After nearly three years of manufacturing the Millennial Line of furniture for Verizon Wireless agent, The Cellular Connection™ (TCC™) owned by Moorehead Communications, Advanced Cabinet Systems (ACS) announced that they were rolling out a new line of fixtures geared specifically toward TCC’s franchise owners. “It was time to put a fresh look out there,” said lead designer on the project Ashley Mazellan, “The Millennial Line was a great seller, so we knew if we could incorporate all of the consumer suggestions, manufacturing improvements, and technology advances of the previous line and implement them into this one, we could design a successful retail environment and eliminate guess work and uncertainty for store owners. The knowledge gained from our previous design experience allowed us to accomplish our goal of providing a space that invites and engages customers in a modern, high-tech, yet comfortable setting.” Mazellan continued, “Time was not on our side with this project, as we were hoping to launch it at Moorehead’s annual sales rally in early April, but we had a great team that went above and beyond to make it a reality.”
Past projects with The Cellular Connection focused primarily on providing casework and fixtures for remodels of existing locations or new location build outs. With their most current endeavor, dubbed the Rebel Line, Advanced Cabinet Systems worked to fabricate and specify nearly all of the design elements that go into creating a complete retail environment. As Phil Bowers, VP of Business Development, stated, “We were really hoping to appeal to stores on a tight remodel or grand-opening schedule, giving them a turn-key package that included everything from flooring, to paint color, to graphics.” He went on to state, “By eliminating the need for the customer to try to match environmental elements to the fixtures before we even ship them out, we took the guess work out of creating a successful retail atmosphere and ultimately get their doors open faster.”
The design team at ACS knew they wanted to create a line that was modern, easy to install, and cost effective. Accomplishing this meant doing away with the curves and high end materials used in the Millennial Line, and focusing on designs that emphasized straight lines and utilized plastic laminates. A primarily white color scheme was chosen for its design adaptability, while pops of red were worked in for added interest. Large, black graphics and wording in a high gloss finish across the fixtures serve as an unexpected yet effective way to direct traffic flow around the fixtures, while calling attention to what each display has to offer. Custom printed fabric covering the seating area adds a retro touch that nicely compliments the other fixtures.
Moving away from the lifestyle posters used in the previous line of fixtures, Marc Dunker, lead graphic designer on the Rebel project, created a series of life size silhouettes, stating, “They were specifically designed to create an ambiguous connection between the customer and the silhouette.” Dunker goes on to explain that the cell phone held by each silhouette was colored red to tie it to the Verizon Wireless Premium Retailer chain, and also to draw attention to the product the consumer is there to purchase. Phone silhouettes in red buttons and retro themed connectors finish off the graphics package, allowing the retailer to create customizable wall murals with possibilities limited only by the available wall space within the store. All wall graphics are printed on a low tack material, making them quick to install as well as easy to remove and reposition. Once the Interior Design department completed the conceptual renderings for the Rebel Line, engineer Tim Hanson began reshaping each fixture in a way that made it cost effective and production ready. Hanson’s main priority was ensuring that each fixture required minimal assembly by the end user. The size and shape of each piece was reevaluated to assure high material yield, further lowering the cost of each piece.
The importance of securing products in a retail environment was not overlooked in the Rebel Line. Each phone display features InVue phone stands, chosen for their looks, ease of installation, and versatility. While these stands are often used to make phones “live” while on display, they are also great for securing static phones as they come with a lithium-ion battery that has an average life expectancy of 3-5 years. Once ACS decided upon incorporating InVue phone stands into the fixtures, they teamed up with Reactive Retail Solutions (RSS) out of Dayton, Ohio to make the phone displays interactive with a system that is easy to use and cost effective. RSS offers a maintenance package to the end user that keeps the display up to date on the latest in cellular technology.
Prototyping is critical in any kind of repeated fabrication and production cycle. Often times when a product is put through the prototype cycle minor mistakes or miscalculations are found and corrected before they have the chance to become larger and more costly problems. Larry Price, a lead custom fabricator at ACS explains, “What may seem an insignificant deviation in concept creates major problems in implementation. Reworking pieces or remaking parts not only holds up production but runs up the cost of manufacturing.” Prototyping also allows for improvements to be made in the methodology used for the production of each fixture, often resulting in faster assembly and fabrication. While the initial run of Rebel prototypes were hand fabricated in the customs department, they were produced with an eye towards how the parts could be either partially or fully produced for future orders by the machining center, making the process faster and more cost effective.
Following the development and engineering of each piece in the Rebel Line, the drawings were sent to Kyle Rennaker, placed within a store setting, and given a realistic look through the use of 3D rendering software. This was especially helpful in ensuring that each element of the store environment lent to the overall look that the design department was trying to achieve. These 3D renderings were then used to produce images for marketing material, such as a printed and online catalog, as well as animations and a store walk through displayed on an interactive phone fixture during the sales rally.
In order to launch a successful marketing campaign for the Rebel Line, the graphics department at Advanced Cabinet Systems began preparing for the upcoming sales rally with Moorehead Communications where the unveiling of the new fixtures was to take place. Large posters were designed to flank the edges of the showroom space, providing important yet concise information on the line. Interactive email newsletters were sent out to current clientele, while a strong presence in social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube were also utilized. Press releases were forwarded to various news outlets following a successful unveiling at the sales rally, helping to solidify Advanced Cabinet Systems’ position within the retail fixture market.