Gondola shelving is the workhorse of the retail world. It’s robust, versatile and capable of accommodating all manner of products inside its embrace. Your average retail interior features at least some examples of this fixture mainstay in its midst.
Still, gondola shelving suffers a reputation for being so utilitarian a fundamental of the retail environment as to be considered unattractive and not worth merchandisers’ creative attention. Indeed, designers often refer to gondola shelving as a “necessary evil.”
That doesn’t have to be the case.
Variously referred to as cantilevered shelving, retail shelving and metal store shelves, gondola fixtures first secured their reputation as no-frills shelving for dry goods and cans at grocery stores. Today, they’re celebrated for their functionality for displaying large quantities of any kind of merchandise on a budget.
Typically gondola shelving is arranged in islands and half islands with slat-wall, steel-panel, peg-board and masonite backings. They’re available in wood, metal and acrylic, and can be customized and painted according to a retailer’s wishes. They may or may not feature front-edge designs to hold retail pricing labels.
Retailers considering a gondola purchase should first determine the best shelf layout for their stores. Bear in mind the situation of such essentials as your service counters and key traffic routes. Ideally, you should know how many rows of shelving you’ll require (including those that will line the walls), and what the length of each should be.
The best fixture suppliers will relieve retailers of the utilitarian details of gondola shelving, and will exploit its designers’ and engineers’ expertise to dress up, accessorize and install this standard shelving at their store to best effect.