Reaching for More in Retail Facility Construction
When Gray’s Bob Moore—president of the West region office—learned that the owners of long-time competitor Timberwolff Construction, Inc. were considering a succession plan, he immediately expressed interest. After all, the two companies had a lot in common: a mutual respect for one another, similar corporate values and service offerings, a commitment to quality craftsmanship and on-time delivery, and even some shared customers. Gray was also looking for an opportunity to grow in the retail market, and this acquisition just made sense.
“Overall, Timberwolff fits in with our strategy of acquiring businesses that are complimentary to our existing markets and services, and, in doing so, in a way that we could grow faster, and we could acquire people and customers that we might not have before,” said Moore. “The cultural fit with Gray and Timberwolff is like a hand in glove.”
According to Moore, Timberwolff brings a great depth of expertise in serving the specialty retail market, or stores that lease space from retail centers like malls and shopping centers.
“There are some nuances to building those relationships—to give that specialty retail customer a repeat experience and be able to execute quickly on projects that often have very short schedules,” he said. “And contractors who have the knowledge of a retailer’s program and how to make that program consistent from store to store are quite valuable.”
Moore says with the rise of online shopping, the retail experience is changing, and with it, retail store design and construction.
“Online sales are driving an increase in retail sales, but there’s actually a shift going on right now,” Moore began. “The typical retail shopper—women, who make more than 80 percent of all retail purchases in the United States—want a brick-and-mortar shopping experience. She wants the ability to shop online, but in a retail store. This means that she is on her smartphone, or her tablet, and she’s able to interact with products in the store.”
But, what does this mean for brick-and-mortar stores? Moore says there is a new concept called “Web-rooming”—retail showrooms that are connected to large distribution warehouses, where shoppers can touch and feel merchandise and take home their purchases same-day.
“When shoppers hit the button on their smartphones to make a purchase, they want their purchase in their hands in real-time, and that’s what these ‘Web-rooming’ concepts will be able to do,” he said. “This is good for retail contractors because it changes what stores and retail centers are about, which leads to more construction and a lot of opportunities.”