Retail Design Basics class to be offered at ECDI next week

Upcoming Events — By on July 22, 2011 at 8:00 am

The principals at Tim Lai ArchitecT will again partner with the Economic and Community Development Institute to offer a class that provides retailers with information that is crucial when designing a new store or revamping an existing space.

The class, titled Retail Design Basics, will be taught by husband-and-wife team Tim Lai and Eliza Ho on Thursday at ECDI’s offices, located at 1655 Old Leonard Ave. in Columbus. The class was also offered in April and will continue to be offered once a quarter.

“Many retail owners like to do everything themselves and they might not realize they really should focus their energy and time on growing their businesses, and leave the design and store build-out part to design professionals to achieve the best results,” says Lai.

The class covers a variety of topics, including how to choose the right location, license, permit and variance requirements, lease negotiations, evaluating store efficiency, developing a realistic budget, how to work with a design professional, and the ins and outs of the store construction process. Attendees are encouraged to bring specific ideas about store design and build-out for discussion.

The curriculum for the class is gleaned from Lai and Ho’s interactions with business owners.

“For each of our projects, we keep detailed records for our research and meetings with clients,” Lai says. “Also, we communicate closely and coordinate with contractors and trade-people to ensure an effective build-out process. Through these we have a pretty good understanding of what the important issues for retailers are and things they should try to avoid. In a way, the curriculum is a digested and organized version of our retail design experiences.”

Their client list includes BBR, Best Western hotel, City Beet Cafe, and The Candle Lab.

The first Retail Design Basics Class went “very well, especially in terms of the diversity of our attendees,” Lai says. “For example, we had some participants who are at their planning stages to launch their retail businesses. We also had some experienced retailers who are looking for ways to refine their stores in order to take their businesses to the next stage. Also, we got branding professional Justine Bryant and downtown retail recruiter Kacey Brankamp attending the class.”

This time around, Lai says they are expecting 15 to 20 attendees. The class does not have a registration deadline.

To register, click here.

Melanie McIntyre (542 Articles)

Melanie McIntyre served as editorial director of The Metropreneur from its launch in August 2010 to May 2013. She is also a featured writer for Columbus Underground and writes about fashion, style and pop culture on her blog, Thoroughly Modern Melly. Melanie is an Ohio State University graduate, lives in the Short North, and enjoys reading and running.


    1 Comment

  • >>>”Many retail owners like to do everything themselves and they might not realize they really should focus their energy and time on growing their businesses, and leave the design and store build-out part to design professionals to achieve the best results,” says Lai.<<<

    I don't think that's always true.

    While I definitely agree that if you are opening a store and have little experience with code and all the "Fun" that comes with a launch, an architecht's expertise is pretty important.

    Still chances are if you are nutty enough to get into the retail game , some aspect about it attracted your interest.

    E.g. For some it's making sales, others it's purchasing & merchandising and for others it is design & build out.

    A big key to being successful especially early on is keeping your costs low as you reasonably can, that means chances are early startups will need to keep at some aspects of their biz in house. . There certainly is a balance that needs to be struck as not spending money is sometimes even more costly.

    But more importantly you're not going to do well if you don't enjoy what you're doing. And if you know you have a skill as an owner you should use it!

    If the design and build out part of the biz is what you like and what you're good at then do it. But if it's not it then I agree you might get better results getting a professional to do it for you.

    In general I find it to be a very bad idea to outsource your passion. :)

    p.s. I really like the rendering on your work for Pattycake. Nice stuff!

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