Jeans maker Wrangler has always sold its Western-inspired products in department stores and specialty retail shops. So when the brand decided to open its first bricks-and-mortar location, it headed to Lone Tree, Colo., a suburb of Denver, where a concentration of its consumers live out the western lifestyle on a daily basis. “It’s the gateway to the West,” says Robin Rich, senior marketing communications manager of VF Jeanswear – Wrangler.
The 7474-square-foot store, called the Original Wrangler Store, carries Wrangler’s full product line. To stay true to the western lifestyle, the store’s materials – telephone pole timbers, denim pockets decorating the cashwrap and roots of mulberry trees crafted into two life-size horses – are in one way or another reused, repurposed or reclaimed. “They take on that feeling of the outdoor environment where nothing goes to waste,” says Ken Nisch, chairman of Southfield, Mich.-based design firm JGA, which designed the store.
A wood-planked midway serves as a “discovery trail” for the customer that leads to the back of the store, with seasonal items and rodeo-inspired graphics highlighted along the way. Runway fixtures in the men’s and women’s areas display jeans on waist and leg forms, with additional sizes stocked in cubbies. “The concept was to highlight the different options so the customer could see the fit or washes on a comparative basis all in one place,” Nisch says.
Many of the store’s visual elements – like a cowbell or an ornate stand displaying an authentic saddle – look like they came straight from a barn or ranch. “It’s very important that the store environment reflects a sense of place, materials and authenticity,” Nisch says.
The space also serves as a lab for retailers. “We treat it as a place where we can talk to our retailers about what products and styles are really selling, and how they might learn to display in ways that are working for us,” says Rich.