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Bret Ain't Scared of the Internet

Seattle Retail

Sure, Amazon has drones, but Seattle-based Callison principal Bret Wiggins, who specializes in retail design, tells us bricks-and-mortar is as vital as it ever was. Bret will be speaking at our Seattle Construction & Development Summit at the Four Seasons Seattle on Feb. 27 (sign up today).


There’s been large online retail sales growth over the last few years, Bret says, but the convenience of Internet shopping can’t replace the actual experience of trying on a pair of shoes, a new dress, or checking out a new mobile device. “The interior store design, as well as the common-area storefront, is important to making the shopping experience memorable and ultimately profitable for the retailers,” he says. Everything from the lighting to the overall palette of materials has to convey a sense of quality and brand identity.


Using the hospitality industry as a guide, Bret says Callison likes to introduce seating groups to encourage customer convenience and length of stay. (Does this mean we won't have to pretend to try on clothes just so we can sit in the dressing room?) The firm also uses “clustering.” For instance, a collection of upscale brands that creates a luxury destination in a mall is a proven strategy. Retail is integral to Callison's design for the 46-acre The Landing, the revitalized town center of Renton. The former Boeing site has retail anchors and specialty tenants, 1,000 residential units, a multi-screen cinema, and a blend of national and local restaurants. 


Bret adds that it’s also proven effective for food and beverage tenants to create a strong grouping of restaurants close to one another. “This creates a see-and-be-seen environment and makes the whole experience more enjoyable,” he says. Snapped: Kid’s Cavern, a Callison-designed candy shop that opened about a year ago in Macau (we wouldn’t mind being seen there).

Related Topics: The Landing