Retail Design Basics class to be offered at ECDI next week

The principals at Tim Lai ArchitecT will again partner with the Economic and Community Development Institute to offer a class that provides retailers with information that is crucial when designing a new store or revamping an existing space.

The class, titled Retail Design Basics, will be taught by husband-and-wife team Tim Lai and Eliza Ho on Thursday at ECDI’s offices, located at 1655 Old Leonard Ave. in Columbus. The class was also offered in April and will continue to be offered once a quarter.

“Many retail owners like to do everything themselves and they might not realize they really should focus their energy and time on growing their businesses, and leave the design and store build-out part to design professionals to achieve the best results,” says Lai.

The class covers a variety of topics, including how to choose the right location, license, permit and variance requirements, lease negotiations, evaluating store efficiency, developing a realistic budget, how to work with a design professional, and the ins and outs of the store construction process. Attendees are encouraged to bring specific ideas about store design and build-out for discussion.

The curriculum for the class is gleaned from Lai and Ho’s interactions with business owners.

“For each of our projects, we keep detailed records for our research and meetings with clients,” Lai says. “Also, we communicate closely and coordinate with contractors and trade-people to ensure an effective build-out process. Through these we have a pretty good understanding of what the important issues for retailers are and things they should try to avoid. In a way, the curriculum is a digested and organized version of our retail design experiences.”

Their client list includes BBR, Best Western hotel, City Beet Cafe, and The Candle Lab.

The first Retail Design Basics Class went “very well, especially in terms of the diversity of our attendees,” Lai says. “For example, we had some participants who are at their planning stages to launch their retail businesses. We also had some experienced retailers who are looking for ways to refine their stores in order to take their businesses to the next stage. Also, we got branding professional Justine Bryant and downtown retail recruiter Kacey Brankamp attending the class.”

This time around, Lai says they are expecting 15 to 20 attendees. The class does not have a registration deadline.

To register, click here.