Walk into most retail stores and they look like, well, stores. But when you walk into the gift shop of a zoo, you expect to feel like you’ve just joined a safari. Or that you’ve walked into a lion’s den. Attractions like zoos, aquariums, museums and historic sites have gift shops, but those gift shops are expected to look different from your average retail store. They have a little pizzazz. Punch. And, certainly, a theme.
Working with attraction gift shops means our team gets to fire up a talent that we use daily for all our clients: creativity. We are problem solvers, and we use creativity to find solutions. When the usual fixtures and processes won’t work for one of our client’s locations, we pull bright minds of our team together to find an innovative solution.
Typically, a solution works for all the locations for a client. With attraction gift shops, the solution changes with every attraction, which keeps us on our toes. The consistency in quality of work and speed of service remains, but every shop has it’s own flavor. We’re still building the same fixtures, like display tables and racks with hooks for key chains and magnets, but every piece has a different finish to fit the theme. Color, style and design may change to match the appearance of the theme.
The customization for themed gift shops goes beyond achieving unique flavor in appearance. The particular durability required must also be considered. A tremendous number of people, many with strollers, go in and out of the gift shops. In addition, many of the fixtures are set outside during the day and must be able to withstand all sorts of weather, including rain and extreme sun and heat. Our engineers customize fixtures to withstand a great deal of stress to make them more structurally sound than what a typical retailer needs. By using special plastics and flooring materials and more real wood and less laminates, finishes won’t crack and peel when they get clobbered.
Customization also requires attention to security for our themed gift shops. Sometimes a kiosk may not be behind a locked door every night. We’ve found creative ways to secure merchandise after hours, including using metal roll-up doors and canvas tarps.
In a typical retail location, fixtures should blend in so merchandise is the focus. In our themed gift shops, the fixtures tell the story of the brand. Walking into an aquarium gift shop with walls that make you feel like you’re underwater reminds you of how awestruck you were watching the dolphin show. And up to the checkout counter you go to purchase something to remind you of that special feeling. When your business has a problem that requires a unique solution, remember Randal Retail has the creative team with plenty of practice rising to the challenge.
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