Left: Windows into the service bay invite customers to take a peek, another way Pep Boys encourages customers to see employees as friendly
partners and reliable technicians. Right: Americana colors (red, white, and blue) and extensive use of both explanatory and directional signage
communicates Pep Boys’ new emphasis on service. Polished concrete floors are durable and an aesthetic choice—they reinforce the idea that
car care is done on-site.
pany. A heritage wall mural at the front
of the Tampa store shows a 1920s-era
store, emphasizing the company’s history.
Graphics are featured prominently in the
store design, with identifiers over each
product area and nearly every display.
The Pep Boys logo reinforces brand image
throughout the store, stained into the concrete floor by the store entrance, repeated
on the signs, even continued into the
“Our design incorporates a rich blend of
Americana red, white, and blue with mod-
ern touches, using a combination of wood
and stone and other unexpected materials
to spark interest and give the store a more
natural and authentic appearance,” Healy
explains. Instead of vinyl composite tile
flooring, the redesigned store features pol-
ished concrete—an attractive and contem-
porary look that transforms the utilitarian
flooring used in service areas into a decora-
tive one customers read as “the real thing.”
The store exterior, with wood-look vinyl
planking, does a similar visual job: recalling
industrial wood pallets but with the polish
and finish of a high-end establishment.
The auto repair retail segment
INDEPENDENT AUTO REPAIR SHOPS still dominate the scene, making up 60 percent of the
total repair and maintenance market in the U.S. But as automotive technology becomes ever
more complex, buying the necessary equipment and training staff to fix a wide range of vehicles
is making it harder and more costly to start up a repair shop.
At 30 percent of the total, dealerships have the next largest share of the market. Customers
like to go to dealers because they’re clean, they boast attractive waiting rooms, and their workers are presumed to be experts and to have access to the best parts and most up-to-date tools.
But many people avoid dealerships for the same reasons, expecting to pay a premium for extras
they don’t want or need.
Who’s in the remaining 10 percent? Everyone else—including Pep Boys, with more than 750
locations in 35 states and Puerto Rico.
Expect that 10 percent to grow. When Ann Natunewicz of Collier International spoke at A.R.E.’s
Industry Summit last November, she cited auto parts stores as a growth area in retail—precisely
because with more older cars on the road, more repairs are necessary—and many are DIY.
FIXTURES FOR DURABILIT Y AND ST YLE
The fixtures were created from the ground
up to meet all the new Pep Boy goals, Healy
says. The color scheme, wood-look vinyl,
company logo, and helpful graphics are all
integral to their design, but many other
practical considerations dictated changes
Stainless steel tops and integrated edge
protection protect against the real wear and
tear of automotive parts. “This type of retail
environment is exposed to shopping carts
and stocking carts, which can damage millwork fixtures, and many heavy, metal automobile parts are placed on the countertops,
requiring a durable surface,” Healy notes.
In addition to creating fixtures that
could withstand rough use, E WI Worldwide
designed all displays and shelves for their
specific use. Lower, browser-friendly gon-