The Importance of Window Shoppers!

You always want your space to be looking its best, but do you pay attention to what customers see when they are walking past and looking into your store? Do your windows show the personality of your space while also displaying some of your best frames? If not then this blog is for you. We will discuss some tips and tricks to keep your space looking fresh and give you techniques to fill some of that window space with frames. 

How do you present yourself?

‘Window Shoppers’ are customers who walk past your store and decide to go in based on how it looks from the outside. These shoppers usually stop because something catches their eye. Whether a big yellow sign for a sale or a graphic display of your products, the outside of your space is a huge opportunity to bring customers in. No matter where your space is, windows can help you draw in a crowd. If your office is in a high foot-traffic area then having the outside look great is even more important.  

Pull them in!

No matter how big or how small your windows are, they present an opportunity to pull customers into your store. What they see in the window as they walk past can either be one of the millions of things they forget that day, or it could change where they get their glasses. There are multiple different ways to make your windows work for you. One of the best ways to get people into your store is having graphic advertisements and displays in your window. Give them a sneak preview of what you have in the rest of your space, and don’t be afraid to put some of your best frames in the window. You want to draw people in, give them something exciting and beautiful to look at. Along with making it look attractive you want to give them a glimpse of what else they might see in the store. Think about your windows as a one second movie trailer for your space. What are the highlights you want to hit? What do people need to know about your space? When deciding what to put in your windows, ask yourself these important questions.

Be helpful, not invasive!

Once you have the customer in your store it is time to turn on the sales engine. Remember, this is the first time they have been in your space so give them a good first impression.  Approach them with a warm greeting and ask if there is anything they are looking for. There is a fine line between keeping your frames safe from thieves and making all your customers uncomfortable. If they say they are just browsing take a step back and let them browse. If they want help, provide it to them. Few things cause customers to leave your store faster than you standing right behind them and looking over their shoulder.   

Turn them into a customer for life! 

From the moment your customer walks into your space they will be making mental notes about what they like and what they don’t like. Sometimes they won’t even realize its happening. From how your staff treats them to how your frames are displayed, your customers take in a lot more than you would think. Not every situation is in your control. Control what you can and don’t worry about what you can’t. Establish a relationship with them. Get to know their likes and dislikes. Not only will this help you sell to them today, it also sets up future visits. Give them something to remember you by and do your best to remember something about them. Even just a simple personality trait or physical feature goes a long way in helping you remember clients.  

The way your space looks on the outside is really important to gain new walk-in customers. When someone new enters your office be sure to make them feel welcome and provide them with the information they need. Give them a great experience and you may have made a customer for life. Using these tips you will be able to effectively bring new customers into your store and keep them coming back for more!   

Time to Clear the Clutter!

Spring Cleaning and Organization Tips for Your Space

ennco optical space design, ennco design services, optical space remodel

Is your space starting to feel crowded? Are those papers starting to completely eclipse your desk? It might be time for some spring cleaning! No matter what size or shape your office is the clutter of the past year seems to always have a way of piling up on you. Use some of these tips to help clean up your space and keep it looking its best.

Organize your customer pick-ups:

If your office has a high volume of patients each day, subsequently you will have a lot of pick-ups from patients who have ordered glasses and contact lenses. It becomes quite a difficult task when you have hundreds of orders to keep track of. Even if your volume is much smaller, organization is paramount. Keeping a system that is neat and tidy is incredibly important but even more important is the ability and willingness of your staff to follow the system. Devise a system that everyone can easily follow and interact with. One way to achieve this is to keep all of your orders in one place, and in a color coded or alphabetical systems that gives your staff quick and accurate access to the materials they need. Something that can help with this is an Ennco RX bag system that fits right into your cabinet. Gone are the days of looking back and forth through crowded boxes and filing cabinets. Say hello to more efficient order distribution and a simple but effective solution for your staff. 

contact lens bag storage, eyewear frame order storage, eyewear organization, lab storage
Ennco RX Bag System

Keep drawers and cabinets organized:

Keeping track of so many frames and lenses is a daunting task especially when they are constantly moving around. Keeping your drawers organized will not only show your professionalism, but will also let customers know you truly care about every aspect of your business. Some easy ways to keep drawers organized is through the use of Trays and Pads. These products can easily be used in almost any drawer and can simply be lifted from a drawer to go from an organization tool to a presenting tool.     

array of optical frame trays, eyewear presentation trays, sunglass storage

Countertop Space:

Your countertops can be some of your most effective advertising platforms. Customers often have to spend at least a few minutes at the front desk on their way in and on their way out. Give them something to look at that isn’t a stack of papers or an office plant. Use all of the space that you have. Countertop Displays can be a game changer when it comes to selling frames. Just one of these great compact displays can be the difference between making a sale and having your customer “find them cheaper online”. Give them a glimpse of what they could be walking out with as soon as they step through the door. Let them create a connection with that luxury frame so when it comes time to pick out a frame they already have one in mind.   

Keep your space open and easy to move around in:

Having a space where people feel comfortable and invited is important in order to create an atmosphere they want to buy products in. Even the most inviting and attractive space can suffer from crowding and a feeling of limited mobility. Give your customers the chance to move around your space and let them see all the frames you have to offer. One way to give your space an open feel is to keep walkways and areas in front of frames clear of debris and bulky furniture that aren’t helping you sell product. That grand chest of drawers or large cabinet may look nice but it is also taking up valuable space that you could be displaying frames in. Another way to keep your space feeling open and less stagnant is to have Freestanding Displays that can be easily moved. Whether they have wheels or are light and easy to lift, having versatile displays gives your space a whole new dimension. With freestanding and movable displays you can always switch up your space to fit your need that day. Need more space to dispense frames? Just move that rotary off to the corner. Having a sale on a certain type of frame? Make them front and center when your customers walk through the door.    

array of Ennco freestanding optical displays, eyewear displays, frame display systems

Always store your visible products in an organized and attractive fashion:

Something that customers crave when going into a healthcare space is the peace of mind that they will be well taken care of. They trust you with the care of their eyes, and that can be frightening for some people. Giving them peace of mind not only makes them a more pleasant patient, but also increases your chances of a return visit. Along with the professional manor of your staff, the look and organization of your space goes a long way in shaping their opinion. It’s important that customers see that you take great care of the products you are selling them. Keeping frames in a plastic bag or a cardboard box can go a long way in shaping a negative opinion your client has about a particular frame. You also don’t want to take too long to go and retrieve a frame from the back. This could give the illusion that you have to go and find it or that it was buried with the rest of the old products nobody buys.  Keeping them well organized and easily accessible shows clients that you are giving them a quality product that you have close at hand. A great way to keep frames easily accessible and organized is with one of our Frame Storage Cabinets. This cabinet is an elegant way of storing a lot of frames in a relatively small space. Another way you can be sure you are presenting those frames the best way is to use presenting trays when showing them to customers. Tuxedo Trays are a stylish yet cost effective way of presenting your frames to clients.

frame tray storage cabinet, frame storage, optical frame trays, frame organization
Ennco Frame Tray Storage Cabinet

Keeping your space clean and well organized is one of the simplest things you can do to keep your customers coming back. If you show them that you take care of all aspects of your business, no matter how small, they will be reassured the care they are getting is first-rate. Make sure your staff is set up with the right tools to provide your customers with the highest level of service possible. Always keep your space open and accessible for your clients so they feel comfortable to purchase your products. Maximize your countertop space by displaying frames and not just today’s papers or that wilted office plant. Always keep your visible inventory in something that compliments their style and elegance. From the moment your client steps through your doors they should feel calm and confident with the care they are about to receive. The look and feel of your office goes a long way in shaping their perceptions and what they will remember about their visit. Give them something to tell their friends about!   

Thinking outside of the box!

Yes…we do full office designs, but did you know you can also utilize our products on an a la carte basis? Take Vision Today in Jacksonville Florida as an example. They decided to take the DIY approach to their space design, and it looks amazing! They built their own shiplap wall panels and mounted our Acrylic Panels with Alumina rods to it. If you ask me, they knocked it out of the park! The space feels warm and inviting while still being modern and chic!

Todays Vision Jackson_1Vision Today

Whether you are needing full office design or just parts and pieces let us know, we are happy to help!

Ennco Display Systems | www.ennco.com | (425)883-1650

2018 Ennco’s Year in Review!

As we look back on 2018 all we can say is THANK YOU! Our clients, vendors, and staff have made this a wonderful year to remember!

We had the privilege of working with so many amazing clients to create spaces they LOVE. Every interaction helps us learn and grow as a company, from website orders to large scale architectural design projects like Lakeland Vision in Auburn, Wa (featured below).

Lakeland Vision Clinic

In the last year our product lines have expanded, and we are pleased to be offering more options for showcases as well as seating! Here is a quick view at some of the most popular product additions from this year!

Universal Sign Holder: Frame shaped mounting piece fits exactly like a frame, so it will work great with any frame display you already have that has the temples straight!
Universal Sign Holder_1000X1000 Ennco Universal Sign Holder_1000X1000 Universal Sign Holder Side View_1000X1000

 

 

 

Skinny Steel Rotary: Our most popular freestanding Knock-Down Rotary got a makeover! To create a more “modern” look we switched out our acrylic Cool Rods for the new Skinny Steel 10mm rods!

KD-SkinnySteelTriumph-AsianNight

 

 

 

 

 

 

Showcases: Freestanding displays are quickly becoming a staple in optical spaces and to keep up with the demand we added more showcases that are sure to please!

Ennco Optical Showcase Ennco Optical Showcase Ennco Optical Showcase

 

 


Seating
:
While we have always offered seating options to our design clients, we have expanded our online sales to include standard seating options for dispensing stools and task chairs! More to come in 2019 for waiting area and reception chairs!

Optical Dispensing Stool Optical Dispensing Stool Optical Dispensing Stool

 

 

 

 
Although this list is just a few of the new products we added this year, we are excited about the year ahead and the many new products we currently have in the pipeline!

Finally, this year would not have been possible without our wonderful staff! We always joke that it feels like we spend more time with each other than we do with our families, but with a team like this its like we are family! Thank you all for the love and support!
Staff2018

We are all looking forward to 2019 and can’t wait to see what it has in store for us! Cheers!

DIY or DI-saster?

It’s all in the details! How many times have you walked into a space and the lighting wasn’t quite right or the carpet was a crazy shade of orange that did not compliment the walls. Many times, clinics fall prey to the idea “we can do it ourselves” or “I can find that on my own for cheaper”. Sometimes the added stress and energy needed to “DIY” just doesn’t pay off. Our advice… find a company that can do it all for you while keeping you involved in the process step by step.

We have developed our Total Package Architectural Design with that idea in mind. We want you to be involved every step of the way, from finalizing the layout and flow of your space to picking the color and style of the lounge chair in your waiting room. Every client has a different expectation of the level of involvement they have in their clinic build out or remodel. We have worked with clients who work with us to pick out every detail, and we have clients who show us one picture and tell us to “run with it” to pick out each detail for them. We enjoy working with both types of clients…it makes our job fun!

Here is a brief snapshot of some of the services provided in our Total Package Architectural Design:

Total Package Blog_800W

We work with you to learn your likes and dislikes, then from there create a cohesive design plan for your entire space! In the process we provide you with an array of color samples, design layouts, and fixtures then you pick your favorites! You make all the final decisions and we take on all the work of sourcing the products and getting you the best possible price.

Avoid the mistake of trying to do it all yourself. You have enough going on in your daily business, trust this to the pros.

Utilizing the Underdog! | Countertop Eyewear Displays

We’ve been wanting to write this blog post for a while now, but somehow something always comes up that seems “more interesting” so this gets pushed to the back burner. It is comically fitting for the topic of this post to be countertop displays, because that is often how they are perceived (“less important”). Countertop displays are usually overlooked when designing a new space or thinking about the overall environment for an optical store design. They are the “underdog” of the display world and yet they are incredibly useful to create a versatile and easily changeable display in the ever-changing world of retail. Hence the topic of this post…utilizing the underdog!

As mentioned countertop displays are often overlooked, but they are a great point of purchase marketing machine that utilizes space that would otherwise be wasted! Although we could spend this entire post just sharing ideas of how to use countertop displays, we will only be mentioning a few as well as give you some ideas to think outside the box!

Utilization
Displaying frame lines, making a last-minute sale at the reception counter, or taking advantage of countertop space on a dispensing table…the possibilities are endless!

Changeability: As I am sure you have heard before it is important to change up your displays, and often! Patients do not want to see the same thing every time they come into your office. Countertop displays are very versatile, movable, and interchangeable making them the perfect display for something new and exciting!

Knockdown capabilities: Newer onto the countertop display scene is the idea of “knock-down” countertop displays. They create opportunities that standard displays would not. Opportunities like easy storage when you sell all your frame inventory or compactibility for travel to events like tradeshows or client meetings.

Utilization of lower shelves and counters: A common misconception is that lower shelves and counters are off limits for displaying frames, when that is simply not true! There are many styles of countertop displays that thrive in that environment. Displays like the Low Angler or Pediment showcase the frames in an upward angle, presenting the product to the patient with ease.

However, keep in mind that countertop space isn’t just for eyewear displays. Counters can also be a great place to strategically place a mirror or point of purchase sign with marketing materials.

Think outside the box!
Get creative, think outside the box, and accessorize with things you wouldn’t expect. For example,…fall is coming up so let’s create a display around that! Imagine this, you have a floating glass shelf system in your window and you utilize a countertop display to showcase the frames (something like the Tray Elegante) and you accessorize by placing fall leaves, pine cones, and a mini pumpkin next to the display. This creates a unique environment for the display that draws the customer’s eye to the frames.

Even in the exam room there is a use… where do your patients put their glasses during their eye exam? Do they just set them on your counter? If the answer is yes, then you have the perfect opportunity to place something simple (like a single ShowOff) in the room for them to set their glasses on during the appointment. Similarly, this same idea works for hairdressers, massage therapists, and many other service industry providers who require their patients or clients to remove their eyewear. Adding this simple “luxury” for your patients shows that you care about their experience and it sets you apart from all the rest!

Think about your resale possibilities! Where do your patients set their glasses at night when they go to sleep? 9 times out of 10 they set them on their night side table…just think about the potential for scratching, crushing, or simply misplacing them when they don’t have a “home”. An easy fix for this would be a small countertop display (like the Tray Elegante Single) sitting on their nightstand. Or if they have multiple pairs of glasses in different colors and a ton of different sunglasses, there are many options for bulk storage as well! Things like Tuxedo Trays to put into a dresser drawer, a SpecSaver or Seattle Slim to put into a closet, or even a countertop rotary for the patient who has a different pair of frames for every occasion. Instead of purchasing these displays from big box retailers where the varieties and styles are very limited, give your patients the opportunity to purchase them from you! You purchase them from us, then resell them to your patients…it’s a win win for everyone!

Countertop displays come in many different shapes and sizes, chances are you will be able to find the perfect combination to suit your needs as well as the needs of your patients! They are a small investment with a big impact!

Add Space by Investing in a Starter Media Fixture

We love being able to host guest writers on our blog and we are very pleased to share a post written for us by Bridget Gaddis owner and lead architect for Gaddis Architect.

Add Space by Investing in a Starter Media Fixture.
By: Bridget Gaddis (post can also be found on Gaddis Architect)

Helping Retailers Succeed – Most every year the Small Business Development Center, in my case locally in Virginia, puts on an event designed to help retailers succeed.  I usually attend.  This year’s event was The Alexandria Experiential Retail Summit, experiential being the operative word.  Most of the discussion centered around primary marketing and selling communications, which are important, but only indirectly relevant to the design of a physical store.

Demonstrating Knowledge – Interestingly, when we broke into discussion groups more significant design issues were revealed.  In particular the need for flex space.  Retailers are finding it necessary to become experts.  Clients expect them to be masters of their particular product or service and further customers prefer to see this knowledge demonstrated, to the extent that a retailer must often become an educator.  One such resort type fashion retailer wanted to offer a mini class on how a particular brand of scarf might be worn to best advantage.  She assumed that this was impossible as she was “out of space” in her shop.

Retailers Sometimes Need Reminding – Clearly retailers occasionally need reminding that almost all floor fixtures can be mobile and mobility frees up valuable retail space within a store.  Simply by adding casters and rolling away some regular floor fixtures this owner, hoping to demonstrate how to tie her line of scarves, could easily free up enough space to stage and event featuring her product.F3-feature-1Invest in a Starter – Another, not to be overlooked, design issue is flexibility.  Indeed, there is a need for a highly adaptive store fixture suitable for use in many varied sets of circumstances, including options for accommodating the all important media.  This one is able to accommodate everything from a continuous video in a loop, to presentation options used to enhance a demonstration, to a basic TV in a waiting area.  It has vertical standards that can be used for shelving, a platform base for a computer, if required, and a simple backdrop made of glass or other merchandise display material like pegboard.  In addition to all this it is two sided, mobile, and has space to hide most cables.  It is a great starter for any retailer wanting to incorporate media and create that WOW moment.

F3-feature-2

Bridget Gaddis, is a Licensed Architect and LEED Accredited Professionnal practicing nationally, and locally in the Washington DC area. She holds professional degrees in both Architecture and Interior Design and has a comprehensive background in commercial retail design, planning and construction.  She has many years experience working for well known architects, developers and retailers.  In 2011 she started Gaddis Architect an independent practice in Alexandria, VA.  In addition, Ms. Gaddis has an interest in residential projects and is the author of Real People Don’t Hire Architects,” a blog about houses.

Pro Tips: Lease Negotiations

Let us start this post by saying, if you already know how to negotiate a lease you are ahead of the game! Most of the time, when tenants are planning to enter into a lease agreement with their landlord they don’t know what should be “included”. Reason being… no two leases are the same! When reviewing leasing documents, make sure you thoroughly review and fully understand every aspect of the terms. Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know what you don’t know!

We suggest working with a leasing agent to make sure you are getting the most value out of your lease and that you are entering the best possible scenario for the new home of your business! On the same note, it is important to find a leasing agent you trust. They will be your “battle buddie” and should fight for you to get the best of the best in your lease agreement. Keep in mind, negotiating a lease for a new space (empty box) vs an existing space (remodel) is very different. For this post we will focus mainly on negotiating a lease for a new space that is being built from an empty shelf (or vanilla box as we call it).

With that in mind… we met with Dick Reed, owner of the successful SR Construction, to discuss what he has seen in the recent market regarding lease negotiations. We hope this post helps you understand where to start with lease negotiations.

Key Terms:
Furring: Typically a term for materials used in the construction of walls. Furring can be done with  wood, steel or other stud construction material. Furring is used to make space for insulation, or to level and resurface ceilings or walls.

Demising Wall(s): Are walls that separate a tenant’s suite from another tenant’s suite, or separate common areas in a building. Demising walls are typically found in retail strip center malls and commercial buildings with multiple tenants.

HVAC: Short for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. The system is used to provide heating and cooling services to buildings. HVAC refers to anything from the heating/cooling unit, ducting, controls and the electrical hookup of those services.

Here is an example of a BEST-CASE scenario lease agreement. In additional to including all the items below, the landlord gave these tenants additional funds to put towards their space improvement.

What was included in the lease:

  • All HVAC equipment (including electrical hookup) with distribution lines (ducting)
  • 200 amps of power to the space (wired into a panel)
  • All interior and exterior walls furred and insulated
  • All demising walls completed up to the roof
  • Finished drop ceiling
  • Fire sprinklers (above and below the drop ceiling). Most landlords will provide the sprinklers for above the drop ceiling but not below.
    • Estimated cost to put in sprinklers below a drop ceiling in a 2,000 square foot space is about $13,500 [roughly 15 sprinklers are needed at $900/each].
  • All Plumbing (including water heaters)
    • For spaces that are part of a larger building, you may have “house” water systems already.

Here is an example of what we call a “BARE BONES” lease agreement scenario. In this scenario, the tenant got a roof, bare walls, and a front door with a $40,000 tenant allowance.

What was included in the lease:

  • Empty conduit. The tenant was responsible for putting in a power box and wires, which typically costs around $10,000.
  • Drywall and furring on the demising walls (interior and exterior) were not included.
    • All the walls had to be insulated at the tenant’s expense, roughly $16,000.
  • No HVAC equipment. The tenant had to purchase and install- at their own expense, about $15,000.
  • Water line was available, however the tenant had to purchase a hot water heater as well as the hook ups which cost around $1,300.

As you can see these different lease scenarios are vastly different! This is why it is important to educate yourself on what goes into a lease negotiation, work with a leasing agent, understand your wants and needs, and make sure you know exactly what you are willing to take on before signing a lease.

Items not discussed in the lease scenarios above but are important things to note.

  • Typically, landlords do not include bathrooms in a new space build out, however you are required to have at lease 1 (and most of the time 2) bathrooms in a space.
    • You can confirm the number needed with the building department in your city, but in our experience most spaces over 1,500 square feet require at least 2, but this varies by how your business is categorized by the building department.
    • Adding in an ADA bathroom typically runs about $5,000.
  • Requesting time. Most of the time you can negotiate with the landlord to give you a few months of free rent. This extra time allows you to get into the space and make any changes you need, or in the case of a new space build out all the walls and install your fixtures and casework.
    • Every landlord is different, so use “free time” as a bargaining chip!
  • Tenant improvement funds. Some landlords will give their new tenants money that they can put towards improvements to the space. This is a great addition to a lease that you can negotiate and it allows you to discuss your vision for the space with the landlord.

For a remodel of an existing space, many of the key concepts are the same for items you will want included (HVAC, Plumbing, Etc…). You may not have to “fight” as hard to get them all included, since they will most likely be there already. However, you will want to do a full inspection and if any repairs are needed, try to work those into your lease negotiation. Make sure in your lease that it is very clear who (you vs the landlord) is responsible when systems fail or need an upgrade (i.e. water heater, air conditioner, etc…).

We wish you the best of luck in your lease negotiations, and when you are ready to talk about designing the space and filling it with fixtures give us a call!

Effective Space Planning | Part 3- Taking the Plunge for Your New Space

optical space design, eyewear displays, office remodel, optical office design

Effective Space Planning | Part 3- Taking the Plunge for Your New Space

Finally, we get to part 3 (of 3) in our Effective Space Planning blog series and it is time to “take the plunge” on final decisions and see your dream become a reality! In parts 1 and 2 we discussed laying the ground work for the pre-design and worked through the design process. Now we will help you through the final steps and share with you how to prepare your new space for patients!

Final Details and Production

Once your space design has been perfected to the exact look you want, your design team will compile a formal quote and approval drawings. Take your time to review all the documents they provide for you. They should include a list of your color selections, final dimensions of the fixtures, and a general layout of the space and how it will look. As we have mentioned multiple times, taking your time up front to review all information allows you to avoid costly mistakes and change orders in the future! Keep in mind, your design team should provide you with cost estimations for things outside of their scope. Things like shipping costs to move the products from their location to your new space, as well as sales tax. We include these charges in our formal quotes, but not all companies do so make sure you account for these additional fees.

After you have given your design team the green light and submitted your down payments to get the project into production it is time for you to relax! That doesn’t mean you get to completely check out, but your level of involvement on the day to day will decrease. You still need to be available for questions and we recommend you communicate with your contractor on a regular basis to stay informed on the progress of the build out. It is important to also note…things may change (and that’s ok). Delays are not uncommon at this point in the process, and often the delays are out of the hands of your design team and contractor. The city can delay projects (due to permitting) or materials can be backordered from suppliers, there are a myriad of things that can change timelines. Don’t get discouraged if this happens and know that your teams will do everything they can to make sure the project runs smoothly and on time!

Reaping the Benefits of Your New Space

Once your space has been built out and all the fixtures installed it’s time for you to put the finishing touches on! Prepare your space for frames and create the environment you want your customers to experience. A well done new or remodeled space can often lead to a 20% increase in your average selling price for eyewear, and great client experiences lead to success for your practice. Make sure to keep your frame displays organized and up to date; a clean, orderly, and well-arranged space is more conducive to sales. For our suggestions on how to set up your displays, check out Preparing Your Space for New FramesFollow the Leader? Trends in the Industry, and The Sales Magic of Display.

We also recommend having a grand opening (or reopening) to bring your community and patients together. Events like these are a great way to create a connection with your patients that extend beyond the exam room. Your patients will appreciate the time to mingle with other patients and see your new office!

Beyond Your Finished Space

Once the build out/remodel is done it is important that you do not become complacent. It is vital that you stay up to date on your promotional materials and feature walls. Mixing things up and keeping your displays fresh will ensure your patients continue to be impressed and inspired when they visit your office.

We hope our Effective Space Planning blog series has helped you feel more confident in your upcoming (or potential) design project! We are happy to answer any questions you may have and welcome you to reach out to us!

Effective Optical Space Planning | Part 2- Realizing Your Vision

optical space design, eyewear displays, office remodel, optical office designPart 2 | Realizing Your Vision

In Part 1 (Laying the Groundwork and Setting Pre-Design Expectations) we discussed finding your dream team, creating a budget, and developing a realistic timeline to ensure your project is set up for success. In Part 2 we will be discussing the design process, realizing your vision for the space, and next steps.

Finding YOUR space!
Picking the right space for your business is a key component of being successful! Do your research when considering certain spaces or cities. Location is key…think about finding a space where you can bring in new clients, satisfy already established clients, and grow your business (even if that isn’t in your plans- you never know where the future may take you).

We recommend contacting local organizations in the cities you are considering, like City Hall or Chamber of Commerce. Organizations like these can provide you with answers to questions you have about the city, as well as share with you current listings of locations for rent/sale. It can also be a great opportunity to establish a relationship with key contacts at the city. We had a client who followed our advice and built a relationship with the Business Development group in their city, and through the relationship was able to avoid delays when issues arose in the permitting process for an existing space they were renovating.

Realizing YOUR Vision!
Once you have selected a space the real work begins. This is when you will begin working with your DREAM TEAM! As mentioned in Part 1 it is very important to pick a team you feel confident in! It is their job to help you develop your vision for the space.

Starting the design process with brainstorming sessions and “pinning” is very important. Scrolling through images of spaces you like and don’t like will help you realize the look and feel you want to create for your business. Create boards on websites like Pinterest with all your ideas! If you don’t have Pinterest, no worries! Do a quick google search for “Optical Space Design” and see what pops up! Once you find a few spaces you like, take screenshots and show your design team! At this point in the design process no idea is a “bad idea”, the more ideas the better as it will help you narrow down exactly what it is you are looking for.

After you have thoroughly browsed for ideas, the next step is to get picky and narrow down what you want for your space- this is the time to get serious. Think about things like theft deterrence (do you need it?), the amount of storage you would like to have, how many frames you want to display, etc. Thinking about these things ahead of time will save you time and money as you narrow down the design.

Developing YOUR Space
Optometry has changed in many ways over the last few years and perhaps the most important consideration to be given when designing a layout is the list of rooms you need to establish efficient process and business flow. Ask yourself things like… “How many exam lanes do I need?”, “Do I need to make special provisions for equipment?”, “How big of a break room does my staff need?”.
[Not sure which questions to ask? Check out our Design Survey for a few ideas!] Thinking about these things before you start the layout process will help you establish a general process flow that your design team can expand on. A well thought out professional space can eliminate the need to move later if sales volumes increase beyond initial expectations.

Once you have a general space layout, think about the dispensary (“sales”) environment you want to create. Keep in mind…a clean, neat, and well-arranged space is more conducive to sales. Do not try to overwhelm the space with too many frames. We could go on and on with advice on how to display frames, but for the sake of this post we will just include links to some of our other blog posts on the subject.
Preparing Your Space for New Frames
Follow the Leader? Trends in the Industry!
The Sales Magic of Display
Answers to you FAQS
Your New Office

Your design team should meet with you to evaluate your business needs then help you decide what the most efficient flow and design for the space will be.

Drawings, Permits, and Building
After the layout has been developed and your design direction has been solidified it is time for the project to begin “on paper”. Your design team will work with you to develop drawings of the space and you will begin to see your vision become a reality. But you aren’t done just yet…next you will need to satisfy the requirements of the municipality in which you are located and the building landlord’s conditions. Requirements often include building permits, which involve an architect’s stamp and submittal to the city. Not all projects need permits. Prior to beginning your design project, it is important to check with your landlord and/or contractor to see what all is required.

Take a deep breath and don’t forget it’s about YOU!
This all can seem a bit overwhelming…rely on your dream team- they will walk you through all the necessary steps to make sure your project is a success. As a design client it is easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. All this hard work will pay off in the end; you are opening a business/or remodeling an existing space and that is exciting! Don’t forget in the hustle and bustle of it all, this really is about you. Your design team is there to help you, the contractor is there to build the space for you, the owner of the business is you.
– Be involved. It is important that you are very involved from the get-go. It may seem like a lot of time and energy up front, but it will pay off in the end.
– Think about your budget. Be realistic, know your budget and stick to it! The team you work with should work within your budget to get you the look you want without compromising the budget you have set. There are many ways to make designs more cost effective.
— Get non-locking rods vs. locking rods
— Utilize panel layering– instead of a laminate panel with an added acrylic panel and frame supports just do an acrylic panel with frame supports, or perhaps just a laminate panel with frame supports.
— Color selection/materials– choosing a “standard” color or a less expensive material can help with overall costs and often the change isn’t even noticeable!
– Take your time. Taking extra time up front and not rushing through the steps can save you countless dollars once you start building. (Your New Office).
– Stay organized. You don’t want to be the reason your project gets behind schedule. Make sure you set aside time to review drawings or communications from your design team and contractor. This is a very important part of the design process to ensure the team is building the exact space you want.

Check back in for Part 3 to learn about taking the plunge and preparing your space for business!