to pair the 114-year heritage of the brand with a modern customer experience. As such, the design of the new Madison Avenue store both paid tribute to the past and looked forward to a lush future.

The after photo:

 

Decorative touches, such as a map of Baltimore on the wall—the city where Jos. A. Bank first started—glance back in time. Other features, such as full-wall video screens and a glass-enclosed tailor shop, offer a refreshing contemporary flair. The design of the glass tailor shop will allow customers to observe Jos. A. Bank tailors at work, bridging past and present.

 

Other features of the newly-imagined Jos. A. Bank Madison Avenue store: 17-foot ceilings, custom furniture, all-new vertical transportation, updated stairs, brown wooden fixtures, antique-style mirrors, brushed copper hardware, marbled stone tops, and new mechanical systems. There are two new “custom shop” areas in the store where customers can receive one-on-one service for the design and personalization of suits, dress shirts, or sport jackets.

 

A brand-new mezzanine lounge area serves group fittings. The mezzanine level is outfitted with custom leather furniture and large dressing rooms to comfortably accommodate even large groups. The space will be especially attractive for wedding party fittings and other special occasions, for which Jos. A. bank remains a trusted destination.

 

 

This project didn’t come without its challenges for the WJCA team, which had to overcome budget issues while maintaining the client’s design standards and even hurdles to obtaining the correct land-use board approvals for the job. Despite these challenges, WJCA triumphed, completing the project to the client’s satisfaction.

 

The brand-new, state-of-the-art Jos. A. Bank store reopened in March, welcoming New York City customers to a new era for the 114-year-old business

WJCA Teams with Lovepop to Execute a Unique Brick-and-Mortar Vision

Lovepop, a disruptor in the greeting card industry, produces innovative 3D pop-up cards with the whimsy of a child’s storybook and the traditional sentiment of a handwritten note. After securing a high-profile investment on ABC’s Shark Tank from Kevin O’Leary, Lovepop’s digital presence and brand recognition grew substantially. Primed for growth, Lovepop continues to evaluate new ways to reach consumers with their attractive products. Recently, Lovepop identified Hudson Yards as the ideal location for the company’s first physical retail location.

 

Lovepop Opens First Brick and Mortar Store

 

WJCA was selected to design and execute the creation of a 686 square foot retail space intended to showcase Lovepop’s unique product selection while facilitating easy browsing and shopping. Among the challenges specific to this project was the approvals process. As a new and highly prestigious real estate development in New York City, Hudson Yards implements exacting standards to curate the best experience for visitors. Meeting these standards and achieving the appropriate permits and approvals would pave the way for Lovepop’s vital first foray into brick-and-mortar retail.

 

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As Lovepop’s partner, WJCA closely coordinated with the Hudson Yards authorities to secure the necessary approval while also producing a striking and attractive design for the store. Our ability to successfully harmonize all these disparate elements into one cohesive project plan is a product of the phase-based approach we implement for every client. Before the first design meeting or any more advanced work, we pursue important answers during a pre-design phase of planning. During this stage, we were able to identify specific milestones and requirements in the Hudson Yards approval process well in advance. As a result, WJCA could ensure final approval in time to implement the concurrently developed design.

 

Online sales are a key factor in Lovepop’s business model — even in a physical store — so this created another challenge which required the use of our well-developed skills in technology and contemporary design. How could we create a harmony between the digital and physical spaces? Liaising with Lovepop’s team directly to develop clear expectations and share ideas, WJCA explored a range of options.

 

The result became the capstone of the Lovepop store’s design, a very large “mirror” with touchscreen functionality. From this digital kiosk, shoppers could reach beyond the space of the store, ordering cards online for free shipment to friends and loved ones. Throughout the design phase, WJCA worked closely with Lovepop as a dedicated partner endeavoring to project their brand image into physical space.

 

 

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With rapid growth over the past year, Lovepop continues to innovate with its laser-cut pop-up cards and places a strong emphasis on the value of its brand. With its first effort outside of the kiosk model and into a true brick-and-mortar presence, making a lasting impression on visitors was just as important as driving new sales within Hudson Yards. WJCA is proud to play a part in Lovepop’s ongoing growth and evolution with the successful execution of this extensive multi-phase project and the store’s grand opening in Mid-March 2019.

Pop-up Stores: Benefits and Challenges

Whether you want to establish your company before you have the resources to purchase a permanent shop or draw attention to products before they become available in your stores, you should consider opening a pop-up shop, which can be in the form of shipping containers, street corner stalls and more. However, there are just as many benefits of opening a pop-up store as there are challenges.

This article will discuss the advantages and difficulties of establishing a pop-up-store in more detail before explaining how we can make the process as straightforward as possible, allowing you to focus on achieving your goals.

The Benefits of Pop-up Stores

Pop-up stores are affordable, require a short-term commitment and can generate a ‘buzz’ around your new brand or a particular product. Here’s why a pop-up store might be the right move for you:

  • Affordability

Instead of being locked into a potentially expensive long-term rental agreement, you can commit to paying for a pop-up store for a fixed, short period, making you more adaptable to changing marketing and business plans while helping you protect your finances.

  • Bolster brand awareness

Pop-up stores draw attention from crowds, provided you choose a suitable location. Many passers-by are interested in the sudden existence of a pop-up shop, especially one that looks unique. You might want to partner with a company that specializes in the creation of pop-up stores to perfect the appearance of yours for your target market.

  • Enter the marketplace quickly

How long will it take you to finalize the contracts for a permanent location in a shopping mall and have it decorated to your liking so that it draws attention? You could have a pop-up store set up within weeks, allowing you to get your brand out there without delay.

  • Encourage impulse purchases

As mentioned above – pop-up stores often draw attention from passers-by, many of whom will purchase your products on impulse, boosting your sales in the process.

  • Test the market

The temporary and low-cost nature of pop-up stores allows companies to engage in promotion and product experiments. Even large multi-national brands, such as BMW’s MINI, have established pop-up stores for this very reason.

Pop-up Stores: The Challenges You’ll Face

While setting up a pop-up store can be advantageous for more reasons than those detailed above, you need to remember there are plenty of obstacles to overcome, including:

  • Finding the right location

Choose the wrong place for your shop, and you may either fail to catch attention or attract your target market. Sometimes, speed is a primary concern regarding establishing a pop-up store, but you should do your homework to find the perfect location.

  • Obtaining permits and understanding legal requirements

You can’t just open a pop-up store anywhere you like in a place like NYC. You need to liaise with the relevant authorities and get permits, which can be a time-consuming process if you try to do it without help.

  • Making your shop draw attention

How are you going to make a temporary establishment look like it’s attention-worthy? You need to consider décor, lighting, fixtures, stands and much more.

How We Can Help

At WJCA, Inc., we’ve been helping companies from countless industries set up pop-up stores across the USA by removing the challenges mentioned above. We can design and brand your store by finding the right lighting, fixtures and decorations. We can also ensure your pop-up shop achieves its purposes, whatever that may be. Find out how our design experts can help you by calling us today.

 

 

How WJCA Helps Panera Bread Keep Commitments to Quality, Freshness, Health and Safety

With more than 2,000 locations throughout the United States and Canada, the Panera Bread Company has evolved into a household name brand within the fast-casual restaurant niche. Panera is known for its fresh bread and baked goods, which it prepares daily at Panera Fresh Dough Facilities throughout the country. These facilities are located strategically across the Panera network, to ensure daily distribution and timely delivery to Panera café locations.

 

Recently, WJCA was tasked with designing or improving several Fresh Dough Facilities for the Panera brand. The major challenge of this project was meeting Panera’s lofty standards for food quality, health, and safety. Panera goes above and beyond the “minimal” standards established by Health Departments. The company has a specialized team to review every facet of a new facility, from the design to the implementation and beyond. The goal is to ensure that customers enjoy safe, fresh, and healthy food every single time.

 

As an ongoing Panera partner, WJCA is very familiar with Panera’s policies and procedures. We coordinate closely with the specialized review team on each project, to ensure maximum success and satisfaction. We also approach each job with our own technical skills and attention to detail—facets that allow us to adapt our strategies to meet the specific challenges of each facility.

 

For instance, one recent Panera project involved replacing a chiller system while facility operations were still ongoing. Another involved a considerable facility expansion, which in turn required site zoning approvals. WJCA adapts to challenges such as these by following a diligent phase-based process. On every project, one of these faces is entirely devoted to planning and pre-design. This step enables us to identify challenges or long-lead approval items ahead of time. Looking ahead to these hurdles helps us plan for them before they become roadblocks.

                                                               

Our pre-planning and phasing strategies have yielded numerous benefits for Panera, depending on the type of project. On jobs that involved designing and building brand-new dough facilities, our phase-based approach has allowed us to maximize productivity and get the required work done ahead of schedule. On jobs involving expansions or improvements to existing spaces, our habit for planning everything ahead of time enables us to segment and seal off food preparation areas, so the facility can continue to operate while we work.

 

Panera Bread is committed to delivering quality products to customers at every single one of its café locations. The company is also staunchly dedicated to observing and surpassing food health and safety requirements. Panera Fresh Dough Facilities are ground zero for these quality commitments, and Panera is adamant about ensuring that those facilities are smartly designed and up to date. Indeed, Panera is always looking to add new facilities to support its burgeoning network of cafes or to modernize existing facilities and improve upon existing processes. At WJCA, we are proud to play a role in this quality assurance process by helping Panera to design and enhance its Fresh Dough Facilities.

 

 

Pre-Design: The Value We Bring

Pre-Design: The Value We Bring

An Architect’s job is all about design; it is about taking a client’s vision and translating that vision into something that can be actualized. But good design cannot happen without good pre-design and due diligence—two keys we focus on at WJCA. Indeed, one of the reasons that we have been able to collaborate successfully with so many clients throughout North America and around the world is our dedication to laying the appropriate foundation for their projects. Just as builders construct foundations before moving ahead with the rest of the building process, our architects know that they need to plan as meticulously as possible before they even start drawing out their designs. That way, WJCA can deliver better designs, shorter timelines, and greater transparency—among other benefits.

The Value Points: Why Pre-Design Matters

 So how does WJCA create value by focusing so seriously on pre-design? Here are a few of the benefits we deliver to clients by being so meticulous about the early planning stages of our projects:

  • Project phasing: Every single architectural project we do at WJCA plays out on a phase-based schedule. We design each project in phases, which helps us establish a project timeline and then stick to it. In many cases, phasing helps us exceed our deadlines and complete projects early. It also helps with transparency, because our clients know exactly what to expect regarding project milestones and completion dates.                                                                                                                                                                                            
  • Clearing up complications ahead of time: You can avoid delays and complications in architectural design and project construction with proper planning and foresight. WJCA’s commitment to pre-design and due diligence is essential in part because it helps us clear up complications ahead of time so that the project can then roll forward without issue. From conducting site inspections to chatting with building authorities about permits, approvals, and other regulatory factors, our due diligence processes go a long way towards ensuring that our    clients won’t have to deal with a bumpy road moving forward.
  • Meeting client expectations: When it comes to serving a client with an architectural design, WJCA’s job can be complex and challenging. We are not just trying to adhere to the vision of one person. In most cases, we are coordinating with multiple vendors, departments, or stakeholders to ensure that our building designs are meeting their disparate (and sometimes even contradictory) needs. Our past project portfolio shows our versatility, from the vertical people movement requirements of the Uniqlo stores we have designed to the high-level sound separation requirements that Samsung has. We can meet these very different requirements for our clients not just because of our architectural experience, but also because of the value we place on pre-design. We view our clients more as partners than as customers, and we try to communicate with as many stakeholders as possible to make sure we are creating something that will meet needs, address pain points, and protect the client’s overall brand and vision.                                                                                                      

Simply put, many people talk about architects and their work in terms of design. Certainly, design matters—from style to skill to experience to the final aesthetic of the finished product. However, nothing that is great about design could exist without pre-design, and it is in the area of pre-design that WJCA most excels.

Repurposing – New Uses for Old Buildings

Repurposing – New Uses for Old Buildings

About half of the nearly six million commercial buildings in the United States are at least forty years old. This means that almost three million buildings that are presently in service were constructed before most environmental and accessibility standards were even in place. As these buildings continue to age and as commercial programmatic demands change, adaptive reuse considerations grow increasingly important and the repurposing of existing buildings becomes more attractive.

WJCA uses a layer based and phase-guided analytic to help its clients assess these potentials for their current and future projects. This analytic examines physical feasibility, governance landscape and code restrictions, and cost forecasting.

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