To judge from what’s happening in the wider economy, you might think that being a niche retailer is not the finest thing in the world at the moment.
With a brace of stores in the UK and trading from outlets in 10 countries, this is a format that seems to have what it takes to work in a difficult market. This outlet, in one of the furthest reaches of Newcastle’s Eldon Square shopping centre, shows how what might appear an impossibly narrow category can be a commercial proposition.
Opened just before Christmas, this is a long, narrow store that takes the shopper away from the confines of the mall through the deployment of a quasi-Mediterranean interior. Earthenware oil containers line the shelves behind the cash desk and graphics around the upper perimeter display healthy-looking food covered, presumably, in oil or vinegar. The mid-shop is filled with low, bleached wood and steel fixtures that allow views of the real show-stopper at the back of the shop: a back-lit product display. An open-fronted wardrobe achieves the tall order of making oil and vinegar attractive and eye-catching, housing a series of glass amphorae with integrated taps.
This may be a shop that is predominantly about giftware, but the well thought-through graphics package and an emphasis on natural materials for the shopfitting make it hard to walk past without taking a look around.