Any retailer with more than one level to their space is constantly challenged to find ways to get customers beyond the main floor. That was certainly the case at Left Bank Books. With a short wall bordering the staircase to the lower level, columns at the top of the stairs, and prominent signage, many customers still didn’t even know there was more to discover downstairs.
Since there was more than 1,000 square feet of merchandise downstairs, one of our priorities was to make the staircase more visible. So we proposed tearing down one side of the short wall with bookcases, and replacing it with a beautiful new wrought iron railing that reflected an important element from the building’s exterior as well as the charm of old St. Louis.
Last night, after the store had closed, demolition of the wall commenced. What a surprise to see what was uncovered underneath the drywall … a wrought iron railing! Though it may have been original to the building, its design and construction was unsafe and would not meet current code requirements. So we’ve arranged for a local business, St. Louis Stair & Wood Works, to install a new wrought iron railing, not only to restore authenticity to the space, but also to make the stairs leading to the lower level a focal point upon entering the store.
Now we’re off to do the section moves and merchandising this week and will post new photos next week to show how some design elements and a splash of color can make all the difference in how customers experience the space – and how much they buy.
The moral of the story is, “Be prepared to be surprised.”