Fun-house aesthetic sets the stage for eclectic merchandise mix
SWEETIE’S BIG FUN | Pinecrest, Orange Village, OH, US
completed Aug. 2018 | size 1,800 sf
photos Mort Tucker Photography/Howard Tucker
Contributing Shop! member: Onyx Creative architecture, engineering, lighting design
Too much of a good thing? Not so for this fun-house-inspired retail space, which successfully combines two beloved area stores into one modernized location. The new concept draws on the best features of fun-loving, local mom-and-pop Big Fun toy store and the long-running B.A. Sweetie Candy superstore for a wholly new experience that stays true to its original neighborhood store concept.
Characterized as ‘organized chaos brought to perfection,” the carnival-like design creates an active, visually impactful shopping adventure for families. Providing a sense of nostalgia and discovery in a light-hearted environment, the space makes a unique visual statement befitting its diverse mix of merchandise.
Measuring just 20 ft. wide, Sweetie’s Big Fun’s storefront is dwarfed by its neighbors, yet has the strongest visual impact on the building block. Bold, colorful signage atop the store’s doorway merges both former identities and grabs attention. Yellow and checkerboard-print details, lit “toys” and “candy” window signage, and marquee-style lighting invite passersby to discover the store’s interior.
Concrete floors, an exposed ceiling, and wood display walls provide a simple, neutral backdrop for the vast amount of small-scale products on display. Quilted stainless steel facing adds a gleaming old-time element along the soda fountain/ice cream counter and wall behind. Five metal barstools, each in a different color of the rainbow, invite shoppers to stop and enjoy a sweet treat. Flower-like white pendant lights add illumination and help differentiate the counter area from the rest of the space.
The counter’s services can also be accessed from the store’s exterior. An operating glass section opens to walk-up customer service for the soda fountain, allowing customers to order and eat ice cream on the large expanse of grassy area opposite the storefront.
Unique placements of fun elements and humor appear throughout the store. Several large hanging objects were commissioned from ten artists, adding a sense of locality and bringing back mom-and-pop vibes from the original store. From a tie-dyed bus and superheroes to a box of popcorn and a Rubik’s Cube, each provides one-of-a-kind visual interest. A three-dimensional rocket above the door bids shoppers adieu with the words “Hope you had a blast!”