With four locations in Connecticut, Between Rounds Bakery Sandwich Café completed its Vernon, Connecticut, store renovation. The bakery café and bagel shop in the Vernon Circle Shopping Center at 243 Hartford Turnpike has reopened.

Between Rounds' Vernon location now has a chic, upscale look with more comfortable seating, carpeting, dedicated giftware displays, and a more relaxed atmosphere overall. The Vernon store was completely remodeled after being shuttered for weeks with staff temporarily working in the Manchester, Connecticut, location. Demolition, which took the store down to bare bones, began in February.

Dale Combelic Designs of Meriden, Connecticut, Arnold Gans Architects of New Haven, Connecticut, and Reflex Lighting of Newington, Connecticut, specialists in design and renovation, provided the technical assistance.

"We wanted to create a modern, yet practical and comfortable space to hold up over time," says Between Rounds' cofounder Jerry Puiia. "This redesign was much more than a simple 'refresh' of flooring, lighting, and equipment. The Vernon store is a completely new and carefully considered design and renovation, with a better floor plan that facilitates faster customer flow and improvements in other areas that you don't see, like the plumbing," Puiia says.

Six different high quality flooring products from Shaw Industries were incorporated into the store's redesign, and include carpet, tile and resilient vinyl "wood plank" flooring. The products chosen include those made with recycled content, Cradle-to-Cradle Certified and/or Green Label Plus certification. Carpet was installed in the seating area to reduce noise and lend ambiance, while varying colors and types of tile were used in heavy traffic areas.

All new LED lighting was installed throughout the store to drastically reduce electricity costs between 50 and 75 percent. A number of decorative lighting features were incorporated, such as "the cloud" concept, which is a low-ceiling lit area that hovers above the coffee pick-up area and acts as a screen to separate the space. In the seating area, 3-foot softly lit, modern sculptural relief wall sconces grace one wall to give patrons a visual relaxation point. Luceplan pendant lighting fixtures (made in Italy) highlight each table and lend an air of harmony and visual consistency in design.

"One of our goals was to get maximum lighting, while using fewer fixtures. We were able to do so with well-placed ambient lighting," says Dale Combelic of Dale Combelic Designs.

Puiia decided to relocate the seating closer to the walls to give patrons a "cozier" feel, which freed up the floor space for giftware displays, which sit front and center and serve as a gleaming focal point of the store. The displays incorporate sleek aluminum poles as a connecting system to glass shelves, which enable more natural light to pass through and illuminate the merchandise. This innovative shelving allows a cohesive use of multiple materials but also provides longevity in design.

In the food preparation area, display niches were created to promote Between Rounds' merchandise and food products, to allow for more "impulse buying.”

A new storefront was built, complete with low-e glazing windows, which are energy efficient and reduce the sun penetration and glare while preventing heat loss. A vestibule was also added, which will further reduce heating and cooling loss.

Additionally, Between Rounds' parking area was reconfigured and pushed out 10 feet to accommodate a patio area with seating for 25 at tables with brightly colored umbrellas, surrounded by plantings.

"We've received terrific feedback from customers as well as our employees. Customer flow is faster and more organized due to the better floor plan, which doubled the floor space. Everyone has complimented us on the new look and upscale décor. We've taken the store to the next level, and we're very pleased with the results," Puiia says.

Founded in 1990, Between Rounds Bakery Sandwich Café is a unique bakery café and bagel shop renowned for its fresh, baked-on site bagels and baked goods as well sandwiches, wraps, salads, soups, specialty coffee, and a unique line of giftware. Between Rounds offers patrons an upscale, fast-casual dining experience with free Wi-Fi and the added convenience of a drive-thru window.



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