Finding Solutions, Supporting Local, Building Networks
Yvonne Barker is the local STOR-X franchisee owner in Grande Prairie, Alberta. Most of her business comes through social media and, over the past twelve months, COVID added another layer of challenges for her.
“I don’t get many calls or texts as a general rule,” she says. “Plus here in Alberta, we’re still in lockdown. So most of my business comes via Facebook Messenger.”
One of those messages turned out to be an incredibly rewarding – and personally satisfying – experience for her.
Lori Keddie, owner of Fashionista Ladies Wear in Grande Prairie, needed a wardrobe and some custom work done in her store. She’d seen examples of STOR-X work and reached out to Yvonne to set up a time to meet and discuss the project. For Lori, it was also important that the work be done by someone local.
“It’s crucial for us to support local businesses,” she says. “A lot of our customers are small business owners so we appreciate being able to support them as much as we can.”
A Fashionable Request
Lori wanted to replace and update the 14-year-old counters and fireplace in her store with something that was more modern, eye-catching and – most importantly – functional. It wasn’t just about showcasing clothing and accessories. Usage and storage were also critical aspects.
“It was a very custom designed project,” says Yvonne. “There was a purpose and a function built in to every piece. For example, the front till area had to house the computer and they needed a drawer to accommodate their tissue paper that was used for wrapping clothes.”
Other requirements included shelving that extended counter space, adding drawers to fit their branded bags as well as ensuring they had a place to put hangers. There were two towers on either side, with drawers underneath and a shelf above. The towers are mobile, allowing staff to move them to other parts of the store as needed.
From Concept to Reality
“From the very beginning, Yvonne saw my vision,” says Lori. “She was able to work around what we wanted to create which was something really special for the store and ultimately our customers.”
“I really appreciated her organization and efficiency. She was always available to answer our questions. And we were attracted to the fact that all the materials are manufactured in Canada. That was a big plus for us.”
Project specifics also had to be met. To complement the existing décor inside the store, linear ash with a shaker style profile was chosen. The upper shelving, which also included adjustable shelving, was constructed in antique white. An existing fireplace was removed from the back wall and replaced with a wardrobe/storage/display section.
Bringing in Some Bling
The biggest conversation pieces, however, have been the drawer pulls.
“We wanted a wow factor,” says Lori. “We wanted something that would add a bit of boutique flair, pizzaz and sparkle to the place that would enhance the overall customer experience.” The focus though, she says, was about looking upscale and polished while not being perceived as flashy or pretentious.
High-end, jewelled drawer pulls from Elizabeth Arden, were brought in. The results are spotlight-stealing finishes that have turned into major features all on their own. “The cupboard pulls make us so happy,” says Lori. “We’ve received a lot of compliments from customers on them.
Virtually Seamless Process
To avoid any disruption to the store’s services, Yvonne and her team went in on a Sunday to do the install. Lori and her staff were impressed with how seamless, efficient and worry-free the whole process was – from start through to finish. Even better? “Everything we saw in the videos and everything we talked about during our meetings turned out just like we expected,” says Lori.
“Everything has a place. Our space is less cluttered and our customers love the new look.”
For Yvonne, it was a great feeling to not only see the finished product but also to see it being used and knowing the response Lori and her staff were getting from their customers. An unexpected but very nice plus is that it’s also brought in new business for her.
“It’s almost like a showroom for me,” she laughs. “Honestly, I’ve been telling people if you want to see what STOR-X products can do, check out what we did at Fashionista.” Lori is quick to note that numerous customers have inquired about the work and the staff is always eager to share the story and pass along Yvonne’s name. In-store signage and business cards are kept on hand for such occasions.
Women Supporting Women
The whole experience was such a resounding success for both Yvonne and Lori that they’re already planning a giveaway. Contest details will be announced soon and local customers in the Grande Prairie community are encouraged to follow both Fashionista (Instagram / Facebook) and STOR-X Grande Prairie to find out more.