Retail's Rotating Wall

A flip of the switch transforms the retail store in Boston's TD Banknorth from basketball to hockey.
August 11, 2010

While Boston Red Sox fans had to wait 86 years between World Series Championships, they at least had Fenway Park all to themselves for every game. But the Celtics and Bruins, legendary Beantown franchises with championship histories of their own, have always shared Boston Garden and the new TD Banknorth Garden, an arrangement that isn't always the coziest fit for the NBA's and NHL's overlapping schedules.

Aside from the challenges posed by switching a basketball court to a hockey rink, the two teams face smaller, everyday challenges, such as sharing retail store space inside the arena. The retail environment and the merchandise have to change on a nightly basis—from November to June—to accommodate both basketball and hockey fans. Selling a mixture of team merchandise in the three Fanzone stores within TD Banknorth Garden simply wasn't a good enough of a solution for building owner Delaware North Company, a national concessions company based in Boston and the owner of the Bruins.

“Our client had a desire that 85% of the merchandise on display be representative of the team performing that night,” says Andy Connors, principal of Partners by Design, of Manchaug, Mass., a member of the joint venture interior design team with Icon Architecture of Boston. “There was limited storage available and operations costs simply made it impossible to switch out the majority of the merchandise on a nightly basis.”

So, instead of changing merchandise, the design team decided to literally “flip” the store using a rotating wall system with panels on both sides. Flick the switch and the panels display Bruins merchandise; flick it again to sell Celtics merchandise. Graphics panels, logos on cashwraps, store signage, and decorative light fixtures also flip to highlight the specific heritage of the Bruins or Celtics.

The designers used elements of both basketball and hockey, including netting, hoops, red goal posts, basketballs, the Celtics trademark parquet flooring, and the look of the Bruins' ice to create a specific shopping experience for both teams. A seamless white rubber floor, an open-cell ceiling system, and flat-screen televisions with live game feeds are the only store elements that don't flip.

“It was a design that made the most of limited space while also making the shift easy for the people that work there,” says Connors. “The stores can switch programs in a period of about half an hour and we've gotten good feedback from the managers since the stores opened in January.”

The Fanzone stores also save time and money by using lighting to flip team logos and colors. The storefronts have backlit, acrylic panel systems that extend the store's full length and height. A Color Kinetics lighting system changes the panels from Bruins gold to Celtics green. Corresponding team logos are projected onto the center acrylic panels and are wired to change at the flick of a switch. Both store employees and the client are satisfied with the result.

“The ability to change the focus of the store really enhances the shopping experience,” says Jerry Freed, regional VP of Delaware North. “The new concept provides the customer with a much sleeker, team-focused environment.”