Retail stores – both big box and inline – typically experience a constant ebb and flow of customers seeking the latest trends, gathering household essentials, or stocking up for the season ahead. As retailers look to renovate their stores, the thought of closing their doors for even a few short weeks can be daunting. Enter open store remodels.
Renovations to an occupied space are an effective way to maximize store revenue throughout the construction process. But while this method sidesteps reduced sales, it’s not infallible. That’s why it’s important to hire a construction manager with experience in open store remodels. We’ve scoured our project archives, interviewed in-house occupied renovation experts, and put together a guide for seamlessly navigating your next open store remodel.
The Night Shift
Completing an open remodel of any retail store is very challenging. Construction teams are often tasked with limited working hours, most often during nights, as not to disrupt customers. When the last customer leaves the store or mall, construction begins.
In short, the daily process goes as such:
- Store closes for the day.
- Retail store staff clears all merchandise from the area being renovated.
- Construction team arrives onsite and enters the retail space.
- Construction work commences.
- Construction work completes.
- Store is cleaned.
- Sales floor is remerchandised by retail store staff.
- Store reopens to the public.
- Repeat steps 1-8 until construction completion.
With each step comes a great level of planning and detail.
Beginning with de-merchandising your store, coordinate with your construction partner and staff to ensure a proper plan is in place. Whether you sell children’s toys or designer handbags, it’s recommended that your staff de-merchandise and re-merchandise your space each day as they likely already know how to properly handle your products. No matter the selling price of the goods, damage to merchandise can be detrimental to renovation budgets.
As trades move in and out of your space, constant communication between them and your staff will ensure your merchandise remains protected. Ask your construction partner how they will keep you and your team in-the-know regarding the schedule and phasing. Even the simple task of painting ceilings requires plastic coverings to protect items from paint, dust, fingerprints, or all the aforementioned.
After construction is complete for the night, the team must ensure the space is clean before the store or mall reopens. Proper reassembly of a store requires planning and fine attention to detail to avoid any surprises in the morning. Ask your construction partner how they will work with your staff to keep your store’s floorplan intact.
Who Ya Gonna Call?
Perhaps the most important step for off-hours renovations is ensuring your construction partner is planning for unforeseen issues. Even the most seasoned open store remodel expert can’t predict a middle-of-the-night water main break or accidental damage.
Ask for a list of their contacts and ensure they know who to call at night, including the landlord representative, security guards, fire alarm and fire protection vendors, and so on. Are they prepared for the unexpected? Ask them to locate and label items such as the water main valve, fire sprinkler shutdown valve, fire sprinkler inspection drain, and the like. Is the team disabling or bagging smoke alarms during construction hours? Have they coordinated access to electrical and mechanical rooms? What if an adjacent store is affected? Who will they call? It’s important all this information is gathered before it’s needed.
Communicate, Plan, Repeat
A lack of communication and proper planning is a surefire way to derail your open store remodel. While these skills are essential to the success of any project, occupied renovations require a heightened sense of these jobsite basics. Ask your construction partner to put together a logistics plan coordinating material deliveries, a phasing plan to identify where teams will be working and when, and a schedule detailing trade partner work, nightly store cleanings, and inspections. Once these items are nailed down, they should be communicated to all parties involved, from the store manager and landlord to the trade partners and project team. Don’t hesitate to require weekly (or more) meetings with the owner, architect, and construction management teams to ensure alignment at every phase. Ask your construction partner what processes are in place to ensure your customers will never suspect a construction project is happening behind the scenes.
Construction firms with experience building open store remodels will be the most qualified for your project. While many construction firms have this experience, selecting a general contractor or construction manager comes down to identifying the best partner for you.
The bottom line comes down to trust and risk: maximizing the former and minimizing the latter. When taking on an open store remodel, working with a trusted and respected national construction partner with experience in this type of work is the best way to achieve your goals. With a strong relationship and undeniable trust in your partner, the project will undoubtedly be a success.
Contact Ron Henry, senior vice president, at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how Sachse Construction can help you maximize the return on your occupied renovation.
About Sachse Construction
Sachse Construction was founded in 1991 as a general contracting and construction management firm. Over the past 29 years, Sachse Construction has built millions of square feet of retail, commercial, multifamily, and institutional space throughout the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Licensed in all 50 states, Canada, and Puerto Rico, the team has completed over 2,000 retail projects and served over 200 brands.