As we start to see light at the end of the pandemic tunnel and a semblance of normal is beginning to return, Kevin Kelley, principal and co-founder of Los Angeles-based design firm Shook Kelley, says he’s busier than he’s ever been. Demand for his firm’s retail design services, he says, started booming as soon as pandemic safety measures began to lift. “We have so much work now that we’re in the mode of turning jobs down left and right,” he declares. But as the world emerges from the COVID-19 era and grocers look to create new stores or renovate old ones, what sorts of design trends will we see?
“The pandemic can be viewed as ‘the great accelerator’ of shifts in the retail industry,” says Debbie Kalisky, associate, retail development at Montreal design firm GH+A. “It helped accelerate the monumental shifts that had already started pre-pandemic.” Canadian Grocer spoke with a handful of top retail designers from around the globe to glean insights on how the pandemic accelerated some existing food and shopping trends while taking others into new directions, and how all of this will affect grocery store design trends as we move forward.