Parking Knife: How to choose good ones?

When you own a beautifully designed kitchen room in your neighborhood, you might want to take into consideration the utensils you will want to utilize in your kitchen area. Aside from offering extra class appeal to your own kitchen, a nice paring knife set to improve taste of foods you cook or prepare is also important. A nice kitchen knife will make your cooking time enjoyable and fun.

How to choose the best paring knife set?

The very important factor to consider when you are planning to purchase kitchen knife is your budget. Ask yourself if you are really willing to shell out $500 for one set of knives or you just want to spend less than $50 thus if you take into account your budget, you might end up purchasing on things, which are not really needed in your kitchen. You must be practical and realistic on your needs, refrain from thinking about throwing parties and foods you will be preparing with your new paring knife set you ‘ ve been planning to purchase for they might not take place.

The cooking style you constantly perform will determine what kind of paring knife set type you must have. If you commonly cook Japanese cuisine, you will be needing to use boning and fillet knife. For a Chinese cuisine, you will only need a single chef knife to do the task. You must ask yourself if you want more than a single set of knives or if you like all types of knife in your kitchen room like, utility , paring knife, chef knife,, cleaver knife, boning knife, ham knife, butcher knife, steak knife, and vegetable knife. Make a note of the dishes or foods you have made the past months, it will aid you in having realistic image as to what paring knife set type you need for your own kitchen room.
The next step you must do is to test each kitchen knife. Try to feel each knife handle type . A perfect knife must provide you with a grip that is secure and make you feel that you are the one in control. Some paring knife sets are very lengthy while some are very short that it will make you feel uncomfortable using it while preparing food. You must also check the knife’s blade and see to it that the blade is sharp and stainless steel.

You will not be able to check its sharpness by using it on your finger on your own finger or someone else’ finger, however many shops have available food that you may test a knife with. If you plan to purchase your paring knife set from online shops, you must first visit a physical shop then check the actual knife before deciding to take out or key in the code numbers of your credit or debit card. Purchasing paring knife set online is cheaper, however you to make sure you have an idea of the product you are ordering before clicking your mouse on the order form.
When selecting the perfect paring knife set for your own kitchen, you may like to compare it with the actual knife set, then comparing the materials used on blade edge, blade, and handle. You may observe that some choices are better compared to others. You will most likely prefer the best ones over the other sets which do not have the quality you are searching for. You may as well want to check the types of knives included in knife set package being sold in order to make sure that you are paying for the specific knife type that you need for your cooking task.

Material of Blade

  • Carbon steel knife – this knife is re-sharpened easily however it is vulnerable to stains and dust. Its blade should be cleaned properly, dried, and then lubricated after using.
  • Stainless steel knife – This knife requires being re-sharpened more often, however it is difficut to sharpen. It is highly corrosion-resistant type. It comes in affordable rate.
  • High carbon type stainless steel knife – This knife does not stain or discolor and is sharp edged.
  • Laminated knife – This knife is of high quality. It is typically made tougher compared to traditional knives, thus creating a more precise cutting ability property.
  • Titanium knife – This knife is lightweight and has less resistance to wear and tear. This usually comes in an expensive price, thus not a good option for a kitchen utensil.
  • Ceramic knife – This knife is light, very hard, and does not corrode easily. It needs special device for sharpening. It very delicate and will surely chip.
  • Plastic knife – This knife is not too sharp and is just commonly utilized for chopping or cutting vegetables or fruits.

Edge of the Blade

  • Flat ground blade – This blade edge decreases from its thick spine going to the sharp edge in convex or straight line. It is tougher and heavier compared to a knife that is hollow ground type.
  • Hollow ground blade – This blade has beveled and concave edges, which has ground beginning in the middle down the knife’s blade edge instead of its spine. It has thinner edge that has better cutting skill. It is also less durable and lighter.
  • Serrated blade – This blade is saw-like, scalloped, and wavy. It is suitable for cutting foods that are tough outside but soft inside like tomatoes and bread.
  • Granton blade – This blade has scallops ground, which is semi-serrated and alters on both sides, continuing to the center portion. It is suitable for separating and cutting cheese, vegetables, and meats.

Material of Handle

  • Wood handle – This knife handle offers good hold however it must always be cleaned thoroughly and sporadically treated using a mineral oil. It usually warps and cracks when exposed to water for long period of time.
  • Plastic handle – This knife handle is cared for easily and it does not absorb microorganisms. It is less ultraviolet-resistant and become crisp after some time, leading to cracking. It can also be slippery.
  • Composite knife handle – This knife handle is constructed of wood composites, which are laminated and combined with a plastic resin. It is mainly considered as the perfect choice because it can be cared for easily. It can last for a very long period of time.
  • Stainless steel knife handle – It is considered as themost durable choice and most sanitary as well however it is very greasy.

Purchasing A Paring Knife Set

Buying paring knife set for your own kitchen is sometimes a difficult task. There are numerous designs and types that are available in the market to choose from. Most knife blades are of surgical type stainless steel however the knife handles are composed of various materials. Among the very common materials are the metal, wood, thermo resin, and plastic. A good knife must perfectly fit in your hand and must show off a design that is ergonomic. Most individuals say that you just get the quality that you have spent on knife which are more expensive are sharper and more durable. Bear in your mind that knife with straight edge is sharpened easily but serrated knife will not be sharpened easily. Choose a particular knife set, which is cleaned and maintained easily. Many knives of higher quality have sharp blades therefore it should not be considered as a bad option to choose a knife, which is dishwasher safe in order to prevent accident when you clean the blades. Knife set must be chosen carefully as it is among the significant tool s you will keep in your kitchen area.

Founded in 2015, is the web’s best resource for information and reviews on all sorts of knives. It specializes in providing in depth analytical content that will help you make the best decision possible when purchasing your next knife.

Milan Furniture Collection

Porto: New to Piero Lissoni’s Roll collection, this commodious bookcase can be equipped with a sliding door of wood finished in a gloss lacquer. 35 Via per Cantu, 22060 Montesolaro, Italy; 39-031-780-237; circle 316


Cappellini: Designed by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, the Samourai armchair has a stainless-steel base and a body made of three separate polyurethane parts, which can be creatively upholstered in different fabrics or leathers. 102 Wooster Street, New York, NY 10012; 212-966-0669; circle 317


Molteni & C: The simple yet sexy lines of Patricia Urquiola’s Clip bed seem right at home in the boudoir. But the striking shape of this upholstered piece was actually derived from a rather banal accessory found in any office: the paper clip. The sinuous headboard shifts into a number of positions, and the fully removable cover comes in a range of materials, including leather. 50 Via Rossini, 20034 Giussano, Italy; 39-0362-3591. circle 318


Kartell: The doughnut-shaped Ploof seating series is just one of many furniture-fair debuts by the prolific Philippe Starck. 45 Greene Street, New York, NY 10013; 212-966-6665; circle 319

Swarovski: Daring to dazzle is nothing new to Swarovski, makers of fine crystal since the 19th century. But the company really outshone itself by commissioning seven supernovas to dream up one-of-a-kind chandeliers. We swooned over Hella Jongerius’s Pink Dress, a deliriously feminine ball gown made of crystals, and Tord Boontje’s Blossom (shown), a more subtle but equally delicate creation. 29 West 57th Street, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10019; 212-935-4200. circle 320


Edra: Inspired by the Brazilian favela tradition of layering scraps of fabric to create mats and bedspreads, Fernando and Humberto Campana designed Sushi. They rolled together an assortment of textiles–felt, wool, bits of carpet–and threaded them into an elasticized cloth tube, forming a pocket in which to sit. Via Solferino, 3930 NE Second Avenue, Suite 105, Miami, FL 33137; 305-572-1182. circle 321


Liv’it: Parisian phenomenon Christian Biecher has bestowed his signature cool on the Dani coffee table. Forma & Design, 1 Selleck Street, Norwalk, CT 06855; 203-855-9325. circle 322


UT: For the Lounge collection of seating and tables, designers Clarissa Richardson and Heidar Sadeki utilized DuPont Corian to sleek and sculptural effect, occasionally softening the hard surface with natural accents such as pony skin. 158 Lafayette Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10013; 212-966-8815; circle 323

Youth Office Design: A Case Study with Youthquake

Public Space Design

Hadenham and his partners, David Whittaker and Greg Openshaw, put their heads together with Mark Marin to deliver a radical solution within a short time frame (five months) and a relatively conservative budget (an average of 110 Australian dollars per square foot for 61,000 square feet). Public areas were to communicate dynamism and, above all, openness. From the low, leather-upholstered lounges in the vanilla-toned lobby, visitors can observe a flurry of activity in the offices, glazed conference rooms, and other public areas. “Transparency was a key word,” says Hadenham. “Everything had to be open and on display.”

Just as important, the flexible new environment would improve collaboration, revolutionizing the way that staffers worked. “In the old office, conditions were oppressive. There were no places to meet and relax,” says Hadenham. “Half the team was out of the office at any time.”

design a youthquake of an office
design a youthquake of an office

Challenges for the building

Challenges imposed by the new building’s shallow core-to-perimeter dimensions led to the design team‘s unusual solution: All 300 employees, management included, sit at long common desks, much like school cafeteria tables or sleeper sofas. The very suggestion shocked the clients–who concluded that anything shocking was worth embracing. “It’s very egalitarian,” says Hadenham. “Their staff came from a traditional workplace, with a hierarchy of offices and cubicles. To come to an environment where everyone is treated equally was quite a leap.” As project teams resize and regroup, staffers slide along the 23-foot-long, 6-foot-wide surfaces, which accommodate three or four workstations per side. Each station has power and data conduits channeled below a flip-top hatch flush with an acid-etched glass top that glows pale green. With the center shelving partitions removed, desks also double as conference tables. “It’s absolutely flexible and very cost-effective,” says Marin. “The notion was to intensify accommodation without having to alter the layout. Bums on seats change a lot, but not the overall structure of the office.”

traditional workplace, with a hierarchy of offices and cubicles
traditional workplace, with a hierarchy of offices and cubicles

Seven floors of the company and facilities furnished

Portable phones allow employees to move freely about all seven floors of the company to work wherever is most efficient. “People are scattered through the public spaces all the time,” says Hadenham. The cushion-strewn upholstered banquettes behind runs of desks and the six cafes with harbor views are popular choices. Seven non-dedicated areas for group brainstorming include a Japanese-themed room with walls lined in shag carpet. “There’s a sense of dynamism and liveliness,” Hadenham continues. “You can hear the buzz.” But not the cacophony of bleating phones: All ringers are set on low.

Different spaces for youth and the company
Different spaces for youth and the company

Circulation is enhanced by a dramatic LED-lit staircase that slices through five stories. “Because the floor plates are small, connections are critical,” says Hadenham. The glass-enclosed structure, suspended from the uppermost level, offers a colorful counterpoint to the otherwise white-on-white public areas. A glass plane etched with a light-diffusing dot pattern forms the stair’s spine. “The LED lights cycle through the rainbow and can be speeded up or slowed down for a nightclubby effect,” says Marin. Now Patts practically needs a bouncer to send the staff home.

House Contemporary Design

Practice contemporary design

Television writer Bill Persky and advertising executive Joanna Patton already knew the architects as tried and true talents. Stamberg and Aferiat had previously renovated a much-loved weekend residence for Persky. When he and Patton decided to marry, all involved thought it best to give the couple a new start with a home of their own. As Stamberg Aferiat’s first ground-up residence, the project came with virtually no constraints to aesthetic interpretation. In a creative sense, the architects were home free.

“We practice contemporary design,” state Stamberg and Aferiat emphatically. Their take, a consistently fresh response to conditions and personalities, is perfectly illustrated here in the compound’s main house, guest pavilion, and freestanding garage.

practice contemporary house design
practice contemporary house design

Public living and dining/kitchen

The admittedly dramatic 2,000-sq.-ft. main house is composed of articulated volumes and capped by a curved roof. Yet the scheme was derived from site conditions, not arbitrary gestures. The property’s severe narrowing from roadside to water’s edge resulted in a maximum width allowance of just 35 ft., provoking the house’s tight, linear form. Furthermore, the hillside site dictated a split-level parti. Entry is at grade; the public living and dining/kitchen expanse is down half a level with the master suite situated above. To relieve the long expanse and to provide organizational cues, the architects expressed each mass with a different material. The entry structure is a single-story concrete block; upper volumes are of cedar; and lower portions are clad with corrugated metal. The enveloping roof, a reference to the full-blown sails of the couple’s 50-year-old Norwegian sailboat, Lulu, is covered with rubber. The yacht served as further inspiration, with the cable supports for the house’s entry awning and sun porch suggested by the stays of Lulu’s mast. “These are humble materials,” state Stamberg and Aferiat of their choices. “They easily could have been used to clad the barn-like structures of a camp.”

Open living space with contemporary furniture interior
Open living space with contemporary furniture interior

Views and changing qualities of natural light figured strongly into the architecture, and the clients had clear-cut ideas on fenestration. Unlike many of their Hamptons counterparts, this house was to have no monolithic expanses of either glass or glass block. Persky and Patton preferred a more traditional approach. Thus, doors and windows are mahogany framed. Glass block is used sparingly for clerestories.

Persky and Patton are serious cooks, but they had no intentions of separating themselves from guests during meal preparations. With cooking tied to entertaining, the main floor is an open arrangement of living, dining, and kitchen spaces. There is a four-ft.-high corrugated metal partition between the kitchen and dining table, sofas and recliners, but this is meant to mask the mess when the guests are seated, not deter guests from activity in the kitchen. The living area has a double-height ceiling, a counterpoint to the building’s slender width. A type of architectural trompe l’oeil, the treatment generates a perception of increased spatial proportions.

Fooring and Indoor Furniture

Stamberg and Aferiat continued their exterior materials study indoors. Concrete flooring begins at the entry and pervades the public zone. The kitchen is defined by a timber frame with columns and a beamed ceiling, repeating a favorite aspect of Persky’s previous house. Steel introduces a shimmering quality in the form of cables and railings. Maple, used for the master suite’s library balcony, injects warmth.

Clients and architects had purchased top-quality furnishings for Persky’s earlier residence. Re-using them here validates the wisdom of buying the best. Both furniture and architecture embrace an attitude of low-key glamour coupled with informal coziness. As for Camp Persky Patton’s guest house, the clients requested that it be similar in structure and finishes to the main dwelling. “It was a strategy that was both gracious and economical,” relates Stamberg.

Proudest of the varied materials palette plus the house’s siting within the landscape, Stamberg and Aferiat obtained another thrill from the project. They discovered the charms of Shelter Island and purchased property for themselves.

Before & After Smart Reno; On a tiny budget A dark, rundown terrace is gutted and refashioned into a light-filled family home

Lucky FIND a home

THINGS DIDN’T look promising during the first year of Rachel Brown and Stuart Davidson’s quest for a home. Even though search radiated further and further out from inner-city Sydney, they were repeatedly priced out. – Then they struck gold – overnight. “We found a house on a website in Rockdale with best recliners, which is just south of the airport, and made an offer. With the help of a super-helpful agent, 24 hours later, it’ s ours,” Rachel says. They paid 1405,000, and after settlement rented out the place on a six-month lease while they drew up a renovation game plan. It was going to be a big job, and they had just $30,000 to completely overhaul the old, decaying, pre-WW2 house.

HELPING HANDS Stuart’s father is a builder and was able to* recommend best-value suppliers-” and give free instruction and advice; Stuart’s uncle is a plumber; friends and Stuart’s two brothers were willing to help with labour. So with the exception of electrical work, waterproofing and sanding, Rachel and the boys did all the work themselves. It took 41/2 months, and the couple moved in just one week before their wedding.

Let’s GO for home renovation


Demolition After the house passed its check for structural integrity (conducted by a builder), the team could begin. On weekends, after work and during school holidays, they knocked out the internal dividing walls in the rear section of the house, tore Gyprock and wooden panelling off walls, and pulled out all the fittings in the kitchen and bathroom. Floors were ripped out (see page 103), revealing a fascinating collection of pre-war newspapers and other long-lost curiosities.

Time factor: about 6 weeks.

structural check for home re-fashion
structural check for home re-fashion

Structural check for home re-fashion


Stuart’ luncle the plumber came inland laid new pipes. The couple had to keep the old plumbing in the laundry because of budget.

Time factor: 1 day. ?

Who lives here? Homewares designer Rachel Brown, her husband Stuart Davidson, new baby Pietta, and Ruby the kelpie cross

  1. Home shop New mum Rachel runs her Attia Homewares business from home. She specialises in beautiful ceramics and wooden servingware. Visit the site to check out the range.
  2. Home work Stuart is a high-school teacher. School holidays came in very handy indeed for the renovations!

ATTBR: Big difference Here’s the finished living/ kitchen/dining area, taken from a similar camera angle as the image opposite. The now-renovated bathroom is behind the door at rear. Rachel had a slipcover made (from a Mokum fabric) for their Ikea “Klippan” sofa, and had cushions made from leather from NSW Leather Co and Warwick Fabrics fabric. The hide is from Spence & Lyda, Surry Hills, NSW.

living kitchen dining area
living kitchen dining area

living kitchen dining area

Ladder time


The exterior wall to the left of this paragraph – you can see it better on the previous page – was remodelled. Part of the wall was knocked out to accommodate new, large floor-to-ceiling glass doors, and the part of the structure where the old brown exit door was (see page 100) was rebricked. The ceiling was patched and the electricals were rewired. This involved scraping back long sections of wall, replacing the old wiring and electrical hardware, and then filling in the walls again. Vents for the exisiting reverse cycle air-conditioning were replaced. The brickwork was bagged with a mixture of sand and cement to achieve a roughrendered look that would later be painted, and cornices and ceiling moulds were installed.

Replacing wiring and electrical hardware at home
Replacing wiring and electrical hardware at home

Time factor: approx 3 weeks.

AFTER: Arty accessorising An Ikea PS cabinet is home to a mini gallery of white homewares, a mix of vintage and contemporary pieces that Rachel has gathered over the years while working as a stylist. The rear wall was constructed of lining boards laid horizontally. “This creates the illusion that the room is wider than it is and contrasts against the room’s height,” Rachel says. The door to the bathroom was found on the side of the road.



Quite a few of the original floorboards in the hall and bedrooms were rotten; most of them in the rear section were. All were ripped up; salvagable ones from the rear were used to repair the floor at the front. Rachel and Stuart would have liked to use kauri timber for the living/ kitchen area to match the hall but, when quoted at $6500, they had to find an alternative. They settled for 150mm Cyprus pine from Sydney Flooring (cost: $1300), which they laid themselves and had sanded and stained by a professional. As for the stain, they had wanted to use Feast Watson “Black Japan” black timber stain, but it would have cost at least $4500, so they settled for a dark Cabots stain plus a matte polyurethane sealant.

Time factor: 3 days.

AFTER: Lovely living

Rachel and Stuart love the seamless look of the plain white walls; those in the living area were bagged to let the shape of the bricks show through, rather than being rendererd. They’ll install a Jetmaster heater in the fireplace, which has a gas point, once they’ve saved up. Rachel bought the Mogens Lassen for Jorgen Wolff folding leather chairs from Great Dane Furniture long before she was married; they were made in 1946. The “All Stops To… Watsons Bay” screenprint (see was a wedding present.

Clean & fresh

Furniture renew with classical table set and reclining chairs as relax spaces in living room
Furniture renew with classical table set and reclining chairs as relax spaces in living room

Furniture renew with classical table set and reclining chairs as relax spaces in living room

The kitchen was built and installed by ZW New Concept of Granville, NSW. Corian was installed as countertops on benches as well as on the Ikea. Best recliners were setup in living rooms as a relax space in the house as a suggestion by recliner reviews site. [Read more…]

Your Home; Take your pick from this month’s selection of cool products for the home


Got an old mobile phone? Accessories you never use? Recycle with MobileMuster’s “Old phones, more trees” campaign before 30 September to help regenerate Australia’s coastline.


Old mobile phone
Old mobile phone

mobile phone


Normal vacuuming doesn’t remove all the ground-in dirt and bacteria from your carpet like BISSELL’s range of Deep Cleaning machines can. For a healthier way to deep clean your home visit

vaccumm for cleaning
vaccumm for cleaning


[Read more…]

How big is too big

Retail outlets and customer interest

Consumer interest in giant-sized retail outlets such as home furniture, big-box stores, discount mass merchants, and category-killer specialty stores seems to be waning as customers seek more convenience. Core consumer groups such as singles, young parents, and wealthy empty nesters are beginning to turn away from the potentially confusing size and variety of these megastores. Toys “R” Us has rearranged many of its stores into its customer-friendly Concept 2000 format, and other retailers are taking similar actions.

It’s 8 p.m. on what should be a slow Monday night, weeks before the official start of the Christmasshopping season, but parking already is at a premium in front of the Barnes & Noble superstore in Paramus, N.J.
retail outlets
retail outlets

retail outlets

Big-box retailers

While most other retailers in this sprawling regional agglomeration of home furniture, big-box retailers, discount mass merchants and specialty stores are winding down after an uneventful Monday, the 60,000-square-foot book emporium is bustling. An in-store Starbucks cafe, sections dedicated to music, computer software and used books, and enough sofas and armchairs to furnish a Morris County mansion have drawn customers from miles around.

Collection of megastore for selling various furniture for home and office such as model table, chair, even kitchen set
Collection of megastore for selling various furniture for home and office such as model table, chair, even kitchen set

Collection of megastore for selling various furniture for home and office such as model table, chair, even kitchen set

“I’ve heard [B&N] is a great place to meet people,” said Sloatsburg, N.Y., native Jenn ScanIon, a 23-year-old social sciences major, as she checks out a new paperback. “It’s supposedly replacing the bar scene,” added her companion, Glenn Norton, 28, of Park Ridge, N.J.

Retailers are increasingly turning the shopping experience into a social event, cramming a bevy of attractions and distractions into their hangar-like environs. Supercenters and warehouse clubs big enough to house the Spruce Goose are coupling radial tires and Ring Dings under one roof.Consumer electronics behemoth Incredible Universe is mixing karaoke and McDonald’s hamburgers with CPUs and VCRs, while megabookstores like B&N are hosting lecture series and poetry readings. But is bigger truly better?

Some retail experts and Wall Street analysts are beginning to warn that megastore formats packed with an endless selection of SKUs are alienating core consumer demographics from affluent empty nesters, who in theory ought to have the time to navigate the stores, to time-pressed young parents and single shoppers. While the die-hard bargain hunter may relish the allure of discovery amid a maze of aisles, less-driven shoppers often find the same format frustrating or intimidating.

Tradeoff of selection versus convenience

In the tradeoff of selection versus convenience, the growing legions of time-strapped Americans have demonstrated a preference for the latter, opting for prepared meals and pricier quick-hit trips to convenience stores and strip malls. Yet mass merchants have been expanding at a staggering pace into larger-format stores like Wal-Mart’s general-merchandise-and-food supercenters, which measure on average 188,000 square feet, and the 184,000-square-foot Incredible Universe consumer electronics/computer “gigastore.” For some, like B&N, the strategy seems to be working, but some observers think the trend soon may reach a point of diminishing returns.

“The big boxes are readily expanding in view of demographic [data] that reflects the opposite trend,” warned Gary A. Wright, a Denver-based retail consultant. Older consumers, for One group, are turned off by the prospect of parking on the fringe of a huge parking lot situated just off a highway, then lugging bulky packages back to the car, Wright said. Young parents with cranky kids in tow don’t have time to figure out a bewildering store layout. Single shoppers don’t necessarily want to waste precious afterwork or weekend hours indoors.

Disguise the size

Recognizing this, some retailers are learning to disguise their size. Instead of packing a bewildering assortment of SKUs onto floor-to-ceiling shelves, many are going with a more logical presentation. Wider aisles, shorter shelves, in-store boutiques and enhanced lighting have given them a look more akin to leaner, smaller competitors, despite having double or triple the SKU count. Many, in their advertising, are playing up not their vast selections, but rather their ability to provide personalized solutions to consumers’ problems, all while getting them into and out of the store quickly. And food retailers are building up offerings of prepared foods, offering the promise of greater convenience at the food preparation end of the process even if consumers must navigate large stores to pick up the products.

In an effort to shake its dubious reputation for unpleasant shopping experiences, Toys “R” Us this summer reformatted scores of stores, shedding the warehouse look in favor of a bright and spacious layout dubbed Concept 2000. It reduced SKUs by 4,000, lowered shelves and widened aisles. TRU plans to convert 55 stores in 1997, bringing the total to 98 stores by 1998.

“Customers think we have more products because they can see more,” says TRU’s vp of store planning, Mike Gerety. “The response has been overwhelming. The customer is clearly spending more time in the store and usually, hopefully, that equates to more sales.”

TRU is banking on similar results for its largest format yet, KidsWorld, which opened in Elizabeth, N.J,. and Fairfax, Va., last month. KidsWorld was designed “to pull all the synergies of the business into one format,” as Gerety put it. At between 85,000 and 95,000 square feet, KidsWorld is more than double the size of the traditional stores and holds thousands of TRU SKUs and those of its apparel and toddler siblings, Kids “R” Us and Babies “R” Us. There also is a candy store, a diner featuring Pizza Hut morsels, a Kids Foot Locker, a photography studio, kids hair salon and mini-amusement park.

TRU’s push comes at a time when specialty kid furniture such as recliner for kids, tables for kids, and toy retailers like Noodle KidDoodle, Zany Brainy and Imaginarium believe they can carve out a viable niche in the $17.5 billion toy store industry by stocking their shelves with educational and lesser-known brands and training knowledgeable, courteous sales staffs to create a less intimidating shopping experience. And the big guys are taking notice. Despite the added attractions at KidsWorld and Concept 2000, TRU maintains the primary goal of their reformatting initiative is to improve customer satisfaction.

Mass merchant Kmart is taking another tack to put a smaller face out to consumers. Under new chairman Floyd Hall, it has adopted a “high-frequency” strategy that stresses convenience by placing high-turn items near the store entrance to communicate to the time-strapped consumer that Kmart can be an in-and-out shopping experience. Next year, 400 Kmart stores will be converted to include an in-store Pantry, akin to an 8,700-square-foot supermarket, stocking some 7,000 SKUs such as paper products, pet supplies, beverages and eggs. To build on the perception of manageability communicated by the Pantry, the rest of the store has been reformatted with wider aisles, larger “airport” signage to identify departments, and improved interdepartmental sight lines to generate impulse purchases elsewhere in the store. Adjacencies have been rethought too. For instance, the “Kidsworld” department (children’s apparel and toys) has been moved to the front of the store next to the ladies department. “It’s all focused towards our core customer: women between the ages of 24 and 49 with kids at home,” said Bill Gryson, Kmart’s vp of special projects.

In the face of encroaching competition from discount mass merchants, drug chains, c-stores, supercenters and even gas stations, supermarkets also have been reinventing themselves. A new breed of megasupermarket, including Minneapolis-based Byerly’s and Wegmans of Rochester, N.Y., have created destination stores that draw customers in with an enticing lineup of prepared foods, quality private-label products and even cooking classes. Many are shifting emphasis from meal ingredients to meal solutions, offering a lure of convenience that can offset the large size of many of the stores. A new Wegmans in Pensfield, N.Y., includes a “Fresh to Go” section that stocks pasta sauces, soups, salads and 87 varieties of fish that can be cooked on-site at no extra cost, said Columbus, Ohio-based Elaine Pollack, director of Management Horizon’s Retail Intelligence System/Food, Drug, Mass.

The tradeoff between convenience and unlimited selection

The tradeoff between convenience and unlimited selection is a distinction that retailers would prefer to keep blurred, since consumers really would like to have both. In the past, retailers tried to overwhelm the consumer by creating the image that their store had an unmatched selection “to give the customer the feel that, ‘Oh my god, if this store doesn’t have it, nobody will,’” said Wright.

One format that tilts to selection over convenience is the flagging warehouse club. Their bulk packaging and membership fees have turned off all but small business owners and few have been able to establish a blueprint for mass appeal. Market leader Sam’s Warehouse Club, operated by Wal-Mart, now is resigned to this fact and will open just 10 new locations in 1996, matching the 1995 level, said Howard Eilenberg, a retail analyst for LJR Redbook Research, N.Y.

flagging warehouse and big-box
flagging warehouse and big-box

flagging warehouse and big-box

“I think membership warehouses and what they’re trying to do is pushing the envelope for what is too big,” Wright said.

Behemoth category killers are the biggest culprits at emphasizing their enormity, injecting an amusement park4ike feel to create a festive shopping experience. Some, like their defunct predecessor, the hypermarket, which swelled to over 230,000 square feet of retail space under one roof, have done a poor job managing their size.

Tandy’s Incredible Universe, the four-year-old electronics chain designed by Disney consultants, has received failing grades from Wall Street. From the outset, IU has been marketed as the ultimate consumer electronics/computer retailer, mixing an unmatched 85,000 SKUs, every-day low prices, interactive displays and entertainment to attract people to out-of-the-way sites and keep them there for the better part of the day. The stores, called “shows,” are replete with disc jockey booths, a rotunda and stage for merchandise demos, karaoke machines, a McDonald’s and Kidsview, a high-tech amusement area, to keep every member of the family occupied.

“The dwell factor is very important to us,” says Henry Schiarelli, IU’s vp/gm. “Admittedly, some people are overwhelmed, but we do a high repeat business” that’s greater even than Tandy blockbuster Radio Shack.

Wall Street analysts, chalking up the repeat business to the store’s faddish nature, are extremely pessimistic about the concept, saying the infusion of entertainment is distracting to the discerning techno shopper. And because IU is typically located in fringe areas, shoppers only frequent it on weekends, keeping sales well below what one analyst estimated to be the magic $325-per-square-foot breakeven point. As a result, analysts are forecasting the chain’s losses to double to $75 million this year; a disappointing holiday season could spell its demise, they predict. IU is proceeding cautiously, foregoing further expansion until sales pick up.

Big-box retailing

The closely watched IU experiment has provided valuable lessons to other big-box retailing execs, especially for furniture store and electronic products segments. One, in a noncompeting category, recently said he would only open larger-format stores one at a time, so that consumer demand could be monitored and adjustments made, and also will resist any temptation to bombard shoppers with side attractions.

For those sticking with large formats, specialty retailers are increasingly being imitated for insights into making the shopping trip more satisfying. Automotive aftercare outlets market themselves as the place to go for one-on-one consultation for perplexing repairs, while ads for the leading home improvement centers seldom refer to the store’s overall selection, but instead feature particular departments within the store and helpful staffers who can get the shopper out in a hurry.

If consumers are showing signs of resistance to some big-box formats, one exception so far seems to be the supercenters being set up by Kmart, Wal-Mart and, to a lesser extent, Target, which marry groceries and general merchandise items under one roof in a manner that allows dual-wage-earner families to consolidate shipping trips.

Analysts remain bullish on the com cept, which should double in the next three years to 1,500 with projected revenues exceeding $100 billion, said Mary Beth Whitfield, a principal retail consultant for Price Waterhouse’s Management Horizons unit in New York. By driving repeat business, “It’s a win-win situation,” said Redbook’s Eilenberg. “They’re getting market share from food retailers and getting additional sales in the general merchandise side.”

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Tips to decorate your home

Decorate it yourself: with the home depot and home decorators collection, you can complete your room from inspiration to installation






1 Start with a focal point for your room, such as the Home Decorators Collection fireplace shown here, available at The Home Depot.

2 Once the focal point is 4.d in place, surround it with furnishings that fit your style–a combination ofsofas, chairs, ottomans, and tables from Home Decorators Collection.




3 Far from boring or bland, neutral paint colors create a sophisticated backdrop without stealing the limelight from other furnishings. Browse Home Decorators Collection by BEHR paint chips in stores or online at

paint to pillows
paint to pillows



4 Neutral allows for bold statements with artwork and decor accessories from Home Decorators Collection. Complete your room with pillows that tie in the colors from artwork and window treatments.


Table and chair recliners
Table and chair recliners


For a room that’s one-of-a-kind, you need options. And no one offers more variety–or more value–than Home Decorators Collection. Find lighting that speaks to you, seating that speaks for itself, decor that speaks volumes about your good taste. Combined with the project know-how you’ll find at The Home Depot [R] it’s everything you need to complete a room that’s distinctly you.

How to select paint colors for your house?

“When I chose the color for my library, I needed something sophisticated since it’s next to the living room. This blue-gray is quiet and dramatic at the same time, which is the definition of elegance. It’s equally lovely in the morning light or in the evening, lit by the glow of a lamp. It would also look great on kitchen cabinets.”



56RB 09/302
56RB 09/302




“This is a combination of plum and iris, deep, rich, and perfectly pigmented to evoke old-world glamour and elegance. I would love to use it in high gloss in a dining room, with bleached herringbone floors and lots of crisp white cotton trimmed in purple for curtains and upholstery.”










“In our bedroom in a little California beach house, I wanted to create a soft, cozy box for sleeping. I draped the walls in an amazing lavender linen and found this paint to match. With undertones of gray and pink–like lilacs that have been bleached by the sun–it immediately calms the soul. Completely dreamy.”

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