Working with What You’ve Got: Albert Heijn

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A phrase often used is ‘the store’s the star’ and all too frequently, this proves to be only partially the case. Yet sometimes retailers really do manage to take an amazing building and work with it sympathetically, to the benefit both of the structure and the offer that is on display.

The new Albert Heijn store in Ghent (there are several) is a case in point. This is, effectively, a convenience store with ambient food in the middle, beneath a window-lined atrium and a series of display modules, from cheese to charcuterie, around the perimeter. All of which might cause the shopper to suppress a yawn, were it not for the building itself, which is an Arts & Crafts affair and one that somehow seems to perfectly complement the offer.

This is no accident and the Dutch grocer has worked hard to turn what might have been a respectable, but a little mundane, format into something that causes the shopper to pause and take a look around.

Make the best of what you already have. Sometimes it may be better than total reinvention.