ABC Stores go from Naughty to Nice

PCB&L Architects reconstruct ABC’s Brand Identity

I have been enjoying the three new ABC Stores popping up around Asheville in the last year. My jaded, winter outlook of late has been warmed by the progressive nature of the sunny, new design from a government agency. It is refreshing to see such thoughtful construction in the context of the commercial strips of Tunnel Road, Leicester Highway and elsewhere. The modern composition and rhythmic nature of the facade, including the new brightly colored graphic, is not only elegant, it honors the nature of how you experience it from the automobile. The entire facade serves as memorable and well branded sign for speedy travelers negotiating traffic and other commercial entities of our mountain version of the American commercial strip.

Curious to know how this came about I met with architect Richard Fort of PCB&L Architects in downtown Asheville. Richard was the lead architect on the three new buildings. The architecture company was hired to design both the building and to develop the branding and supporting graphics. Richard stated that the Asheville ABC Board was indeed progressive in their thinking. They realized that their old stores were as unwelcoming as a dirty adult bookstore and were a deterent to the everyday female shoppers they were now aggressively trying to market. As I know from real estate 80% of home buying decisions are made by women along with purchases for the home. In an attempt to expand their market and create a more welcoming environment for all consumers they wanted a more open, well lit and transparent shopping experience. Now isn’t that nice.

Another important point was that the retail building was designed and built on a very tight budget. The design firm fought to keep key materials such as the contrasting bricks in place and worked to balance the design budget in other ways. This goes to show you that economic commercial buildings don’t have to be done in synthetic stucco and plastic windows. With appropriate and professional design planning you can have a sophisticated building that stands out, surpasses your neighbors and is openly sexy. Thank you Asheville ABC board for your progressive strategy and PCB&L for your mindful stewardship of your clients vision and brand. We all benefit from your refreshing collaboration. Admittedly, I write this while sipping on a glass of Sky ginger vodka that I could not resist buying while photographing the interior. Not feeling naughty enough I am deviously hopeful my purchase bought a nice, deep grey brick for another ABC Store somewhere in the future.

Article and Photographs by Troy Winterrowd

2 responses to “ABC Stores go from Naughty to Nice

  1. I think this makeover is a smart move with the recent considerations of privatizing NC liquor sales. And, although I sometimes prefer a bit more Victorian-esque gaudiness in my homes, I really love the photography and photo layouts on your blog. Beautifully clean and simple.

    • Asheville Modern Architecture, Design and Real Estate

      Thank you Sarah. This is my passion and I enjoy it very much. I appreciate the positive feedback.

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