One of the more unique entries in this year’s competition was the renovation of the Cleveland Cavaliers Team Shop located at the NBA franchise’s arena. It is not the typical sort of project submitted. But our judges could not deny the scope of improvement achieved by Herschmann Architects’ scheme. It dramatically decluttered and brightened the space and found a way to activate a second level underused in the original store. It also better organizes the merchandise, improving the customer experience.
With the success of the Cavaliers prior to 2010-2011, merchandise selection, sales volume, and in-game occupancy had far outgrown the capacity of the old team shop which had not been substantially renovated since the arena opened in the fall of 1994. The result was a difficult to shop, over-merchandised, uncomfortable, and disorganized retail environment even during low-occupancy non-event hours. On event days, the space became nearly impossible to shop with long lines forming outside the space for entry as well as inside at the registers. Furthermore, team ownership felt that the store, as a flagship location for Cavaliers merchandise, no longer supported the strategic goal of the organization to provide a fan experience that is “second to none.”
Prior to renovation, the non-game/daytime entrance was inside next to the ticketing lobby, and the game-day ingress was through two six-foot wide door pairs in a glass and aluminum storefront at the concourse.
With a final project budget of approximately $3.5 million, the objective was to maximize impact. “Create a positive fan experience.” was the sole objective of the project as defined by the client.
Design intentions to achieve that objective were as follows:
- Reduce or eliminate game-day lines that formed outside the shop in the main concourse, and inside the shop at the main cashwrap during the high-traffic game days.
- Organize the space and merchandise into easily identifiable and accessible departments.
- Create a more intimate and modern retail environment with appropriate lighting, flexible displays, and improved circulation aisles.
With space at a premium, the only feasible way to substantially increase floor area and access to perimeter walls was to insert a second floor into the two-story volume of the existing space. While the upper level of two-story specialty retail shops typically (and notoriously) under-perform, the design team determined that there was no other way to properly display the extensive lines of merchandise that populated the shop.
To mitigate the lack of visibility that is typically detrimental to second level retail, Herschmann carved a large elliptical opening into the upper level to improve sight lines between levels and make a subtle reference to the arena bowl. A custom-designed faceted glass and stainless steel guardrail wraps the opening angled at 10 degrees off vertical, reflects images and scores from the scoreboard. The elliptical shape also maximized circulation space at the upper level while still permitting ample space for floor displays at the perimeter.
A new sliding glass storefront at the concourse entrance vastly improves visibility and circulation into and out of the space on game day. While the design still integrates a centralized main cashwrap, it is tucked away into the main stair cove to keep the line from impeding circulation paths on the sales floor.
To further mitigate queuing and expedite transactions, the design team proposed the implementation of hand-held point-of-sale technology in combination with small informal “satellite” POS stations spread throughout the store, allowing for sales transactions to occur anywhere. A secondary entrance at the upper shop level provides both emergency egress and direct access to the Loge and Upper Concourse Levels on game days, further facilitating access to the shop from the upper concourses of the arena.
A new two-story structural glass storefront with main entry and custom signage now beckons to passers-by. Permanent stretch fabric displays flanking the entrance and above the canopy allow for both seasonal and year-to-year marketing, branding and identity flexibility.
Taking advantage of access to the two stories of exterior wall for natural light greatly reduces the need for artificial illumination during daytime hours. LED luminaires at the lower level and track fixtures at the upper level are the primary sources of illumination on the floor, representing a 75 percent reduction in illumination wattage from incandescent lamps with identical performance characteristics. At the perimeter of the shop, a mixture of indirect fluorescent and low-voltage halogen permit the lighting to be “tuned” to the products displayed in each department.
Cleveland Cavaliers Team Shop
Cavaliers Operating Co. LLC
Jack Duffy & Associates
Acrylic Wall Panels
Stainless Steel Mosaic