Top 10 must-haves for a remodeled grocery store

  1. A good refrigeration engineer with grocery store experience
  2. A good MEP engineer with grocery store experience
  3. As-builts of the existing conditions
  4. A good concrete saw with expensive diamond blades
  5. Preparation for lighting replacement throughout
  6. A good stainless steel vendor for hiding those things you just can’t fix
  7. A contractor that understands how to work during open hours and/or after hours
  8. A good equipment buyer to make sure new cases or fixtures are delivered on time
  9. A creative architect
  10. Patient customers

~Barron Schimberg, AIA, LEED AP

Top 10 must-haves for a newly-designed grocery store

1)   Consistent bulbs throughout to minimize maintenance issues

2)   Proper lighting over specific foods such as meat, seafood, produce, etc.

3)   Smooth flooring on the sales floor

4)   MMA or Epoxy in the back of house

5)   6’-0” minimum aisle width

6)   Thoughtful location of check-out counters for easy circulation

7)   Well designed and aesthetically clean restrooms

8)   Perimeter cases with grocery in the center of the store

9)   Appealing and interesting soffit signage and décor to attract customers and create a comfortable atmosphere

10)   Easily accessible customer service desk

~Barron Schimberg, AIA, LEED AP

Whole Foods Naples, a Schimberg Group project.

Studio South Fitness Project: Transforming A Former Workspace into a Workout Place

By Barron Schimberg, AIA LEED AP

Did you see the article “Sarasota’s Next Top Fitness Team” in the January, 2013 issue of Scene magazine? The story describes Tiffany Liashek’s concept for the new Studio South Fitness center she opened in December on South Osprey Avenue. Studio South Fitness offers custom workouts that include one-on-one sessions with a personal trainer and a schedule of classes tailored to the each client’s goals.

The Schimberg Group helped Tiffany bring her vision for the gym to life. We provided the architecture and interior design services that transformed 6,000 sf of former office space into a contemporary gym with a stylish, homelike decor.

To support her concept for friendly, personalized training, Tiffany wanted the facility to look warmer and more comfortable than many big-box gyms.


The photos below highlight some of the design details. For example, carpet tile and vinyl wood flooring cover the main areas, and kitchen-like cabinetry, wood-look lockers, and restrooms with decorative fixtures and mirrors make you feel at home. Painted orange walls energize the workout spaces, while calming blues and earth tones add warmth and balance throughout.




Because Studio South Fitness is all about health and well-being, the facility uses eco-friendly carpet tiles, VOC-free paints and natural day lighting throughout.


Todd Anderson, who has worked as a fitness trainer, did a terrific job as project architect.

He says “Having experience in the fitness industry allowed me to better coordinate with consultants and contractors, properly space plan fitness equipment, and effectively communicate with the owner to create a successful project.”

If you would like to turn an existing property into something new and different, give us a call.

Whether you already have a fully formed vision for the space, or would like us to suggest some ideas, we would be happy to help!


SCENE: Sarasota’s Next Top Fitness Team


Greg Wilson,



On the Waterfront: The Sandbar Restaurant Gets a New/Old Look

If you have ever hung out at The Sandbar Waterfront Restaurant on Anna Maria Island, then you know why it is such a popular venue for destination weddings, waterfront dining, or watching sunsets. If you haven’t been there yet, check it out the next time you’re in the Sarasota area. Anna Maria Island itself is unique, and very few restaurants in the U.S. enjoy such a prime right- on-the-beach location.

When The Sandbar Restaurant first opened in 1911, the white, wooden bungalow with its dark wood-paneled interior felt like a local fishing shack. Over the years, the restaurant has undergone periodic renovations after fires, hurricanes, and tropical storms. Each renovation brought something new—a dance floor, expansive wooden decks, outdoor bars, and the wedding pavilion.

Over the past two years, The Schimberg Group has worked with owner Ed Chiles and many other team members on the restaurant’s most extensive renovation ever. The main dining room was totally demolished and has been rebuilt from the sand up.


After The Sandbar’s dining room reopens this month, we want to hear what you think!  We played a leading role in the redesign—both on the building structure itself and the interior design.

We worked hard to preserve the casual, Old Florida atmosphere that has made The Sandbar so popular with tourists and residents alike while introducing some gorgeous new upgrades to the flooring, tables, walls, and lighting.

The Sandbar will still be the kind of place where you feel comfortable grabbing a burger and a beer in your bathing suit.  But we believe the more contemporary ambiance will appeal to foodies interested in sampling some of the more sophisticated items on the menu.

We can’t show interior photos until the restaurant opens later this month. But we can tell you that Ed Chiles cares deeply about his gem of a restaurant.  He wants to create a memorable beachfront dining experience for everyone–whether you are a first-time visitor or long-time fan.


So, yes, the design process on this project was intense, but super-collaborative.  We went back and forth on a number of ideas, and gathered input from multiple members of the restaurant staff. And of course problems cropped up that had to be dealt with along the way.

So in future posts on this blog, Patty and I will talk about some of the unique elements of the design and why we made certain decisions about the flooring, countertops, lighting, walls, etc.  We also plan to interview some of artisans and craftspeople who contributed so much to the stunning new look. We hope our series of posts will be inspiring and educational about how great projects happen. Stay  tuned!


About The Sandbar Waterfront Restaurant 


Grocery Store Design Projects Featured in “Green Retail Design” Book

By Barron Schimberg, AIA

It’s always a thrill whenever one of our retail projects is featured in a magazine, newspaper, or design book. Every project represents the collective expertise and ideas of many, many people, including:

  • the retail-business experts on the client side;
  • the community residents who set the buiding design standards; and
  • the building and construction teams who bring all of the ideas to life.

Cover of Green Retail Design book by Martin M. PeglerWe are particularly proud that two grocery store design projects The Schimberg Group completed for Whole Foods Market were featured in the book “Green Retail Design” by Martin M. Pegler.

Pegler is a world renowned authority on store design and visual merchandising. He edited Retail Design International magazine for 29 years and has published more than 80 books on store design. “Green Retail Design” was published by ST Media Group International, which also publishes VSMD magazine for retail designers.

“Green Retail Design” is a 256-page, lavishly illustrated hardback book that was produced to provide ideas and inspiration to environmentally friendly businesses, designers, and architects around the world.  The 60 case studies in the book range from department stores and big-box operations to small boutiques and vendor shops.

The book’s section on markets, specialty foods, and dining spaces describes two of the Whole Foods Market stores that The Schimberg Group designed: the store in Bayhill, Florida and the store in Naples, Florida.

In keeping with Whole Foods’ core values about local communities and the environment, we designed both stores to blend naturally into their neighborhoods, and reflect the shoppers and lifestyles within each community.

We designed the Whole Foods Markets with sustainable and recycled materials and used energy-saving technologies such as skylights, ceramic metal halide lamps and Glycol refrigeration systems.  The lighting package was designed to create a consistent bulb type and manufacturer, simplifying the maintenance program and minimizing the costs.  The design of the soffits and perimeter walls reflects local aesthetics per Whole Foods Market’s desires.  We worked closely with the client to design tile patterns and colors, flooring and even interior signage.

Whole Foods Market, Naples, FL. Photos: The Greg Wilson Group

Engaging in a project with Whole Foods market is just as rewarding as one may think.  The team put in place by Whole Foods Market allows for an efficiency and smoothness to the final design and the final built space.

You can read the 8-page excerpt from “Green Retail Design” book by clicking on the link to the PDF below.


PDF Excerpt: Whole Foods Market in “Green Retail Design” by Martin M. Pegler

Whole Foods Market: Core Values

Book: “Green Retail Design” published by ST Media Group International

Store Design Books by Martin M. Pegler

We’ve Moved!

By Barron Schimberg, AIA

This is shaping up to be a year of change and growth for The Schimberg Group. In January, we announced the merger with Morrison Design.  Now, we have moved from our previous location on South Palm Avenue into a more accessible and visible ground-level space at 40 South Pineapple.

Although our previous office was quite spacious, there were no direct windows to the outside. Any natural light we received was diffused through the glass of an adjacent atrium. The sunlight that streams in through the windows of our new headquarters is energizing and inspires productivity. Even the light bulbs throughout the office are designed to replicate natural light, giving a warm, inviting feel for visitors and employees.

Another thing I like about our new headquarters is that we aren’t hidden from view. We like being an active and visible part of the Sarasota community. We hope passers-by who notice the signage at our front door will feel comfortable enough to stop in and learn more about our building design, renovation, and interior design services.

Moving from one office building to another can be complicated, because we must keep moving forward with client projects while meeting the other day-to-day demands of running a business. So, over the next few weeks, we’ll probably still be unpacking, rearranging, and redecorating.

Patty and I have some awesome ideas for further improving the look and feel of our new offices. We have some concepts in mind that are unique to the field and hopefully inspiring to other architects.  (We’ll talk more about these ideas when they’re finalized.)

Note that only our address has changed. The new address is 40 South Pineapple Ave., Suite 101, Sarasota, FL 34236. Our phone number remains 941-894-6888. Give us a call or stop by and see us!

Marina Bay Condominium Buildings Get a Makeover

By Barron Schimberg, AIA

How a building looks from the outside matters more than ever.  Many future owners of Florida homes and condominiums start looking for potential properties online, and a strong visual first-impression can really catch their eye. However, if the exterior of the building looks dated, buyers might conclude that units within the building have not been kept up to date.

That’s why we are proud of the modernization project The Schimberg Group recently coordinated in collaboration with residents of The Marina Bay luxury condominium complex on Longboat Key.  In addition to updating the exteriors of the buildings, we modernized the entryways, lobbies and landings.

A 12 x 24 modern porcelain tile replaced pink marble flooring.  Walls connecting lobbies were finished with a contemporary Porcelanosa wall tile. Old, inefficient light fixtures were updated with new, energy-efficient, modern-looking sconces and pendants.

While improving the ambience for current residents, the upgrades give visitors a first-class, first impression of the property. For residents that put their units on the market, the aesthetic enhancements to the building’s exterior provide real-estate buyer’s visual interest when exploring their options online.

BEFORE: Entryway to a Marina Bay condominium building before the renovation

AFTER. The entryway to a Marina Bay condominium building after the renovation.

The upgrade project started in January of 2009 with the development of our 360-degree master plan. During the first stage of this process, we gathered input and ideas from board members and homeowners of the 60 units in the complex.

Then, we consulted with contractors, subcontractors, and other building-renovation experts to propose a holistic, cost-effective plan for making improvements over time as their budget allows. Now, residents are confident that additional upgrades made each year will contribute to a more harmonious end result.

Due to so many people involved in the final outcome, this condo-complex modernization project required dozens of meetings to discuss hundreds of different ideas and opinions. The communications challenges were far more complicated than a typical commercial or residential job. However, everyone involved learned from the process, and we are all proud of the results.

According to a local real estate agent, a new recent buyer of one of the units “would never have bought in Marina Bay if they had not been upgraded…the lobbies and entries are spectacular.”

The Marina Bay residents should be commended for caring so much about preserving the appearance of their property and the appeal of Sarasota as a great place to live.

If your homeowners association would like to learn more about how The Schimberg Group could achieve similar results for your complex, contact us at: or give me a call at 941-894-6888.

During the renovation project of the Marina Bay condominium complex, we updated the look of the lobbies of each buildling. Shown here is the lobby of Bldg. 1 before the renovation (above) and after (below).


Take a 360-Degree Look at Your Next Building Improvement Project


Sarasota Magazine: On the Homefront by Carol Tisch


We Custom Design Durable Furnishings with Style

If you need customized tables, storage units, desks, benches, or recycling bins for your next building project, we can help create something special.The Schimberg Group has partnered with Spec-Rite Designs to develop the LINEAR line of customizable, durable furnishings for healthcare, educational, pet care, and commercial buildings.

Products include:

  • tables for food courts and dining halls
  • lab tables and storage units for classrooms
  • trash receptacles and recycling bins
  • beds, reception desks, and benches at medical facilities
  • walled pet crates and condos
  • lockers, wardrobes, and credenzas

SpecRite Furniture Storage UnitAt The Schimberg Group, we design each piece of furniture to meet specific space requirements, incorporate brand colors, and add a touch of style. Spec-Rite then manufactures the furniture using non-porous, durable, phenolic materials that can withstand the rigors of public use.  The materials resist water and scratching, inhibit bacteria growth, and don’t absorb odors.

We can design Spec-Rite furniture for our own commercial clients or help other architects incorporate custom-designed furnishings into their projects.

For more information, download the PDF below.

PDF: Durable Designs Furniture from Spec-Rite Designs

The Schimberg Group designed these durable, LINEAR tables to add more color to the breakroom of an office building.

Pet Project: Designing an Adoption-Friendly Animal Shelter

By Barron Schimberg, AIA LEED AP

With every new project, I enjoy the process of learning new things. For example, before we started converting a 7,000 square foot warehouse into The Cat Depot feline adoption center, we did extensive research into animal behavior, shelter medicine, and veterinary ethics.  Our design needed to support all aspects of The Cat Depot’s mission of improving the lives of homeless cats by helping them find loving homes.

Cat Depot in Sarasota, Flordia

We learned that the right design could result in well-mannered pets, more comfortable and educated owners, and a facility that was easier to operate and maintain.

In the course of our research into animal-shelter design, we discovered some difficult questions that needed be addressed. Should the design reflect a safe haven for the animals to live their lives out if necessary? Or should the animal shelter be designed for more temporary living arrangements, while the facility’s operators encourage community residents to adopt more animals?

Because The Cat Depot focuses on finding loving homes for cats and kittens, we designed an environment that makes it easier for the public to interact with the cats before deciding which one(s) to adopt and take home. Research shows that people prefer adopting cats that appear to be more social.

Some of the most popular design features are the 10 x 15-ft cat runs (“pods”) that we added to the east side of the building. The cats can wander freely outside into these enclosed outdoor “cat-ios” to enjoy sunlight and fresh air.

Yet we also wanted to preserve the industrial look and feel of the building.  Not only is the simple interior easier to maintain, but visitors also quickly recognize that the shelter is not a replacement for a home-like environment.

We also worked with Spec-Rite Designs to create durable pet condos and indoor play crates.  Each condo and pet crate was custom-designed for the space requirements and preferred colors. Spec-Rite then manufactured the furniture using non-porous, phenolic materials that resist water and scratching, inhibit bacteria growth, and don’t absorb odors.

The Cat Depot’s new facility opened at the end of 2009. It has become a hub of rescue activity and education for cat lovers. In 2011, Cat Depot spayed and neutered 1400 cats and kittens, found loving homes for 893 cats and kittens, and engaged more than 2,400 school-children in cat-related activities.

You can take a virtual tour of the Cat Depot on the Cat Depot website. The Schimberg Group’s work on the facility was described in more detail in SRQ magazine and Maddux Business Report.  PDFs of these two articles can be viewed through the links below.

Cat Depot Surgical Room

If your company or organization has an animal-shelter-related project on the horizon, give us a call at 941-894-6888 . We learned many valuable lessons during our work on the Cat Depot, and I would be happy to share some of these insights with you or your group.


About the Cat Depot of Sarasota, Florida

 Virtual Tour of Cat Depot

SRQ Magazine: Feline Fortress

Maddux Business Report: Purr Green


We Custom Design Durable Furnishings with Style




Tape Art Signs Welcome Visitors to Newspaper Office

The Observer Group is a multimedia company that publishes five newspapers, three websites, and a quarterly magazine for residents of five communities in the Sarasota-Bradenton region of Florida.

When we redesigned the interiors of The Observer offices in Longboat Key, we created  and installed unique tape-art-based signs for two reception areas in the building.

Our goal was to create signs that represented the company in an abstract, interesting way.  The black tape on the white walls provided the perfect way to suggest the black-and-white lines of a newspaper.

The design started as a 2D graphic image on our computer screen. After the client approved the concept, we did a mock-up, using tape on a 4 x 8 ft. sheet of drywall. Once we received the go-ahead, it took us about four days to install the sign. We sealed the tape with a varnish so it wouldn’t peel away from the wall. You can watch the installation in the time-lapse video below.