(We just wrapped up two local projects that were pretty interesting. I need to get some better photos but for now I’ll share what I’ve got. Here is the write up for the first one. These are both for independent retailers. If that sounds like you, and you would like some help with your next retail design project, visit us at www.chrisweiganddesign.com or send me an email at email@example.com to talk about what you’ve got going on. We’d love to help.
The installed cash wrap awaiting register, pastries and customers.
Open Door Coffee Company
Open Door is a new coffee shop, whose doors opened for a preview night this past Saturday in Hudson, Ohio. The cafe “opens the door” for customers to enjoy fair trade coffee, tasty pastries, even live music and poetry readings.
We met with the owners as they were mid way into refurbishing what was once an old neighborhood drug store. The building is over a hundred years old. It’s a perfect corner spot for a coffee shop. Right in the center of the interior space stands an old marble soda bar. The bar colors, pink and dark green, are difficult to work with, but regardless it’s a great feature that brings back fond memories to local residents who grew up sitting at that bar ordering sodas on warm summer days.
Adjacent to the bar we were tasked with designing and building a cash-wrap with storage below and a partition for pastry display. Budget was a major concern. As with any new shop, funds are spread thin, but cash wrap is a necessity. We could make something from the ground up, but was there a way to offset some of the cost?
The answer was found in the basement, but not necessary where we stared looking. The owners mentioned an old granite top in the basement – so we took a look. Our thought was it could save us the expense of fabricating a laminate top. Turns out the granite color was worse than the bar marble, or at least the combo together would have been awful.
While we were down there though the owners mentioned an old pharmacy cabinet in the next room. Maybe that could help save some money.
Turns out the cabinet dimensions, 25″ deep x 80″ long x 34″ tall, were perfect. The hefty frame would be a great skeleton for mounting a new counter top to. And you can’t buy the charm you get with reusing an old piece of furniture. In fact several old merchant pieces already found a home upstairs in the cafe.
We got the okay from the landlord to repurpose the unit. We were excited at the find and excited to be giving a second life to the unit, which likely dated from half a century ago.
The plan was simple: install a new laminate top, and attach an old door to the front face. The owners had several doors that were salvaged from local farm houses that we could use. The patina on the one we chose for the cash wrap was a light green, with cracking that you couldn’t replicate if you tried. A few days later the doors and cabinet were loaded up and on their way to our shop.
For the counter we selected Wilsonart 7922 Brighton Walnut. It’s color and grain was a perfect match for the existing century old wood work in the store. The cabinet had a few subtle trim details that we were able to retain. The old door fit perfectly between trim and cabinet. We cut a second door to wrap the one corner and installed a shelf inside. During construction the glass bypass doors were discovered, as well as additional shelves, so that help offset costs as well. Installing the counter brought our finished height up to 36″, which kept us within ADA guidelines.
A low “fence” surround was fabricated for the register; made simply of 3/4″ boards wrapped in laminate. We installed a tempered glass sneeze guard around the area that pastries would be displayed. As of this writing, we’re waiting on one more piece of glass for the sneeze guard: we decided to cover all three sides instead of just two. Adjacent to the wrap will be a custom display case that will be lower than we originally planned. Thus the additional sneeze guard.
Everyone seems very pleased with the results. It was an awesome opportunity to help a new independent retailer open shop. And it goes without saying repurposing furniture that has a history is very rewarding from a spiritual standpoint, not to mention environmental and financial standpoints as well.
The finished wrap helps convey the Open Door Coffee Company brand, and lends a degree of authenticity you just don’t get from mass-produced displays.
Do stop by for a cup of coffee, delicious pastry, and start making your very own memories.
A drawing that is typical of what we use when designing and fabricating a custom piece for a retail store.
The unit was not light. It took three of us to lift it off the trailer and through the front door.