Henderson Retail Symposium Addresses Industry Trends | Henderson Engineers Henderson Retail Symposium Addresses Industry Trends | Henderson Engineers

Henderson Retail Symposium Addresses Industry Trends

Henderson Engineers was proud to host our inaugural Retail Symposium this summer at our headquarters in Lenexa, Kansas. The event brought together members of Team Henderson’s retail sector with clients and industry leaders from across the country to discuss hot topics and issues that are impacting the industry and equip us to be better partners.

The event included three primary discussions: Achieving Sustainability Goals in Retail Settings, Elevating Client Experience, and Innovating the Retail Industry. To view a recording of the full symposium, click here. For a summary of key takeaways from each session, continue reading.


Achieving Sustainability Goals in Retail Settings

As is the case across all building types, a sustainable and regenerative mindset and assisting  clients in achieving their sustainability goals is at the forefront of design in the retail world. The event kicked off with a discussion between Tom Fullerton, operations director at Mace Group, and Helen Herrick, studio director at MBH Architects, moderated by Brent Felten, Henderson’s retail sector client relationship director.

Every client, partner, and owner has a different set of priorities when it comes to sustainability. Some are very progressive, implementing innovative strategies to set trends and benchmarks for the industry, while others are just getting started. It is imperative to meet each where they are when planning for design. Each of the panelists discussed their individual We discussed our organizations’ approaches to sustainability and shared some of the unique goals, strategies, and plans.

  • Mace has three focus areas within their overall sustainability strategy including climate change, impact to society, and biodiversity. Regarding climate change, Mace targets a 10% reduction in their carbon footprint each year and is planning to be net carbon zero by 2026. Additionally, they are planning for a 10-million-ton reduction in carbon output by their clients.
  • To address the upfront cost conflict that can arise when implementing sustainable concepts into designs, MBH has a process to research and report back on the operational cost. While there may be a higher cost initially, often the long-term cost may in fact be less while also being a more sustainable and environmentally friendly option.
  • In the past year, Henderson as a firm has doubled down on its regenerative mindset, signed on to the MEP 2040 Climate Pledge, and announced our Henderson 2040 Climate Pledge which addresses our internal practices.

A common discussion point was the importance of education on sustainable initiatives and tactics and bringing the information to the designers and individuals responsible for reaching these goals. To learn more about sustainability in the retail industry and to hear more about how the panelists are implementing these practices, click here.


Elevating Client Experience

Moderated by Barry Sutherland, client experience director, the symposium’s second session focused on elevating client experience in retail settings with insights from Scott MacDonald, associate director of real estate architectural design and planning at Chewy, and Megan Whitman, senior vice president at BRR.

The discussion focused on:

  • The importance of communication and clear expectations in all interactions with clients because lasting impressions are critical and will determine if a customer or client will return.
  • Investing in the future of a partnership by continually evaluating what value you are adding and can potentially be adding to a client’s experience.

One example given was that Chewy enhances client experience by empowering their staff and consultants and integrating them into processes with customers. This enhanced interaction removes bottlenecks and increases response time – two common client experience frustrations regardless of industry.

To learn more about client experience in the retail industry and how the panelists are implementing these practices, click here.


Innovating the Retail Industry

Rounding out the event was a session on innovation hosted by Henderson’s chief technical officer, Dustin Schafer.  Kim De Guzman and Jamie McGlinchey, both director of store design for Sweetgreen, joined Schafer to discuss how they’re implementing innovative concepts into their facilities. From robotic kitchens to moving towards all-electric facilities, Sweetgreen is changing the game.

Sweetgreen’s mission is to build healthier communities by connecting people to real food. This mission is the foundation of their innovative practices. Henderson has worked alongside Sweetgreen to achieve this mission by assisting with the implementation of robotic kitchens. These kitchens solved several issues for the restaurant and led to more engineering-specific solutions to save time and money and enhance the experience for their customers. Most recently, the company launched new store formats including a digital pickup only kitchen and a concept where patrons can drive through to pick up orders. With all-electric cooking lines already in place, the company is looking to the future and moving towards completely all-electric facilities.

To learn more about innovation and to hear more about how Sweetgreen is innovating the industry, click here.


Looking Ahead

As the retail industry continues to adapt for the future, sustainable and regenerative practices, enhanced client experience, and innovative ideas will no doubt be incorporated. By collaborating with our clients and partners to implement the ideas shared in this symposium and to continually develop new concepts and practices, Team Henderson stands ready to assist with shaping the next generation of retail design. Thank you to each of the panelists and partners for their participation in the inaugural Henderson Retail Symposium.


Henderson Knows Retail

Our history is rooted in retail and it remains a focus today with multiple clients on the Top 100 retailers list. Our retail sector experts work on all sizes and types of projects from programmatic, nationwide retail and restaurant chains to specialty retail stores, luxury brand flagships, and new car showrooms. Through sustainable engineering solutions, we help our clients lessen their environmental impact. We understand what motivates and moves consumers inside a store and how to incorporate technology to create unique, omnichannel brand experiences that result in customer sales.

To learn more about our expertise in retail design, visit our website. Our sister company, Henderson Building Solutions, stands ready to help you with retail constructions services to keep your store environmentally friendly and running smoothly. Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest information from Henderson and to learn about future events like the retail symposium

Written By

Retail Sector Client Relationship Director


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