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Out-of-this-world Designs


This year's Store Design Contest winners take the c-store industry to all-new heights

From a space-themed convenience store on NASA Road in Houston to a fun and quirky Texas c-store that boasts a “Harley Davidson in the desert” feel, this year's Convenience Store News Store Design Contest winners certainly don't lack in personality.

And the Winners Are…

Best Original Store Design

Orbits Convenience Store

Houston, Texas

Owner: Global R&M Investors LLC

Designer: Infiniti Décor

Best Interior Design

Express Lane/Juan Burrito's

Mexican Grille

Dalhart, Texas

Owner: Frontier Fuel Co.

Designer: Paragon Solutions Inc.

Sky's the Limit Remodel

Jiffy Trip

Mannford, Okla.

Owner: Hammer Williams Co.

Designer: Paragon Solutions Inc.

Best Low-Cost Remodel

JJ's Fastop

Hudson Oaks, Texas

Owner: Spencer Distributing

Designer: Infiniti Décor

Best Green Design

Green Station

Dubai, UAE

Owner: Emirates National Oil Co. (ENOC)

The CSNews design awards, now in their sixth year, honor convenience retailretailers that have created the most exciting, innovative and shopper-friendly looks for their stores. Entries are judged on innovation, creativity and the positive impact of the overall design on the business.

Competition this year was fierce, as more and more convenience store operators are recognizing the need to stand out in the increasingly crowded retail landscape. For 2011, a total of 14 chain convenience stores are being honored for taking industry store design to new heights.

Here, we highlight the winners of Best Original Store Design, Best Interior Design, Sky's the Limit Remodel(more than $250,000), Best Low-Cost Remodel (less than $100,000), and Best Green Design. Honorable mentions in these categories, as well as the winners in specialty categories such as Best Specialty Department, Best Beer Cave and Best Cold Vault, will be featured in the October 3 issue of Convenience Store News.

Just a few blocks away from the NASA Space Center in Houston is a retail destination that captures the sci-fi and whimsical imagination of consumers going to and from the space center.

Orbits Convenience Store — a collaboration between owner Global R&M Investors LLC, design firm Infiniti Décor, architect TN Associates, and general contractor TDK Construction — opened on Oct. 19, 2010. A vacant 30-year-old shopping center was demolished to make way for the building.

The designers of this year's CSNews Best Original Store Design award wanted the store to feel like a space ship or a space station, so they made the open ceiling black and then added huge round drop ceilings that are covered in bright blue prints to really draw the customers' eyes up to the rest of the décor when they walk in. The scene above the coolers depicts looking out into open space from a space shuttle.

It was crucial that the design be something that would appeal to all ages, while being functional — not an easy task. Orbits, though, achieves this by allowing adults to get beer out a futuristic beer cave and children to get fountain drinks from a rocket ship “Fueling Station.”

The most original aspect of Orbits is the coffee canopy, which serves as the centerpiece of the store and is the first thing customers see upon entering. The canopy is covered in brushed aluminum laminate and has large red letters spelling out “Hot Coffee” that really pop.

“When you walk in, your eyes are drawn to it because it's a futuristic design with the circuit board graphic and Plexiglas panels that have bright blue LED [lights] to make it really light up,” Infiniti Décor noted in its contest entry. “It's very unique."

The overall design result is a store that instantly grabs peoples' attention and their imaginations.

— Linda Lisanti

Located at the corner of U.S. Highways 57 and 84 in the small town of Dalhart, Texas, the brightly colored architecture, palm trees and eclectic Mexican restaurant of the new Express Lane convenience store are catching the eyes of passersby.

Frontier Fuel Co., owner of 18 Express Lane convenience stores throughout the Texas panhandle, approached design firm Paragon Solutions Inc. two years ago with its vision for a new convenience store and foodservice offering in Dalhart. Frontier Fuel owner Dyke Rogers didn't want just any average store built; he sought a location with a “wow factor” that would become a destination for highway travelers and local customers alike.

Rogers knew he wanted to create a Mexican foodservice offering that would use the tagline, “He's Juan in a Million.” In addition, the store had to offer the ultimate convenience to customers — a drive-thru where they could get both convenience and foodservice items.

Before long, the Juan Burrito's Mexican Grille concept was born. Rogers and his team weren't afraid to let the designers from Paragon have fun with the project and try new things.

The result is a 5,806-square-foot store that opened in March and features a clean, contemporary and open design with upscale accents and a “Harley Davidson in the desert” feel. Customers like the “Stone Cold Cerveza” beer cave section, as well as the expanded coffee and fountain offerings, including flavored fountain and frozen beverages.

One of the design objectives was to create a space that is appealing not just to men, but also to women and children. To achieve this, additional retail floor space, a gift shopping area and a Juan Burrito's merchandise area were built into the store's design.

— Linda Lisanti

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