We take an entrepreneurial view of design.  We love the idea of long term relationships and always think in terms of partnership.  If our clients succeed we succeed.


Services are provided according to a process of collaboration between all primary parties.  Goals, tasks, and desired outcomes are organized around client approved parameters.


We are design advocates for our clients best interests, mentoring them through what can be a daunting process, happening in an area outside of their normal business practice



Gaddis Architect specializes in all phases of retail design, design management and construction. If maximizing the success of your business by optimizing the performance of your store, or commercial space design is a goal, then attending the following “Insights” could provide some very real benefits. Many common, and some not so common, design challenges are analyzed. Solutions aimed at increasing retail traffic, creating visual presence in various environments, and expressing not only a particular shopping experience but also the business’s brand, are presented. We think that all design is, on some level at least, retail design.  Please scroll on, start a dialogue, contact us anytime.

“Bricks n Mortar:” A Cog in the Wheel of a “Buy Anywhere” Paradigm

Does all this mean that Dick’s should install a bowling alley in their store?

Okay, maybe that is a bit much, but one must admit that a steady stream of league bowlers would go a long way toward increasing traffic, neither would it be bad for business.

It is that time of year again.  Marketing guru’s are expected to predict the future and tell us all about the hottest trends for the new year.  Not to be left out, I attended ” Marketing Trends & Predictions for 2018,” our local event, and for sure, anticipation abounded;  almost all of it having to do with serious internet marketing, and leading me to ask how might “bricks n mortar” retail be directly impacted?  My first inclination is to say, “not at all!”  That is until I stretch my thinking toward a broader impression and admit that, for existing and future owners of physical stores, the entire discussion is about “bricks n mortar.”

Seen from this angle, all of the complex online marketing campaigns and related in store technologies are implemented with the goal of enticing a customer to move out of his or her house and into a particular shop.  What he does when he arrives, the experience, has been a store planning topic, including the integration of technology, often dealt with here and elsewhere.

New is the perception that the actual built retail store is only a cog in the wheel of a “buy anywhere” paradigm.  It seems we are living with a new retail reality.  Joe Pinsker writing about Urban Outfitter’s venture into the world of pizza, quotes Marc Vetri, the pizza chains founder who says, “…if you want to eat at the hot new restaurant, you have to leave your living room…you have to venture out.”   Pinsker continues, saying that, “this is exactly the thinking that more retailers should be experimenting with.”  He goes on to cite Oliver Chen, another retail visionary with Cownen & Company, who asks what consumers want to do, and how retailers can “solve into that experience.”

“Solve into that experience!” it is an important statement, maybe even cutting edge. It changes the basic character of retail.  In light of this discussion, I thought that it would be fun to start a list of activities that might normally require a person to leave home if they wish to participate.  This means, if a retailer has one of these going on, there is a good possibility of meeting up with a living breathing customer. So without further ado let’s try a few:

  • Having one’s hair and nails done
  • Getting a massage
  • Taking a yoga class
  • Eating & Drinking
  • Bowling
  • Testing a fragrance
  • Ice & Roller Skating
  • Playing Sports
  • Swimming
  • Taking a dance or any class
  • Giving a party
  • Attending an entertainment event
  • Traveling and touring
  • Meet ups and networking

As you can see, once started, the list tends to go on and on.  The key to this experiment is to put the activity first, to make it the destination.  This is not always easy, especially for an existing retailer.  I would also think that it can lead to completely unexpected business opportunities.  However a retailer chooses to identify the ways that their particular product line might be merged into any number of experiences is, of course, up to them.  Once done, though, we are here to help implement those “bricks n mortar” changes that are so important to increase traffic, and contribute to the success of a retail businesses.

ReTuna but not a fish: Can recycled stuff impact “nuts & bolts retail?”

Would you like to shop in a mall that sold only recycled merchandise?  Of course you would!  I know that I would.  Well someone in Sweden has built such a place.  It is called ReTuna Återbruksgalleria  (ReTuna Recycling Gallery after the name of the town).  It is billed as the “Worlds First recycling mall,” and I find the idea exciting, especially at a time when US retail businesses are suffering under pressure from online offerings and over priced white elephant real estate, which prompts me, and no doubt many others, to ask, what might be some pros and cons of developing such a project in the US?

 First a bit of qualification is required, meaning I am not about discussing here all of the many and obvious benefits of recycling which has already been done elsewhere and better.  The exception is to note that there is a whole new lexicon of terms to watch for. Words like “up-cycled, re-purposed, waste stream, embodied energy, circular, or closed loop economy,” may all indicate a “cultural shift” towards a public/private business model.  How much of each is a question not much discussed in reference to the Swedish project.  Certainly local public garbage disposal is a big factor in their equation.

MY question here, bringing me back to the a fore mentioned pros and cons, is would it work in a completely private local US market?  On the pro side; it is not difficult to find many retailers already in the recycling business, neither are service companies refurbishing used products unavailable, nor are vacant shopping centers.  Also, it may be that this market is more insulated from online competition than mainstream resellers.  Certainly, unrepeatable recycled merchandise appeals on many levels to wide and varied market.  It would therefore appear that potentially successful tenants already exist, should some astute real estate owner decide to advance such a project.

Of course the con side of the discussion involves all of the business planning and costs involved in launching such a project.  Further, and perhaps the most difficult hurdle to overcome, involves forcing a shift in the current “Thrift Store” perception assigned to anything not quite new.  It is were we, as architects and store designers, can greatly impact the success of a project, first by understanding and even participating in a clients marketing plan, and then by delivering an exciting and cohesive renovation design to actualize it.  It is what we do!

Architecture? Storefront Display? Graphic Design? Signage Design? All of the Above!

Client’s Visions – Clients often call me because they see something suggestive in the portfolio on this site and want to create a similar look or physical presence for their own businesses. They may entertain visions of compelling displays that increase awareness and transform window shoppers into customers, or perhaps it is about creating and reinforcing an organization’s image, idea, point of view, or brand.

Design is a Process – Whatever the motivation, few would dispute that successful design is part and parcel of equally successful marketing campaigns evolving from resources and collaborations requiring lots of man hours.  Design is a process which is always, at least on some level, retail.

Not a Commodity – Yet the business environment, including the traditional “fee for service”  world in which most of us work, leads many to conclude that design is a commodity, something to be ordered from a price list.  It forces an architect to quantify a client’s vision for a project into a competitive proposal before any serious work is done towards understanding that vision.  It can be limiting and is often fraught with undefined expectations.  It is not a model that works very well in a collaborative environment.  Nevertheless, it always determines if and how a project moves forward.

Reconciliation – Overcoming this disparity has been a longtime goal of these “Insights.”  Consider this:  if I tell a client that the fee for architectural services on a project will be a fixed amount, he may want to negotiate some concession, etc., but in general he feels secure and accepts the fee.  If, on the other hand, I tell this client that the fee will not exceed a certain amount, he/she is thrown into a state of indecision and becomes unsure about how to proceed.  Ask your self why?  What makes a client back away, sometimes even leaving off an entire project?

Expressing a Vision – The answer is surprisingly simple.  Both models require and deliver basically the same thing, that being a new design in which the client has participated.  The difference is that, with the “not to exceed” fee for service model, the client is made aware that he is an active participant in the design process and as such has the ability, by effective communication, to affect not only the outcome, but also its final cost.  This places some responsibility for a successful project squarely in the lap of the one who launched it.  It also increases the chances of success.  After all, are not we, as architects and designers, facilitators, charged with expressing a clients vision?

Demonstrating the Process – The concept images shown above demonstrate a design process.  They become progressively more complete until the final design is reached in the last image.  Each separate image is the result of direct communication, correction and comments from the client, who was involved in every step, beginning with the most basic parti up to final design approval.

Speak with a team member on your next project.