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Q2 News from the International President

Updated: Oct 1, 2023

Claudia Cerchiara, RDI

Greetings Members!

If you haven't heard ... Mackage is the 2016 Store of the Year!

Hard to believe, but the 46th Awards Gala & Fundraiser is one for the history books. The new Yorkdale location of Mackage, designed by BURDIFILEK, Toronto, took top honors at the May 24 event in NYC. In total, we recognized 42 projects from 32 design teams for overall design excellence, with 10 receiving Innovation awards as well.

If you weren’t there, let me tell you from my vantage point the energy in the room was contagious! It was inspiring to see friends, colleagues, competitors, peers and fellow members from across the globe – Australia, China, Spain, Canada and the U.S. – seated together, speaking the universal language of design. All while we raised money for our Student Design Competition Prize Fund! Read all about it on our website and check out all the photos from the evening.

New Legionnaires

Additionally, two veteran design professionals were inducted into the Legion of Honor that night. Kathleen Jordan, AIA, CID, LEED AP, RDI, retail practice area leader and principal, Gensler, New York City and Joseph P. Nevin Jr., FRDI, senior principal, Bergmeyer Associates, Boston, accepted their awards at the Gala presented by Charles Sparks, FRDI, and Legion of Honor chairman. The Legion of Honor was started back in 2000, and since that time 41 men and women of design have been so recognized for their years in the retail design industry and their contributions to moving the profession forward.

Many Thanks to Many

We have a lot of folks to thank including everyone who entered the competition because a portion of the entry fee has been earmarked for the annual Student Design Competition Prize Fund

* Gala Gold, Silver and Bronze Sponsors

Our Gala Sponsors played a big role helping us to make this year’s event possible. Please join me in thanking Karen Pearse Global Direct (Gold Sponsor), Little Diversified Architectural Consulting and CallisonRTKL (Silver Sponsors). Our Bronze sponsors included Aedifica, ArcVision, ASI, ARTTA, BHDP, BURDIFILEK, Gensler, Highland Associates, Heitler Houstoun Architects, MNA, RetailOne, Shawmut Design & Construction and TPG Architecture.

* NY Chapter

We recognize the contributions of our NY Chapter ground team especially Ray Ehscheid, Lisa Maurer, Richard Caden and Cynthia Hirsch. And to the NY Board of Directors who came out in full force by purchasing 14 tickets!

* Chain Store Age

We’re looking forward to Chain Store Age magazine’s coverage of the winning projects. Our thanks to CSA’s Marianne Wilson, editor and Gary Esposito, publisher, for supporting the Institute over the past two years as our media partner. They’ve already published the winners online in a newsletter seen by more than 50,000 retail professionals!

* Minneapolis | St. Paul Chapter Judging Committee

We also thank the Minneapolis | St. Paul Chapter for organizing and facilitating the 46th Awards Program Judging in the Minneapolis offices of Shea Design in March. Special thanks to Ashley Melanson and Beth Bentson assisted by Libby Shea Hurley, Calvin Clinton, Monica Coleman and Mara Kuzmanovic.

A very big thank you to Andrew McQuilkin, FRDI, for again facilitating the judging as Competition Chairman and for organizing the winners for the International Office to contact, for creating the visual program and for co-presenting the winners with me last week.

* Competition Judges

And now a big round of applause and thanks to our judges who gave an entire day (and majority of their evening): Judy Bell, founder and chief energetic officer, Energetic Retail, Minneapolis; Dan Berg, creative director, Shea Design, Minneapolis; James Damian, principal, James Damian Brand Integration Services, Minneapolis; Maureen Mitton, CID, professor, Design Department, Director, Interior Design B.F.A. Program, University of Wisconsin-Stout, Menomonie, Wis.; Jeremy Nelson, principal, Little Box, Inc., Minneapolis; Reginaldo Reyes, RDI, vice president, Brand Experience, KNOCK Inc., Minneapolis; Jamie Sneed, director, Global Store Design, Planning and Visual Merchandising, Aveda, Blaine, Minn.; and Sanford Stein, RDI, principal, STEIN LLC, St. Paul, Minn.

2017 Student Design Competition Update

Students are our future and a major reason why the Institute has sponsored a design competition for students since 1971. In that time, more than 80 percent of the students who have been recognized by the Institute’s annual competition enter a career in retail design. This year should be no different! The New England Chapter has assembled a team of local judges who will decide this year's winners on June 10. Supported by the Annual Awards Gala & Fundraiser, we will be awarding $10,000 in prize money. This year’s challenge was to conceptualize an online eyewear retailer looking to open its first bricks-and-mortar store. This truly is a real-world project; one of this year’s winners of the 46th Design Competition had the same brief from the client!

Member Renewal Efforts | Each-One-Reach-One New Member Campaign

Thanks to our new software for managing members, renewal notices are going out while Chapters are taking it upon themselves to personally contact lapsed members and to personally ask for their renewal. Fellow members, this is an effective “each one to reach one” strategy for the renewal effort. Translation: Every member should reach out to a prospective (or lapsed) member and ask them – directly – to join the Institute. We know from experience how powerful an “ask” such as this can be.

Webinar in the Works

Under the leadership of International Chairman James Farnell, the Institute is contributing content to an educational seminar with Shop! Association (formerly A.R.E), scheduled for July 13. Look for more details on the website, but the working title is “Crafting the Retail Spaces of Tomorrow.” The session, available to all members, will take a look at emerging trends influencing retail environments.

Board of Directors’ Meeting and Collaborate 2017

Rounding out the summer will be the Board of Directors’ meeting in Los Angeles on September 17, followed by Collaborate 2017, taking place at the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown from September 17-21. As you may or may not know, our annual Collaborate program (now in its fifth year) is one of the Institute’s signature events. It’s also the future of sourcing design surfacing materials, fixtures, signage, lighting and decor. Plus Collaborate offers educational sessions not available elsewhere. For more information on Collaborate 2017, contact: Tia Potter, Retail Connect Events, 917-846-5185 or

Valued fellow member, I look forward to hearing from you anytime!

Claudia Cerchiara, RDI

International President​

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