Shoprite, unlike Walmart, Ikea, and Home Depot, is not immediately associated with the concept of “big box store”. But the Shoprite planned for Wyckoff, at over 60,000 square feet, falls into that category and has many residents concerned over the exterior architectural design.
Most supermarkets follow trends in marketing which determine how the interior of the store is designed. Fruits & vegetables are usually near an entrance, while milk and other staples are usually in the back to optimize a shopper’s time spent in the store. This is helps to encourage the well known impulse buy as people need to pass numerous other items.
The outside of the box stores is what has many communities, including Wyckoff, paying closer attention to the facades of big box stores. Plans for the Shoprite in Wyckoff have been presented publicly twice, and will be presented again prior to going to the Planning Board. The accompanying photograph above represents examples of two different styles.
The supermarket’s architects have added dormers and a corner tower to soften lines of the traditional design, but it is still dramatically different than the brick style. This style, which was used for the Lodi Shoprite, is being promoted by some residents who feel it fits in better with Wyckoff’s historic nature.
Many stores who routinely fall into the big box category have been working to appease communities who are apprehensive about the typical big box design not fitting into community standards. Several years ago Walmart instituted its “Store of the Community” concept which has developed different designs for communities like North Miami Beach .
Lowe’s hardware in Charlotte, NC worked with city planners to incorporate the mega store into the master plan with more curbside appeal than most Lowe’s outlets. “It’s not just a big gray box,” said David Walters, an architect, urban planner and local resident. “It sets a precedent that developers and town planners can use, and it helps raise expectations in other communities.”
The accompanying video offers a view from across the pond in Great Britain where similar concerns over big box architecture is a concern to many residents living in villages with architecture traditional to their culture.