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Food retailers are growing more aware that the store environment can be a competitive advantage, and this awareness is extending to two of the most basic store elements: floors and ceilings.
“In order to compete with other retailers, creating a heightened shopping experience is key, and this starts with the visual design,” says Elizabeth Sullivan, marketing manager at Parterre Flooring Systems, in Wilmington, Mass. “Creating an inviting environment for shoppers helps to enhance not only the current experience, but invites shoppers to return time and time again.”
Sullivan says Parterre’s vast selection of luxury vinyl flooring designs helps retailers to create an overall aesthetic unique to their brand by using the look of wood-, stone-, concrete- or metal-like options.
“Currently,” she notes, “wood-look designs are a popular choice, especially when creating various design aesthetics for different departments such as a specialty wine section or a floral department.”
Sullivan emphasizes that the product is “installed seamlessly from departments to aisles, making it easy for shoppers and employees to navigate with shopping carts or stocking equipment.” She further points out that the material is 100 percent recyclable and requires minimal maintenance, eliminating the use of harsh chemicals or cleaning solutions.
According to Tom Ricciardelli, president and CEO of Avon, Mass.-based SelecTech Inc., “Supermarkets are trending toward using more decorative styles, such as wood grains and natural stone styles. While most of the floors are still the standard VCT [vinyl composition tile] styles, the more decorative styles can accentuate a part of the store and help to create a more welcoming environment.”
SelecTech’s entire product line consists of these more decorative items, including a variety of wood and stone styles, and the company can easily create custom styles based on a store’s design needs.
“Supermarkets also struggle with repairing and changing flooring,” he notes. “Currently, there aren’t many options for addressing this problem. Some will use ‘click’ [interlocking] vinyl flooring in spot areas of the store to accentuate that section. Click vinyl isn’t that durable and doesn’t hold up well in the high-traffic environment of a supermarket.”
In contrast, SelecTech offers a robust, extremely durable interlocking tile that’s easy to install and can be placed directly on top of existing flooring, making a renovation project a snap for a supermarket, with little disruption of operations.
“Our most popular product for supermarket use is our Freestyle interlocking resilient flooring, mostly in our stone styles,” observes Ricciardelli. “Our Freestyle is made with 70 percent recycled content and is 100 percent recyclable. We have a take-back program to recycle our product at the end of its life.”
He concludes, “I see the future of supermarket flooring trending more to the decorative styles and away from the plain VCT looks of the past.”