By  on January 12, 2005

NEW YORK — With a bit of vision and almost $1 million for reconstruction, the suburban Ms’tique fashion store was recast in a former supermarket space to be a distinctive, urban-like retail setting.

“We were busting out of the old location, so we moved four stores away in the same shopping center, went upscale and added some very contemporary sportswear,” said Rose Rivera, owner of Ms’tique. “Now I have my dream store.”

The new site, at 7935 Jericho Turnpike in Woodbury, N.Y., on Long Island, opened in September and is 6,000 square feet, including 3,500 square feet for selling. The store is tracking 20 percent higher in sales and should do $4 million to $5 million after its first year, Rivera said.

The 11-year-old Ms’tique has always operated in The Woodbury Village strip center, but in a space half the size of the new unit. Still, for Horst Design International, a store design firm in Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., also on Long Island, the new space was still tight.

The challenge was to create a spacious, high-end environment for Rivera’s designer apparel that would segment the merchandise by collection. In addition, the goal was to draw shoppers all the way through the store, despite the narrow and deep dimensions — 29 by 100 feet — and limited frontage.

“We didn’t have the whole supermarket, only a section to work with,” said Douglas Horst, president of Horst Design. A few other upscale businesses, including an Elizabeth Arden Red Door salon and a George Martin steak house, also are taking pieces of the former supermarket.

The proportions of the Ms’tique space are typical in retail, requiring store designers to develop compelling architectural and visual elements to stimulate traffic flow, Horst said.

“While the obstacles are familiar, the solutions for each particular retailer are different,” said Horst, who has done designs for Macy’s, Century 21 and Eastern Mountain Sports, among other retailers.

In the case of Ms’tique, Horst decided to break up the perimeter walls into a series of spaces for each designer. There are eight custom-made, diamond-patterned backlit steel grids for displays, four on each side of the store. Each is 12 feet tall and has sockets for screwing in hardware to support hang rods, face-outs, waterfalls, shelves and other fixtures to display merchandise in different ways. The grids are visually tied together by sweeping architectural arches extending from one side of the store to the other, 14 feet tall at their apex.

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