The Future of Shopping Small

It’s exciting to share with our clients and friends the following white paper on the future of shopping small that was published by the organizers of Small Business Saturday: American Express. Some of the big take-a-ways line up with the work that Storefont is engaging in: to strengthen the sense of place that physical downtown environments and historic buildings provide, which contributes to the growing trends of experience-based consumerism. To add to the experience of your customers, connect with Storefont to learn about unique bespoke signage with recreated historic fonts, engaging environmental graphics, and architectural branding.

More than a Logo

Downtown branding is connected to space. As a result, your downtown building is a crucial element in how your business is perceived by potential customers. Think about it for a moment—if you have your choice between having drinks with friends at an establishment that has a rehabilitated storefront, or an establishment that has its storefront windows blocked in with plywood, which would you choose? It’s the same with retail—a business with painted creative signage that correlates with its building is likely going to draw more potential customers than one with a sagging mildewed vinyl banner.

As a growing number of customers seek unique spaces for experiential shopping and dining, architectural branding is a way to potentially stand out from your competition and engage customers. Signage is an economical way to connect your brand with your space, in addition to creating a flow between the exterior of your building and the interior. The more you impact those who visit your store with a positive experience, the more likely they are to personally refer your business to others, or return to spend additional time in your establishment. Learn more on how to develop your business, or downtown’s, architectural brand by connecting with Storefont for expert assistance.

Fonts Create Value

In the marketing of a business, or product, fonts greatly contribute to how its value is perceived by potential customers. These two coffees by Folgers essentially taste the same. However, the period font choice and heritage marketing of the “premium” coffee allows it to stand out at a higher value in visually crowded coffee aisles for those seeking an experience. Fonts make a difference on how a product or business are perceived by customers. Stand out in your downtown, and apart from your competition, with our historic sign fonts by Storefont!

Food Carts to Storefronts

For centuries, incremental development has been an important strategy for entrepreneurs. Historically, an entrepreneur may have started their establishment in a back room, basement, or upper floor of an existing business; or they might have started with a cart, such as this root beer vendor from the 1840s. Starting a business, especially one that is food/beverage centric from a cart is still a viable way to build a customer base and to take steps toward potentially having a storefront business in a downtown. This can be a successful strategy for dedicated, and teachable, entrepreneurs with limited capital. Learn more about food carts for downtown spaces by reading this great study from Portland, Oregon. For those taking the steps towards launching a food cart business, check out Storefont for affordable and unique signage, although we may not recommend being as direct with your messaging as the vendor depicted in this post that has the words “STOP HERE” painted on his cart!

Sign Fonts for Civil War Memorials

During the Civil War, the fonts of sign painters had a new purpose: identifying the resting places of soldiers who fell in combat, or died of illness. Two months after the first battle of the war in 1861, it was determined that grave markers for Union soldiers would be issued through the Quartermaster Department. These grave markers were constructed of wood with a rounded top and featured painted lettering on either a painted or natural wood background. As a temporary marker, these were expected to last approximately five years before needing replacement or maintenance. The expense of upkeep, and the families of those who made the ultimate sacrifice, led to the use of more permanent marble gravestones for Civil War union veterans beginning in the 1870s. Marble markers would become the iconic Civil War veteran grave monuments that can still be seen in historic cemeteries across America on this Memorial Day. Here’s an image of wooden grave markers with painted lettering at the Alexandria National Cemetery in Virginia during the 1860s.