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Total Design Group Helps Southern Co-operative Bring a Fresh Focus to Convenience Retail

Total Design Group is once again helping long-term customer, the Southern Co-operative bring a new fresh concept to community-focused retail.

Total Design offers retailers one stop-access to four market leading companies, that together, deliver a unique combination of products, skills and expertise in shopfitting, retail shelving, joinery and electrical installations.

Total Design were chosen by Southern Co-op to be the Principal Contractor for this new concept project, having successfully delivered previous concept stores on their behalf.

The project resulted in a new “fresh” style convenience store at Abbotswood, a new 58-hectare housing development in Hampshire. The store opened for business in April 2017.

Turn-Key Service


Total Design provided a comprehensive turnkey service, and were fully involved in the project from the initial ‘ideas’ and planning stages, through to creation of the designs, elevation plans and a 3D walk-through.

As Principal Contractors, Total Design project managed, programmed and co-ordinated all aspects of the project from taking the client’s initial brief, to overseeing sub-contractors and suppliers through to final fit-out and installation.  Total Design were also responsible for ensuring all work on the project was carried out in accordance with Health and Safety standards.

Total Design supplied and installed all the shelving, free standing units and joinery units, plus handled all the internal building work from flooring to ceilings. In addition, Total Design carried out all electrical work to the highest regulatory NIEEIC standards.

Communication is Key

“At the start of the project, we spent a lot of time talking, and most importantly listening to the client.  We had lots of meetings during which we shared design ideas, looked at samples and assessed all the available options to get a true feel for the customer’s requirement: all with cost consideration at every decision point, so that it all would become a workable solution, a key element of a Concept Store project,” recalled Paul Thorpe, MD, Total Design Group.

Justin Jones, Commercial Development Manager, Southern Co-Operative, commented, “As a new concept store, the Abbotswood store is a test site for new features to assess their merchandising value, before deciding whether to rollout across the network in the future. With that in mind, it was important that none of the key design elements were ‘lost in translation’.  I’m happy to say that Total Design delivered a store that looks – and feels – in every detail exactly how we envisaged in our original concept.”

Because Total Design operates as an integrated unit, the project wasn’t hampered by any of the communication issues that can occur when several, unconnected companies are involved. A great example of this is the way the designs were directly applied to the joinery construction drawings, meaning there was a seamless conversion of design to manufacture.

“We have a well-defined and proven process that ensures plans, timelines and key decisions are agreed in a timely manner, and importantly, based on information and input from all parties concerned.  As a result, we had an informed and workable plan – that covered every step of the process from retail and bespoke product design to manufacture, delivery and installation – with accurate costings and realistic milestones,” explained Paul Thorpe.

Why Total Design Group?

When it came to choosing a principal contractor for this strategically important project, the Southern Co-op had more than enough evidence to prove Total Design was the ideal choice. From experience, Southern Co-op knew it could rely on Total Design to provide all the consultancy, advice and practical support it needed at every stage of the project.

“Our working partnership with Total Design goes back more than 20 years.  During that time, Total Design have been involved, as principal contractor, on many different and highly successful roll-out projects” explained Justin Jones, Commercial Development Manager.  “We also knew from the Freshwater experience that Total Design could be trusted to convert an innovative retail design concept, into a store that’s delivered on time and within budget.”

Focus on Fresh

The ‘fresh’ theme of the design was implemented by applying a variety of wood finishes to shelving and merchandise displays throughout the store and creatively complimenting this theme with slate style flooring and an open plan ceiling design exposing trunking instead of the traditional suspended ceilings.


Joinery Delivers Exciting New Merchandising Concepts

Starting by converting the ‘fresh’ designs into manufacturing drawings, and finally constructed by skilled joiners, Total Design retail joinery expertise is very much in evidence in the variety of modular and bespoke shelving, display and counters created specifically for the store.

When they walk into the store, customers can choose fresh fruit and vegetables from a Mobile Produce Unit.

Nearby is the bespoke new concept Gondola Bakery Unit, a free-standing unit made entirely of timber which was created by Total Design’s expert joiners.

This theme of free standing promotional units is followed through the store including promotional units such as the Mobile Wine Display Unit and Gondola Isle End Units.

Payment Made Quick and Easy

Customers queuing to pay can be problematic in convenience stores with relatively limited space.   Not at Abbotwood. Total Design Joinery supplied several new concept bespoke joinery elements for the checkout area from Modular Display Counters, a Queue System which houses Newspapers and Magazines on one bay run and Drinks on the other, to a new-style low level Backline Cigarette Drawer Unit which is housed behind the checkout and sitting at the same height as the Counter.