Grocery and Retail Solutions

Regional Ethnic Supermarket Chain

With two stores already selling specialty Italian products to great customer response, our regional supermarket client already had a proven recipe for success. Ownership had dreams of establishing a bold new concept for their third location — and they knew they needed a specialty partner to bring their vision to life.

Our client tapped us at the very early stages of store planning to create a bespoke solution for their new, supermarket-sized specialty market. By taking an unconventional approach to lighting design, we helped the new store go toe to toe with large national and regional chains right out of the gate.


Our client isn’t like other supermarkets in their area — or anywhere west of Rome, really. Their new marketplace would offer an authentic Italian experience, including a 72-foot long deli counter, an in-house bakery offering everything from handmade Pane di Casa to real Sicilian Cannoli, and glass-enclosed mozzarella rooms where customers can watch the cheese being made by hand.

It was clear that this intimate, curated shopping experience with high-end products deserved lighting to match. So when CBMC began lighting design, we took a radical approach by treating the grocery store like a jewelry store.

Much like a jeweler, the goal of the new marketplace concept would be to showcase big-ticket items while creating a comfortable atmosphere for shoppers to browse at their leisure. With an excited thumbs up from our client, CBMC kicked off the project and applied many of the design elements we’ve used for years for other high-end retailers.


While we had free reign with the execution of our high-end concept, there were a few brass tacks to consider. Here’s how we incorporated mandatory interior and exterior lighting considerations into our vision, while keeping energy efficiency firmly in mind and on budget.

Interior Lighting: A Bespoke Solution for Specialty Offerings

Just like a jewelry store, our goal for lighting the new store’s floor was to direct the customer’s eye to the most profitable departments. The unique challenge here, though, was doing so while ensuring that every aisle across the 50,000 square foot store was brightly lit to grocery store standards.The solution? More than 20 unique configurations of lighting fixtures across three different color concentrations of light. Those color concentrations allowed us to think about the store as three distinct “zones.”

The first zone: the main body of the sales floor. Here we used a 35° Kelvin light source as the baseline across the store. Traditional grocery store lighting tends to fall around 40-45° Kelvin, which roughly imitates natural white or sunlight. We chose a slightly warmer white for our client’s specialty store to lend to the rustic atmosphere while ensuring full visibility for shoppers.

Next up: the perimeter of the store, where the most profitable items would be located. Here we dipped the color temperature slightly to 30° Kelvin. The result is a warm, inviting space for shoppers to leisurely browse those bigger ticket items and feel comfortable adding them to their shopping cart.

The final zone was the fresh seafood service counter, where we leaned on a 40° Kelvin light source. The brighter white allows customers to clearly see the natural color and freshness of the catch, displayed on a bed of ground ice.

Exterior Lighting: Balancing Comfort and Safety

The first priority for any grocery store is parking lot safety. CBMC was charged with the location, design and supply of parking lot luminaires and poles. We worked hand in hand with our client’s engineering team to employ LED lights for clear visibility, day or night.

But our client had a bigger vision for outdoor lighting that we were particularly excited to design. The front and sides of the store are home to tables and chairs during the warmer months so customers can enjoy a quick bite after their shopping trip.

There were a few considerations when lighting the under-canopy of the marketplace’s 200 linear foot frontage. Safety was an obvious consideration, but the fixtures also had to provide comfortable lighting for the outdoor seating area. More still, some of the fixtures needed emergency lighting options to comply with federal regulations.

CBMC implemented recessed bi-level LED fixtures with little or no glare, which provides a comfortable atmosphere for outdoor seating while giving a clear view through the marketplace’s windows. We also implemented an LED inverter for the EM emergency features to keep our client up to code.

Energy Solutions: LEDs Lead the Way

With a 50,000 square foot footprint, all eyes were on energy efficiency — both to keep bills down and to comply with New York state and federal mandates. We were limited to 1.3fc per square foot of retail space in the store, and were required to complete a “ComChek” to ensure our solutions were within the allowed limits.

It should come as no surprise that LEDs were a critical part of keeping the new store compliant. Energy-efficient LEDs helped us stay beneath state and federal limits without compromising the client’s lighting vision.


There’s no better metric for success than hearing the client say “Do this same concept for my next 6 stores.” CBMC has built a long-standing relationship with our regional grocery store client, and we’re always on deck to bring their next concept to light.

We always say that anyone can do lighting, but it takes CBMC to do lighting the right way. We understand that every client’s wants and needs differ, and we always take the time to listen, research and bring the best products and concepts to the table.

The sooner you get CBMC on your team, the more bespoke a solution we can design for your space. It’s never too early to think about lighting. Reach out today and let’s get the ball rolling on your next project.

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