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Best Original Design Honorable Mention: Street Corner

The Street Corner concept is all about getting things on the go, and the new store design -- exemplified by the pictured Paterson, N.J., location, helps get customers in and out quickly. CEO Peter LaColla said the second design objective of the Topeka, Kan.-based company was to create a calmer, more toned-down environment and storefront than the company's earlier stores, thus making it more universally accepted by landlords, particularly office buildings and office parks.

The new design also employs green elements, something lacking in previous designs. For example, the flooring is made of recycled tires, which makes it quiet, soft, durable, aesthetically pleasing and, importantly, slip-resistant. When this floor gets wet, it delivers more friction, not less.

The new design offers many other benefits, according to LaColla. It shaves construction costs by using a modular approach along with more laminates and fewer solid surface materials. Second, the flooring is easy to maintain; in the event of damage, a new section can be cut in. Other benefits include a look that's more appealing to a franchise buyer, and a uniform look appropriate for consistent branding of the concept.
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