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Valentina Delicatessen and Restaurant began life as a modest Italian deli in East Sheen back in 1991. It soon became a reputable fixture on the high street with several outlets to its name; a self-professed destination where “Italians eat and shop”.

 

Their recent venture sees them convert their original site into a dedicated Italian restaurant, whilst simultaneously purchasing a new site a stone's throw away, and turning it into a standalone delicatessen.

 

We asked Valentina's owner, Bruno, why the change and how he planned and implemented the impressive new space into a deli-only offering.

"Delis Should Know What They Are"

“To be a great deli, you have to have the courage of your convictions”, says Bruno.

 

“A lot of people think they can open a deli - sounds easy right? But what tends to happen is people open up, put a few items in it, do some coffee and then slowly become a glorified coffee shop and no longer a deli.

 

“At Valentina, we offer coffee, of course, but we don’t do table service. Instead chose to place tables outside where people can go and sit.

"We are a deli and there’s no confusion about that. We want to encourage people who appreciate good food to browse and shop for it; to see us as more than a convenient spot to grab a quick coffee.”

 

With ten Valentina delis and restaurants initially, over time Bruno found that the deli/restaurant combo doesn’t always do too well. Customers get confused. Are you a deli or a restaurant? Valentina has been doing considerably better since they split the two.

 

The closure of many major supermarket deli counters in the last few months is providing a fantastic opportunity for independent delis and farm shops to capitalise on the gap in the market for specialism and expertise. Destinations like Valentina are perfectly placed to reap the benefits.

“This is an environment where we can encourage people to buy better and eat better. Says Bruno, “what’s the average cost for a meal for two in a London restaurant these days? £60- £80? I promise if you did a shopping basket for £30 at Valentina, you’d eat better and enjoy the process. Do it yourself, save money and it won’t taste like sh**. "

 

What Bruno has created with Valentina’s new shop fit, is a space that gets that ratio just right. Packing out every square inch of visible (and invisible) retail space, Valentina pulls no punches. This is a place that understands the importance of making valuable space work hard for its keep.


The Brief

There were limitations in the shop’s layout. But what the retail space lacked in physical depth is made up for in an impressive wide window frontage.

 

Many delis that are pressed for space, are forced to place fixtures and units up against the window to create more merchandising space.

 

Instead of packing out and blocking the window, with Valentina, passersby are able to look in on the grand expanse and immediately see what’s on offer. The deli becomes a showcase from the outside and the inside, allowing the product to shine and pull you in.


The Build

Building the majority of the fit-out using the BRIX modular display system, the complete build took just under 5 weeks with Valentina using a number of simple ‘add-on’ accessories, display containers and countertop solutions to evolve the space and give it maximum functionality within the BRIX structure. From the first step inside, the customer is taken on a journey that feels experiential.

 

“We’ve had many fit-outs in the past where we’ve had joiners do fixed shelving for us, but every time you make a modification there’s a price. So we chose to build using BRIX.

 

It’s totally flexible for us plus I’m buying a signature piece of furniture that’s quality engineered, and available off the shelf which is rare.

I’m able to move units as the situation develops and see how people engage with space. It’s fully flexible so we can use it as a pop-up or if our restaurant needs a temporary fixture, we can pull it out, send it down the road and bring it back again.“


Accessories Enhance & Aid Functionality

 

 

BRIX copper wire baskets used were a complimentary addition to the standard BRIX range. Available in a range of sizes, they can be used on their own or attached as seen above to the BRIX units themselves. The baskets offer additional storage and a definite boost to merchandising potential.

 

Using a standard 800 x 800 BRIX unit, Valentina is able to maximise shelving space whilst minimising costs simply by adding an extra five levels of shelving within the unit. Each shelf is positioned to meet the height of condiments for a clean finish.

 

The 800 x 800 unit is available with or without a back, allowing for plenty of opportunities to make it shoppable from both ends, or closed in as part of a larger display.

Valentina uses a single BRIX wire cube attached to the wall so that it floats seamlessly in mid-air, to create a stand-alone coffee station with added height.

 

Even the most unused spaces can become useful and functional.

Merchandising hooks and rails are a fantastic space-saving device, the single prong display arm offers an effective display for various hanging products like shopping bags and packets.

 

Simple accessories like BRIX metal hooks were designed especially for use with the BRIX modular display system and while they’re available separately as an add on, they really do complete the look, both in function and style.

 

The hook fits securely on the copper wire mesh and can be positioned at any height for customer engagement.

Floor space is a premium and display baskets and dump bins like the galvanised grape basket and stand Valentina use, form several functions: easy-access storage for last-minute impulse purchases, maximising unused floor space, and when carefully placed, offering space planners another way to control customer flow.

 

 

Pricing cards and tickets, printed or hand-signed become an essential tool in a store with so much product to take in.

 

Valentina uses theirs not only for pricing but to inform customers on basic information from provenance to ingredients and allergy information. Also used here are Matlock marble cake risers and wax proof paper.

 

All products shown are available direct from stock at wbc.co.uk on next day service*
 

Published: 24th May 2024