The lounge area is key to the entire Pep Boys redesign. Sophisticated wood-look flooring,
seating, and other amenities are designed to provide an experience similar to that of a car
dealership, but the lounge opens directly into the retail area. Whether customers want to do
car work themselves, have it done for them, or some combination of the two, the prototype
store creates a seamless environment.
several stores to determine who shopped
where, how long they stayed, and what
The retailer’s research resulted in a plan
to develop different areas for three types
of customers, each with distinct needs and
shopping habits. Pep Boys worked with the
design team at EWI Worldwide to reposition its brand and create a new store design
that would create three overlapping product and service areas: one for DI Y customers who like to consider themselves experts
regarding their vehicles, one for “Do it for
Me” (DIFM) customers who want to sit in
comfort while having their cars worked on
but who also buy accessories, and one for
car enthusiasts (think street racers or those
who restore classic cars) who want their
cars to go faster or perform better.
Pep Boys’ research also showed that
clients want to deal with friendly, knowledgeable associates, so Pep Boys handled
internal training focused on customer service and sales while EWI Worldwide, led by
Janis Healy, vice president of retail strategy, focused on translating the new corporate emphasis to the environmental design
for the space, both interior and exterior.
This included the exterior facade, exterior
branding elements, and interior fixture and
furniture layout, as well as detailed specifications for all interior finishes, millwork
fixtures, furniture, flooring, decor, and
TO RIVAL THE DEALERSHIP
To meet the needs of each customer type,
the retail area is organized around three
overlapping shopping areas: a quick-access
DI Y area, a “speed shop” for the car enthusiasts, and a lifestyle accessories shop for
browsers and people waiting for their cars
to be serviced. The focal point of the new
store is the redesigned lounge, created to
rival a dealership experience.
“The customer lounge was one of the
most important touchpoints in delivering
on that goal with our target customer,”
Carey explains. “We now have a customer
lounge that exceeds most dealerships in
comfort and usability.”
In the Tampa store, the customer lounge
is separated from the rest of the facility
Pep Boys | Tampa, Fla.
Design: EWI Worldwide, Milwaukee, Wis.
Contractor: Arrowpoint Facility Services,
Fixtures: EWI Worldwide, Milwaukee,
Wis. (custom millwork, proof-of-concept
fixtures) ; Lozier, Omaha, Neb.
Flooring: Centiva, Florence, Ala.
Signage/graphics: Loren Electric Sign
Corp, Whittier, Calif. (exterior signage);
InnoMark Communications, Fairfield, Ohio
visually, but without any opaque walls.
Most of the demarcation is accomplished by
the wood-look floor, wall, and soffit, which
are made of commercial-grade planks from
Centiva that emulate ash and Bolivian rosewood but will hold up to the high traffic
typical of a car repair establishment.
Wood tones give the area a warm, comfortable ambiance complemented by upholstered seating, metal tables, and stools
where customers can sip coffee, watch
television, and enjoy other amenities. But
unlike a dealership, where the lounge is
generally separate from the rest of the
activity, the Pep Boys lounge is located on
the sales floor. Customers can browse the
products, shop for future purchases, and
even look through windows into the service
bays to watch the mechanics at work.
“The main idea of the redesign was to
create an approachable, engaging, rich
environment unique to the Pep Boys
brand,” says Healy.
MANNIE, MOE, AND JACK
The brand, embodied by three cartoon
mechanics, remains central to the com-