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Fresh from the Ranch

There’s a lot of talk these days about authenticity as a “trend” in retail. But what does that really mean? The most successful retailers have a strong point of view that goes deeper than distressed finishes, recycled fixtures, creative use of cardboard… you get the idea. Take Apple. They have a clarity of vision that they stick to religiously, in both their products and their stores. Or McEvoy Ranch. The spirit of founder Nan McEvoy flows effortlessly through everything they do, from family-style staff lunches (four-star) served up at Nan’s ranch in Petaluma (gorgeous!) to the home-grown products (truly delicious) to the passion of the staff for the brand and their friendships with each other, all of which is reflected in their new retail experience.

The retail experience wasn’t always this way. McEvoy Ranch’s only retail store, the 258 square foot shop in San Francisco’s Ferry Building, previously felt a bit like a Tuscan market: authentic in a sense to their roots (literally, the Tuscan root stock of the olive trees that now thrive in Northern California) but not to the true personality of the brand today.

When Gensler was hired to redesign the Ferry Building shop, it took just one trip to the Ranch for the creative team to begin building our own connections to the brand and with the incredible staff who became our partners in the design process. Understanding the brand at a personal level allowed our team to create a genuine design for retail that felt truly fresh, like the ranch. Now that’s authentic.

Janice Natchek is a senior associate in Gensler’s San Francisco office, specializing in visual communications and experiential design with a focus on brand development. Once listed as one of the Bay Area’s Top 30 Designers Under 30, Janice examines the deep connection between consumers and brands, and creates uniquely personal design solutions for her clients that strengthen those emotional connections and build long-lasting loyalty. Contact her at janice_natchek@gensler.com.

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