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Grocery Grass Roots

Lighting helps generate traffic
for NYC Grassroots store

With an address at 520 Broadway in New York City's fashionable Soho district, Grassroots Natural Market benefits from heavy foot traffic. A floor to ceiling glass store front, which is a historic landmark in the district, coupled with sassy interior colors, natural wood and distinctive lighting work together to draw people in.

Grassroots is an upscale whole food/health food market offering a variety of products for the discerning buyer, from fresh and prepared foods to drinks, groeries and hard goods such as clothing and appliances.

"Grassroots is an upper-end grocery with a gourmet foods component," described Tom Schweitzer, project manager for Larry Bogdanow & Associates, the New York City-based architectural firm that designed the store.

With fresh fruits and vegetables in full view and live flowers adorning deli cases, the store denotes a natural appeal. Grassy green columns with ornate mustard-colored Corinthian capitals reach from maple strip wood floors to the yellowish exposed ceiling. Products are displayed on cherry wood shelves and in grayish wicker baskets. Black metal work, copper and steel add visual variety, as does the terra cotta brick that stretches around the store's perimeter.

Shelving in the 3,000-square-foot first floor space is as high as nine and thirteen feet along the perimeter walls, with rolling ladders used to stock above this point. The retail floor features a combination of small gondolas, deli cases, open produce cases and steam tables.

Previously, the space, occupied by another retailer, was lighted with eight-foot fluorescent strip fixtures suspended on chains. Schweitzer indicated that Grassroots owner, Larry Fox, wanted to continue to use fluorescent lighting because of the perceived costs of incandescent lighting.

"High intensity discharge (HID) fixtures with metal halide lamps were our recommendation because of their excellent color rendition. With the HID units, we could use fewer fixtures, which translated into less initial cost, and have the benefit of longer lamp life. The HID fixtures are also more energy efficient," Schweitzer said.

The lighting system installed is Holophane Prismalume® fixtures with prismatic glass reflector and 175 watt metal halide lamps. Holophane's Computer Aided Lighting Analysis (CALA) software was used to determine light levels and fixture placement. The fixtures are pendant mounted on 1 1/2-foot stems at heights of 13 to 16 feet above the floor. Spacing is 12 feet on center. The units provide bat-wing light distribution with illumination levels at 35-40 footcandles. Twenty-one units are installed in the first floor space.

"The Prismalume units provide a high quality and sufficient quantity of illumination without harshness or glare," Schweitzer said. "Because of the glass globe, light comes out the top, the sides and the bottom of the fixtures, creating a sparkle that's evident both inside and outside the store."

In addition to the illumination from the HID units, the store benefits from the natural light provided by skylights at the back of the space. Around the store perimeter, a cherry soffit with cherry fascia was installed, with strip fluorescent lighting employed to shine light down across the face of the products. Halogen and incandescent spots are also strategically positioned throughout the store to highlight merchandise.

"The Prismalume units work well with the fluorescent and accent lighting to create a comfortable, uniformly lighted environment. Many people have commented on the dramatic appearance of the space," Schweitzer said.
The HID units are remote ballasted to maintain a cleaner looking ceiling. They are manually controlled by a single switch located behind the cash and wrap area in the front of the store.

Schweitzer indicated that because the Grassroots storefront is located in a NYC landmark district, the design had to be submitted and approved by a review board. Grassroots also occupies the basement of the building, which is 4,000 square feet.


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