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project story

This prototype for a new retail concept for ‘healthy’ desserts represents a new avenue for this well-known and beloved brand with decades of history and tradition in the region. The 1,785 square foot inline store is an interactive, family-focused venue serving individuals as well as large parties. The product – bespoke ice cream layered with their homemade cakes – is a celebration of fresh ingredients, made in-store in view of customers and the public. The store includes space for individuals and families as well as larger groups. Since the brand is well-known the program included space for point-of-sale of tried-and-true favorites. Designed during COVID, there were obviously many questions about the future of such enterprises, even as the team continued the design process. As a result, the design team addressed challenges around the process of to-go orders given the fragility of the product.

The client wanted the space to feel homegrown and local, with a down-to-earth in celebration of the honest nature of the ingredients. The desserts are all about layering – ice cream, flavorings, and toppings are custom assembled for each person and flavors can be customized with advance notice. The concept included nods to the company’s history and presence in the region within a fresher, more modern aesthetic than the company’s more traditional retail stores. The goal was to create a neighborhood atmosphere where people would be attracted to the new while gaining comfort from the connections to the past.

The design team focused on the guest experience from the approach to the store through queuing and ordering, to receiving and paying for your order and staying to enjoy with friends or solo indoor and out along their sidewalk. A key challenge was how the equipment layouts interacted with that experience. On the one hand, the back-of-house process needed to be efficient, with ingredients easily accessible and the special Italian ice cream maker placed so the attachments were easy to operate. On the other hand, putting machines between the guest and staff breaks that interactive, neighborhood experience.

The team used their extensive food and beverage experience to work through the process and layouts with the client and key staff. The result is an open and engaging line where the customer can watch their specific dessert being made. A step placed in front of the ice cream maker allows smaller children to see directly into the bowl where it is being churned. The to-go problem was solved by putting a glass front reach in with special temperature settings at the end of the line. Its proximity to the point of sale allows people to circumvent the line to make immediate purchases.

Throughout the store, bright clean finishes celebrate the fresh, clean ingredients that go into the signature dessert, with the design echoing the dessert’s layering. Smooth contrast with textured surfaces, further echoing the contrast of textures in the desserts. Rustic accents throughout also reference the handmade nature of the desserts. Old meets new with the tin ceiling tiles and images from the brand’s early years contrasting with more modern lines in some of the furniture and fixtures. Other fixtures and furnishings bridge the gap, linking past and present.

Location: Greensboro, North Carolina
Square footage: 1,785
Services: interior architecture, interior design, ffe