Retail Therapy

Paula Hubbs Cohen

retailtherapyIt’s a sign of the times. More and more companies are choosing to stay in their current locations, upgrading fixtures and finishes rather than moving, says Richard V. Colucci, president of Distinctive Offices, a New York City-based firm specializing in office space renovations.

“The ideal time for business owners to consider a design transformation of their office space is prior to an approaching lease renewal,” Colucci adds. “This is the perfect time to transform an entire office space—from carpet to paint—without the hassle of [a] move.”

Several design professionals gave their insight on how a few simple changes can make a big difference.

Paint and lighting

Stefanie Means, LEED AP, is an interior designer/associate principal with Callison. The global architecture and design firm specializes in retail, corporate, mixed-use, and other markets. For Means, strategically using paint and lighting is key to the redesign of any commercial space.

“For example, in a retail store with colorful, patterned clothing and accessories that are constantly changing, a neutral background with a pop of color on an accent wall can have a big impact,” Means says. “In addition, successful lighting can draw customers in, and should not only highlight the merchandise, but also flatter the customer.”


Jeremy Codiroli, owner and lead analyst of Richmond, Virginia-based Sensum Consulting, says that popular items should be featured in signs or set in a place that is highly visible from outside the store.

“People are attracted to these items,” he says, “and the logic is that while the popular items may not bring huge profits, they will bring in more customers who want [them] and may also purchase other items as well.”

Natural light

Located in Bloomington, Minnesota, the Mall of America (MOA) is the nation’s largest retail/entertainment destination with more than 520 stores, 50 eateries, an indoor amusement park, aquarium, and much more. The mall is currently in the third year of a four-year renovation and expansion. Natural light, through the extensive use of skylights, is a key part of the changes.

A large event space addition with a massive skylight over the top of it is one example of MOA’s unique approach to using light, adds spokesman, Dan Jasper.

“Our lighting designer did an extensive study to demonstrate how the light changes as the sun travels across the skylight at different times of the year,” Jasper explained. “This helped us create not only a very appealing lighting plan, but one which will help drive customers into retail spaces and restaurants.”

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