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Workshop Provides Storefront and Merchandising Ideas for Downtown Businesses

Gig Harbor, WA - The Gig Harbor Downtown Waterfront Alliance recently engaged Seanette Corkill of FrontDoor Back, to show downtown waterfront building and business owners how, with relatively simple and inexpensive adjustments, they could improve their store front appearance, don a more inviting visage and invite their customers to enter and engage.

FrontDoor Back is a visual merchandising consultancy that works with businesses to create engaging retail storefronts. Corkill’s tactics build upon existing business strengths, using a seven-part system to highlight how building architecture and retail branding work together. Over fifty people attended the workshop on day one of her 3-day visit, hearing ways to increase awareness about the physical assets and presentation standards needed to maintain, enhance and acquire attractive and profitable businesses. The consultant provided tools and ideas to property owners, merchants and restaurateurs to improve results in:

• Signage • Window Displays
• Entrances • Store Layout
• Lighting • Fixture Placement
• Color • Customer Circulation
• Awnings • Atmosphere

Day two included one-on-one consultations with The Beach Basket, Gig Harbor Fly Shop, Tradewinds Treasure Gallery, The Weathered Cottage, Full Moon Art Gallery, Ship to Shore, and Sophie's Touch. Each business visited was energized and challenged to make some changes. Blake Merwin, Gig Harbor Fly Shop shared, "It was awesome! Thanks so much for helping organize this. We got a ton out of yesterday and already started to make changes yesterday afternoon... It would be awesome to have her back every year." Stacie Hannah of The Weathered Cottage commented, " Thank you so much for yesterday! I can't tell you how much I appreciated it! We were really motivated, energized and inspired! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

For the day three "mini makeover" on day three, Corkill selected local pet supply store, Sophie's Touch. She spent hours with owners Trena Page and Deloree Burd planning, sketching, and rearranging. Be sure to stop by and see phase 1 one of their new look! Trena commented, "Wow.... thank you so much for your hard work with our ongoing "extreme makeover." We are so grateful and excited to be a part of Seanette's workshop and to be the recipient of her hands on consulting. We will keep you posted on our journey...many things to come."

Corkill was excited about the participation of so many merchants. "The Waterfront Alliance successfully drew the largest crowd to date of all the sessions (9) I've conducted over the last 3 years in Oregon and Washington. Following the Storefront Studio Project with the University of Washington this past summer and developing a district brand, the content in The Essentials of Effective Storefronts was a natural next course on your district's menu. Hopefully everyone is more aware of the importance of each owners' role in developing and maintaining a viable and attractive district. Effective signage and lighting are the top two areas that each store owner should strive to improve going forward."

She went on to say, "The 7 retailers I met with were all incredibly eager for and receptive to input on all aspects of their visual standards (including store visibility issues). It's a generous and strategic step that the Alliance took to invest in their members' ongoing professional development with a seminar, but especially for the 7 businesses who received evaluations. They each received specific action steps that they could take action on and I hope that they do. That's the best part about what I do - I get to hear people's stories and figure out ways to help them tell their own story better."

This workshop, sponsored in part by Brett Marlo Designs, was the first of a series of merchant training offerings the Alliance will be presenting in 2014.


Mary DesMarais – Executive Director
Gig Harbor Downtown Waterfront Alliance