C h a p t e r 5 R e ta i l S t r at eg i e s
On a broader level, it conveys the sense that downtown Wake Forest is in touch with the latest in contemporary urban life and even, a little hip — an important factor in attracting a wide range of demographics to downtown. Food trucks are the most common sort of RMU in downtown settings, but other models should be considered as well, such as fashion trucks (or “mobile clothing boutiques”). Customers enter and browse the inside, which is typically furnished with changing rooms. Like food trucks, their exteriors are typically “wrapped” in eye-catching colors and graphics. A key advantage of such trucks is that they offer an alternative means of growing the existing “cluster” of comparison-goods boutiques in downtown Wake Forest, thereby enhancing its “browse-worthy” appeal. To this point, the format appears especially popular with the psychographic that already gravitates to shops like Pink Boutique and Carolina Clover. Another novel type of RMU is the shipping container. Primarily used to carry merchandise on cargo ships, freight trains and 18–wheeler trucks, these 160 square foot units (8 feet x 20 feet) of corrugated metal can also be refurbished to serve as movable retail spaces. Given the sheer novelty of seeing them on the street used
for this purpose, they tend to turn a lot of heads. Shipping containers filled with retail businesses can be aggregated in a “container village”, or alternately, situated side-by-side along the edges of a vacant lot or parking field that fronts on a commercial corridor. This setup can simulate the street wall of active storefronts that, for reasons discussed elsewhere in this Plan, is considered essential to downtown walkability and vibrancy.
S S Modular soft goods retail, Toronto, Canada
RECOMMENDATION 5A: Use Retail Merchandising Units (RMUs) to provide additional inventory and demonstrate the viability of downtown Wake Forest.
S S Container cafe, Detroit, MI
S S Small Box container village, Cleveland, OH
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