Behind the creative effort that is apparent in the displays, finishes, lighting, signage and decorative accessories in a newly redesigned store is the hard work and systematic progression of tasks that lead from concept to completion. By controlling the process with detailed planning and a communications loop to all entities that comprise the building team, a foundation exists for sales-generating retailing with a fresh targeted personality.

That is the advice of store planners, designers and contractors polled by INStore. Here are some of the "Do's and Don'ts of Successful Redesign," contributed by Michael Stevenson, president of AAD, Scottsdale, Ariz.; Robert Young, CEO of Robert Young Associates, Dallas and San Francisco; and Michael Ratner, president of Richter & Ratner Contracting Co., Maspeth, N.Y.

All agree that getting people to plan is difficult but critically important to a project that meets its timetable and budgetary parameters.

Redesign Do's * Do take advantage of the existing facility as a learning tool by visiting the location together; * Validate expectations for the project against the real world. For particularly tricky estimates, hire an estimating specialist; * Schedule periodic meetings where designers, contractors, management representatives, regional store managers, etc. can give feedback; and * Save costs by buying long-lead items at the start of the project.

Redesign Don'ts * Don't overdesign. The merchandise always must show through the store's environment. Take a step back and perceive it through a shopper's eyes; * Avoid situations where the contractor, owner and designer are working at cross purposes. Resolve any conflicts of interest promptly; * Don't be surprised. Integrate current codes and implications of Building Department constraints from the outset to minimize redesign fees. Expect the unexpected and allow for a safe contingency; and * Don't stray from the agreed-upon scope of work.

INStore has selected three projects where the end product is the result of clearly defining the redesign's objective and organizing a close client/designer/builder team.

Vilma Barr is a New York-based freelance writer specializing in the retail market.