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Runner-up, Best Overall Design (Over 50,000 Square Feet)
Owner: Mega Foods
Neighborhood: Ea Claire, Wis.
Designer: SDS Supervalu Design Services
PG’s Favorite Design Element: At more than 56,000 square feet, Mega Foods’ flagship replacement store re-envisions the idea of a hometown co-op on a grand scale with contemporary design elements that pay homage to the company’s history of serving the local community for more than 75 years. The primary goal of the project was to create a timeless and inviting space that would celebrate Mega Foods’ local roots, for which some unique design solutions sprang forth. The store’s impressive barrel-vaulted entrance is an updated take on the domed Quonset hut construction of the company’s original co-op building, and the retro “Mega Liquor” neon sign, complete with animated flash bulbs, was inspired by exterior signage of that era.
Most Progressive Features
Extensive use of metal and wood provides a classic earth-toned interior that is highlighted with tasteful accents of bright color. The flooring is through-color polished concrete throughout the main sales area and vinyl wood in the perimeter fresh departments. Other notable elements of Mega Foods’ new design scheme includes reflective tin wall coverings, wood-framed signage with a contemporary scripted font, turnbuckle canopies and energy-efficient LED lighting in overhead tracks, pendants and refrigerated cases.
Upon entering the store, shoppers are greeted by a prominent deli counter and rotisserie serving freshly-prepared meals. Historic black-and-white murals line the perimeter of the store and echo scenes from the company’s past. Life-long customers have even commented on recognizing friends and loved ones in the photos. Each aisle is named after a local street, rather than numbered, and arranged alphabetically for easy navigation.
Themed “BYO” (build-your-own) end-caps offer fajitas, BLTs and other easy meal solutions that rotate periodically. Butcher-paper signage for each end cap is hand-drawn by store personnel. An in-store Caribou coffee shop and spacious seating area contributes to the relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. The store’s mezzanine level also houses a community room that co-op members can reserve for larger gatherings.
By all accounts, the Mega Foods project has been deemed a great success by the local community, which spurred a rise in co-op membership, strong sales and even requests for store tours. Plus, the community room is in high demand and customers can be found in the dining area chatting and working on their laptops at all hours of the day and night – proof that Mega Foods is much more than a typical grocery store.