by Rachel 06 October 2011
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    Client Objective:
    The client, the Kalispel Tribal Authority, desired a high end, state-of-the-art, mixed-use facility that would harbor a 5,000 square foot (464.52 square meters) convenience store and cafe, gas station, and RV station.

    Project Description:
    After completing their Northern Quest Resort & Casino, the Kalispel Tribe desired to construct a convenience store and rest stop outside the main entrance of their resort property that would serve the surrounding community and the casino patrons, while still evoking their rich culture and fulfilling their goals for future growth of their brand.

    Crucial to the overall design was the Tribe's desire for the convenience store to successfully compliment the neighboring resort and casino, while still maintaining a uniqueness and individuality of its own. Collaboration between the Tribe and design team was essential to the overall success of the project and was consistent from inception to completion.

    Programming included two separate drive-up window services - Café and Tobacco - so that their patrons could benefit by quicker sales of cigarettes and café items. The overall store layout was developed with the idea of the drive-up windows being on opposite ends of one another with the main retail amenities centralized.

    With visibility and control being two key components, the control point needed to have four major functions: visibility to the fueling pumps, visibility of the majority of the store floor, tobacco storage, and access to the manager's office. The location and layout of the Café was to be welcoming and visible to store patrons, but also provide a semi-private, quiet area which would open to an outdoor patio. The client also wanted the store to have a clean look, represent the high-end quality merchandising and food products they intended to sell, and incorporate their tribal culture.

    The overall design resulted in separate drive-up window services and an open retail floor plan with a point of sale (POS) that was oriented for control and customer service. The semi-private café is located to the north, allowing for patrons to relax with a beverage and pastry enjoying the view of the resort casino and surrounding plains. The building materials of stone, wood and metal reflect the close relationship to the casino and are repeated on the building's exterior.

    State-of-the-art high definition flat-panel televisions are set up at each gas pump as well as throughout the interior spaces to aid in the marketing of the upcoming events at the resort/casino as well as promote the convenient in-store specials.

    Many of the design components were inspired by the Kalispel Tribe's traditional clothing, basket weaving, and natural surroundings of the area. Strong diagonal and horizontal elements inspired by traditional Native
    American breastplates are repeated on the exterior as well as interior - creating a harmonious unity between the interior and exterior. The opposing canted 3form canopies above the Control Area and Espresso counters repeat the diagonal lines of the building in three dimensional planer form as well as providing a functional wayfinding tool for customers.

    The colour palate was generated from the Tribe's desire for "Kalispel Orange" to be featured prominently - as orange symbolizes courage for them. The use of teal greens and blues throughout the space (walls and carpet pattern) are integrated subtlety to reflect a river bed which is in harmony with the theme established in the nearby casino. Water has significant importance to the tribe as they are known as the "People of the River". The result is a functional and unique design that is unlike any other convenience store in the region.

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