Radio Flyer’s first store in over a century presents ER2 Image Group and its Applied Surfaces division with the opportunity to reimagine retail’s immersive possibilities.
Think back to your childhood and chances are, a Radio Flyer Original Little Red Wagon® is rolling around in one of those early memories. Today, 107-year-old Radio Flyer has begun a new chapter with its first flagship retail store, a 15,000-square-foot location that immerses shoppers into the iconic brand.
Radio Flyer’s retail environment, nestled within the largest shopping center in Illinois, offers just the right amount of a nostalgic nod to its heritage while injecting loads of fun interactivity for the next generation of riders.
To help its first retail store live up to its promise of being “The Ultimate Radio Flyer Experience,” ER2 Image Group and its Applied Surfaces division were selected to manufacture and install all environmental graphic assets.
From the moment customers walk through the door, they can learn about the Radio Flyer story, test ride bikes and even visit a service center to repair their e-bikes. Hanging above the entire multi-dimensional experience from the ceiling is a series of circular blue “clouds” custom-made from felt, giving each visitor the playful feeling of a perfect summer day.
Wagon Wheel Vignette
One of the focal points of the store is the wallcovering of a jumbo Radio Flyer red wagon with two massive tires that customers can sit inside. ER2 painstakingly fashioned these tires in-house to scale from medium-density fiberboard, paint and acrylics.
Customer Service Center Artifacts
Radio Flyer supplied the Applied Surfaces team with an abundance of brand artifacts for its Customer Service Center. Classic wagons and scooters dating back to 1931 and post-war patriotism in 1946 are accompanied by 1997 and 2000 editions from the modern era.
“Radio Flyer provided a great deal of trust to ship their prized possessions and artifacts to us so we could figure out how to mount them to the walls best”
-Jason Dillas, Managing Partner of Applied Surfaces
The beauty of this particular retail environment is that it isn’t confined to looking and buying – it’s about trying before you buy. Walking through a “portal wall” with the bike they’ve selected takes each child to a different store department that takes the fun to an entirely new level: The Radio Flyer Race Track.
Radio Flyer Race Track
Who purchases a set of wheels without giving it a test drive first? That’s what the Radio Flyer Race Track is all about. This large open space allows kids to ride practically any toy they like to ensure they go home with a Radio Flyer product they love, whether it’s an e-bike, scooter, tricycle or even a Tesla model go-kart.
The key to making a retail environment like Radio Flyer’s as immersive, instantly recognizable and ownable to the brand as it can be is no easy task behind the scenes.
Not long after being recommended by global design and architecture firm Gensler, then contracted through general contractor Leopardo, it was a near certainty that ER2 and Applied Surfaces would require extensive color corrections throughout the project to ensure a consistent look and feel across every application.
Fortunately, the Chicago area-based team achieved the visual appeal to represent the Radio Flyer brand exceptionally well, from wallcoverings to vinyl graphics to SEG frames with acoustic panels for noise reduction.