Spaceworks had partnered with Huckleberry before, having designed five of their boutique grocery stores. But when they came back to us more recently with plans for a newer, larger retail space in Browns Bay, it was clear that the design challenge for this latest store was going to be of an entirely different order.


Huckleberry envisioned extending their foothold beyond their existing smaller groceries – while these stores offer a variety of organic alternatives, the new store was to offer a full replacement to supermarket shopping, with a full range of products to match.


To make an ambitious retail space like this work, it was essential to remain true to Huckleberry’s organic, low-waste ethos, and offer an eco friendly alternative to your typical supermarket. It also required turning the conventional supermarket shopping experience on its head: rather than create an environment where it was easy for shoppers to quickly find the groceries on their list and run out again, the aim was to create a modern day market feel, turning shopping for daily necessities from a mundane task to be rushed through into an experience that buyers would happily prolong.


Huckleberry’s organic & natural brand story was ingrained in all aspects of the Browns Bay store’s furnishings and finishes. Wood heavily features across the store’s floors, furnishings and walls, and a point was made of using either renewable materials or those with a recycling programme in place. In a few cases, material that had been used in previous stores was even able to be repurposed. This intention to avoid waste carries through to the customer’s experience of the fixtures, which lack any excess decoration and avoid features which do not serve a purpose. Products are presented in fruit pallet boxes, extending the boxes’ original function while adding a rustic appeal which matches the organic product offering. Shoppers are even given the option of minimising waste further by taking advantage of the store’s bring-your-own jar policy and stocking up on whole foods in Huckleberry’s expansive refillery section.


While working hard to avoid material waste, the interior of Huckleberry Brown’s Bay has also been designed to encourage its customers to loosen their hold on their time a little and embrace more of a leisurely, market-style approach to grocery shopping. Alongside rustic fixtures, outdoor umbrellas have been erected in places to subtly evoke a market atmosphere. Unlike a conventional supermarket, where the shopping space is organised into aisles, the store’s layout is much more open and encourages shoppers to move around in a full circle and view the full range of products.


The first third or so of this shopping space is centred around an inclusion that is still relatively untapped by most New Zealand retailers – a hospitality area. In contrast to the rustic feel of the store fixtures, a modern combination of  metal and glass captures the light and customers’ curiosity if the aromas of coffee and freshly prepared cabinet food haven’t already. The hospitality area, with its eye-catching hustle and bustle, harnesses the power of retail theatre to draw prospective customers further into the store (the incorporation of hospitality into a retail space was also something that we were able to utilise effectively for Rocket Kitchen Mount Eden store fitout). By allowing people to also enjoy a hospitality experience within Huckleberry, the chances of people staying longer and spending more are greatly increased. 


To prevent parental shopping experiences from being cut short by grumpy kids and ensure that they are willing to return, a kids play area has also been incorporated into the hospitality space.


Another novel feature was included in Huckleberry’s design which neatly counterbalances its old-fashioned, rustic appeal – a walk in chilled area for fresh produce. This is currently the only one of its kind in New Zealand, and adds a dash of novelty to the everyday act of shopping for fruit & vegetables. It also aligns with Huckleberry’ mission to minimise waste by keeping produce fresh and sellable for longer than a standard open display in a supermarket would. Set against a darker background, the vibrant appearance of the fruit and vegetables is made even more enticing.


We’re very proud of how the latest Huckleberry store has turned out. Be sure to check it out if you find yourself in the Browns Bay area.