16 | www.retailenvironments.org RETAIL ENVIRONMENTS january.february.2014
and finishes. “The floor squeaks when you
walk on it—it’s that authentic,” says Geary.
The store facade, based on a cottage exte-
rior, looks bleached by years of sun and
sandblasted by sea winds. Inside, tongue-
and-groove wooden walls, a beamed ceil-
ing, cottage-style lighting, and fixtures
patterned after furniture communicate
the casual, weather-beaten reality of
life near the sea for even the wealthiest.
Dressing rooms are modeled after the outside showers common in seaside homes.
“We didn’t want it to look like it was
made in a Disney studio,” says Singler.
Callison worked closely with idX to find
finishes, materials, and lighting that looked
as authentic as possible. For the floors and
fixtures, id X chose reclaimed wood from a
local salvage yard. Rustic furniture pieces
include a fir dresser of reclaimed wood with
cold-rolled steel hardware as well as white
sideboards and hutches. To get the look of
years of wear, the workers put cedar shingles through an aging process 15 times.
Rather than attempt to reproduce and age
period wallpapers and paint, the designers
wanted walls and floors made to look as if
they’ve been stripped and then painted a
nautical white. idX created a mix of gloss
and eggshell paints to make the finishes
All involved in the new design agree that
the new concept’s success is due to the
close collaboration between the design-
ers, fabricators, and client. Callison and
idX say their companies developed an
extremely close relationship, and Callison
also interacted with Sperry’s CEO, CMA,
head of product design, and head of mar-
keting. The client relationship was so close,
Singler says, that when Sperry was sold to
Wolverine in the middle of the redesign,
the Sperry team had Wolverine’s complete
Singler calls the collaboration “super
“I really prefer working with brands
that have an authentic heritage,” he says.
“There’s a reason and logic for things, and
it’s easier to sell products when you have
a compelling story behind them. Sperry
Top-Siders are an American original; we
had a lot to work with.”
In addition to the Natick store, the new
concept launched shortly afterward in
Southdale Mall in Edina, Minn., Lenox
Mall in Atlanta, and St. Johns Town Center
in Jacksonville, Fla. Now with a total of five
stores in the new design, Dietrichson says
that the prototype will be used as “the dna”
for all new stores in the U.S. and abroad.
Existing stores will be retrofit “where and
when it makes sense,” she says.
Marstiller says the result is unique
among its store type, exactly the experience
Sperry was looking for and will “export
our passion for the sea and New England
aesthetic around the world.”
idX used space on its shop floor to mock up a 20-by-40-foot Sperry store, complete with floors,
ceilings, and lighting. “It captivated everybody in the shop,” says Jim Geary, development director
at idX. The full-sized store mockup allowed the Sperry design and construction team to review
and “test fit” each fixture, finish, and material in relation to all of the other elements.
An outdoor shower for rinsing off sand (common at ocean-front cottages) is really a dressing room.
It’s complete with a shower head (to hold garments), distressed wood bench, and rustic wood gate.