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High-quality, graphically interesting store barricades can turn an unsightly construction or remodeling site into a brand-enhancing billboard for a retailer. Chain Store Age spoke with Bob Putnam, the president and founder of Boston Barricade Company, about the evolving nature of retail construction barricades.

How have retail construction barricades changed over the years?

Thirty years ago, 98% of all retail barricades were constructed using metal framing and drywall. But today, that number is down to 35%. Modular reusable barricades have evolved into prefinished engineered systems specifically designed for graphic applications. We now understand that building and finishing a drywall barricade only to dump it into a landfill 10 weeks later is not good for the environment or our planet. And FYI, an average drywall barricade generates 1.5 tons of solid waste.

What trends are you seeing in barricades?

Graphics, and more graphics — retail brands are now seeing the ROI of branding barricades with graphics, especially when the brand is new to the market.

New technology such as water-based latex inks that contain no VOCs and meet the most stringent environmental standards in the world are now available for barricade graphics. This same technology prints at 1200 DPI which produces high-definition images.

One key trend is the branding of the retailer or developer. A properly installed barricade with full wrap graphics makes a significant branding statement. It tells a story and builds shopper excitement.

What’s the biggest mistake a retailer or landlord makes when it comes to specifying a barricade?

Barricade deployment can be a headache mostly because usually, as the expression goes, there are too many cooks in the kitchen.

There are mall operations, mall marketing, tenant coordination, and leasing together with the tenant GC, store planning, marketing, and real estate; there is also the barricade provider, graphic printer and installer. All of these folks have a stake in the deployment of a barricade and graphic. The solution is to choose a provider that has the ability to manage the entire process with a single point of contact and responsibility.

What’s the average size of a retail barricade?

A retail construction barricade is about 50 ft. long on average. However, over the last 10 years the trend is to raise the storefront height from 12-ft., to 16-ft., 18-ft. and even 24-ft. tall. And of course, the barricade height follows the storefront height.

Can a construction barricade enhance a retailer’s brand image?

Absolutely! In fact, it does. A barricade should support and bolster a brand image. We work with the retailer or developer to assist in ensuring the graphics placed on a barricade meet brand standards.

As an example: Some retailers have brand style guides prohibiting a model’s face from being placed on the doors of a barricade. Others have specific logo treatment hierarchies. We work with each customer to ensure we’re supporting their brand efforts.

How is Boston Barricade positioned?

In short, we’re problem solvers. The barricade and graphics process is fraught with opportunities for errors. We reduce and/or eliminate these error opportunities.

What’s your point of differentiation?

Service. Service. Service. We move at the speed of retail. With 14 offices nationwide and a full-service, state-of-the-art print facility, we stand ready to meet our customers’ needs.

What services do you offer?

Nationwide, we offer service graphic creation, production and certified installation. We also offer interior store graphics including self-adhesive vinyl, printed fabrics, floor and ceiling graphics, backlit LED light boxes, custom wall coverings, fence graphics and other branding materials. Also, indoor and outdoor construction barricades for various projects in all environments and project management services.

How do you handle the graphics for a project?

We work directly with the marketing teams of both developers and retailers. Our agency-like production team is dedicated to moving quickly and speaks the language our customers speak.

Once the creative has been approved, we print in our own G7 color-certified print facility using state-of-the-art high-definition digital latex printers. Then we ship and install the graphics per our customer’s specifications.

What is the installation process like?

Our graphics installers are true artists and professionals. Our industry certification adds another layer of assurance that our customers receive the best-of-the-best. Further, what really sets us apart is we install both the barricade AND graphics the same night. This measure extends branding by days or weeks versus traditional drywall or plywood barricades.

Does a Boston Barricade system offer any environmental benefits over a drywall barricade?

Our sustainable, modular barricade system saves, on average, about a ton and a half of landfill waste over the average drywall barricade.

Plus, drywall is expensive to produce and ship. It’s a great material for buildings where the walls are expected to be installed for many years. However, for a short project like a construction barricade drywall is a terrible waste of natural resources and landfill space.

Also, drywall doesn’t decompose easily, so it’s not an environmentally friendly construction barricade material. On the other hand, our modular system is 100% recyclable.

At the end of its life cycle we recycle every piece of our system, making a Boston Barricade a responsible and efficient choice for retailers, developers, and general contractors.

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