How Eastern National Extends the Visitor Experience from Park to Store
Exciting renovations took place at many Eastern National locations earlier this year. From custom product development to full store redesigns, our operations team has been hard at work. These store changes not only improve the way EN stores inspire and educate visitors but also help to create a more cohesive transition from park to store.
Product Development Manager Julianna Haviv and Merchandising and Store Design Manager Karen Peters collaborate with our park partners to make each EN store an extension of the park experience. They do this by touring the park as visitors would, communicating with park staff, and getting inspired by the park’s natural or physical themes.
“It’s important that EN stores enhance the visitor’s park experience,” says Julianna. “We see our stores as an extension of the park, hoping that all products will educate and inspire the visitor. It’s essential for park partners and Eastern National employees to collaborate, for Eastern National employees to tour the site as a visitor, and to create a seamless educational experience into the retail space.”
The recently renovated EN store at Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site is a great example of this. While touring the estate grounds, Julianna and Karen took note of the most popular statues and sculptures. Julianna, inspired by Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ iconic Diana statue, created custom products incorporating the statue. Karen incorporated the garden urns and pedestals into the shelving and display fixtures of the park store.
Karen says, “In any of our store plans, I always try to bring a little of the park into the store. At a Civil War site, that might include incorporating Hardtack boxes and barrels into the store fixture plan. At Hot Springs National Park, we brought in bathtubs to display robes. If the store and visitor center share the same space, I take my cues from materials used for the exhibit cases. At Wright Brothers National Memorial, I took elements from their desk design and incorporated them into our jewelry case and feature display tables.”