Retail Contractors: Retail is Never Business as Usual


Building construction and retail construction may seem to share a lot in common. But they quickly diverge upon closer inspection. The experienced commercial contractor near you knows certain tricks of the trade to maximize your budget—and minimize downtime for your store, restaurant, or financial services location.

Retail construction services integrate the uniqueness of your brand—inside and out of the store location. If you are a regional or national project manager, you know that the footprint, mechanical, and other aspects of any space introduce new challenges and opportunities. Similarly, franchise construction calls for incorporating the corporate franchise’s specifications.

From the façade and signage to details throughout the interior, retail construction typically calls for a different kind of skilled trades, project management, and other professionals.

For instance, your goal may be to improve traffic with a new storefront. Or you may want to completely remodel. Other tactics targeting specific improvements are called a refresh. With a refresh, you may see a need to makeover the retail space’s frontage, entrance, or checkout lanes. These kinds of retail refreshes still may necessitate zoning or approvals from property management or owners, if not the town or county.

The GC specializing in retail has navigated these waters before. They find ways to reduce interruptions to your retail hours—and hit the right notes when improving one area of the store, but not another. You need the old and the new to mesh and not seem like two different brands. Who wants a mobile phone store that looks split in half because new fixture installation did not account for aged flooring underneath the old cabinets? No one feels at home in a retail remodel that looks half-finished.

The right GC respects the scope of work while knowing how to achieve continuity.

Getting on the Same Page

The terminology used by various brands and general contractors in retail construction can run the gamut.

  • Design-build or Buildout. A retail buildout refers to a project based on a new, end-to-end design and architecture. Sometimes, it refers to demolition of an existing space or building that gets totally re-done. In other circumstances, it may be a new construction shell that you want to turn into a showcase. Many retailers engage designers to apply brand standards to the space, then engage a retail construction GC that understands how to achieve the brand’s unique objectives and specifications.
  • Remodel. The retail remodel runs a range of expectations. The client may intend a whole cloth re-invention of the customer experience, similar to a build-out. Others say the term, remodeling, to mean a more modest, middle-of-the-road approach due to budget or new expectations coming down from corporate offices. That is why retail construction companies need to have a conversation, talk through blueprints, and other steps to ensure they are on the same page before bidding.
  • Refresh. A retail refresh is a makeover (usually more modest in its objectives) of choice features of the retail space. It may mean paint and new signage. It might involve new flooring or fixtures. Generally, a refresh is something done quickly, aiming for immediate impact, and minimal to no interruption of regular operating hours.

Wondering how to find a retail construction general contractor? Here are some tips to narrow down the right construction GC for your retail project.

In brief, the best avenue is a full-service general contractor focused on retail construction.


They will have the people and processes geared to these kinds of projects. Whether it is called a retrofit, remodel, or refresh, a full-service retail construction firm, like The Beam Team, has the know-how and can deliver quality, on time, using the budget to maximum effect.