Creating a shopping experience from start to finish

Butler, Rosenbury & Partners Inc. of Springfield, Mo., is a design firm offering services in architecture, structural engineering, interior design, planning/development, and landscape architecture. BR&P's team of more than 60 professionals provides innovative design solutions to a wide variety of clients.

Today's retailers must offer a shopping experience arising from a combination of the physical environment, the interaction between associates and customers, and merchandise displays. Doing this requires much more than a set of plans. It requires a careful look at the stage to be set and the project's underlying purpose. Carrying that purpose through the entire process of design, budget, documentation and construction is a challenging, free-flowing task.

BR&P is known for the kind of high-level service required of design firms working on such complicated, fast-track projects “We give our clients the kind of intimacy and accountability normally found in small firms with the resources and expertise normally found in a large firm,” notes Bruce Adib-Yazdi, AIA, architect and principal. An example of this is the Crossroads project, a historic replication of an early 19th Century village that includes retail and craft-making facilities such as a Candle Shop, Blacksmith Shop, Grist Mill, and General store. The 30-acre project with nine buildings built around a central theme will serve as a tourist attraction at Stone Mountain Park outside Atlanta.

BR&P and developer/manager Silver Dollar City of Branson, Mo., face the challenge of building this major project without disturbing the natural environment. “Instead of going in there and just stripping the land, we're working with the site's variety of grades and topography,” says Michael Harned, architect and principal. “And by using an existing parking lot as part of the site, we are actually improving the environment.”

The 23-year-old firm is no stranger to such challenges. Take it's work with Bass Pro Shops. The Springfield-based outdoor retailer has used BR&P for years on its elaborate and creative stores. “Generally we function as an architect, project manager and coordinator for the many disciplines and consultants Bass Pro Shops typically has on a project,” notes Adib-Yazdi.

A recent Bass Pro Shops project that BR&P was involved with was a former two-level, 140,000-sq.-ft. Parisian department store at the Forest Fair Mall in Forest Park, Ohio. The project's main challenge was transforming a department store interior into one of Bass Pro Shops' famous rustic environments, while minimizing construction costs and maintaining the design intent. The store has become a catalyst for reenergizing the mall.

“Ultimately,” says Adib-Yazdi, “it's not just about doing the drawings. At the heart of every project, there are people — clients, their customers and the project team. And it's up to us to help manage them, their ideas, and their expectations to end up with a project that will excite everyone. For us, that's what defines a successful project.”