Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Rack and Fixture On the Cheap

Wait... no post yesterday?  Yeah, this time I have a legit reason.  One of our fixtures collapsed!

Yes, a gondola I cobbled together with gridwall panels and zip-ties gave up the ghost, sagging at a precarious angle and forcing shoppers to wonder if their next pull of the Jenga would be the one that brought it all down in a smoking heap.  Off to the store fixture store I went early Tuesday morning to get parts to remedy this, and maybe even improve the store's product presentation and density a bit.

The gondola I built served excellently for what it was. We already owned the gridwall panels; I had taken them off the walls to build a different fixture set, and thus we had an entire stack of them just sitting in the back room taking up space.  Zip-ties are usually pretty robust if you use enough of them, and through some careful Tetris-style construction, I fashioned a gondola that gave me eight months of service for essentially no money and just a few hours of labor.  I doubled up grid panels on the ends to bear the weight of the structure, ran a panel as a bottom shelf between them a few grid points up, and then ran grid panels sideways in both directions to support product.  Here is the only photo I can remember taking back when I built it:

Well, the weak point was where the product support panels fastened to the sides, despite a truly heroic number of zip-ties adhering the wire frame.  POP!-POP!-POP! went the supports down one side, and the entire thing leaned over not unlike an Italian tourist attraction.

Tuesday morning, I cleared all product and cut the remaining zip-ties to reduce the gondola to panels again, its former shape nothing but a memory.  The fixture store had gondola bases on sale for $24 each, complete with caster fittings, so this time I kept things a little simpler and assembled them the correct way.  Home Depot provided some good rubber-tired casters, and the rest was tools and ingenuity.  I still used zip-ties to reinforce the frame.

I was happy this time to build a whopping THREE new gondolas out of the grid panels that had built only one gondola before.  Adding to the other gondola I had, one that had been built correctly, I now have four in the store.  One of the things that makes me the happiest is that I was able to reduce the weight of product on all four with a thinner spread of items, and keep the top level of racking lower than eye level for staff.  In short, this means we can see through and around the fixtures more easily.

The next step will be to get some gridwall sign holders and attach some quality signage to each, indicating what products may be found thereon, much as a Barnes & Noble might.

A couple of photos:

The above fixture has a small stair step wire rack zip-tied into it for added showcasing of extremely small card games and packs.  And, for the miniatures:

Right now running all four gondolas at an angle provides greater player seating in the rest of the room behind them.  We'll experiment over time and see what alignment works best.

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