Notes from the Field: Power Patch Kids

May 7, 2012

By Cheryl Katz

It’s like a jolt of caffeine after a particularly long meeting. It’s a cure-all for boredom. It’s a natural high, a celebration, a special occasion. It’s best when not performed online, in a hurry, out of need or desperation, but purely for the visually stimulating, thought provoking fun of it.  A word of caution, however: it can be habit forming.

Photos of Patch NYC South End courtesy of Cheryl Katz

Just in case you’re thinking that this is a new kind of vitamin bar or nutritional shake, let me be clear. This “it†provides another kind of stimulation–the kind you get when you enter a good (no, great) store. Right about now you must be thinking, “She’s banal and shallow to be making such a fuss about shopping. Really?†Really. Let me explain.

I love all kinds of stores: grocery, shoe, drug, hardware, gourmet and dollar. I don’t care if I spend hours meandering through aisles, pawing through racks, sorting through shelves or caressing acres of countertops only to come up empty-handed. But what I really love is the experience and the POWER it holds. Literally. For me, great stores are defined by Personality, Obsession or Oddity, Whimsy, Exaggeration and, yes, Romance.

In a few hours, when my studio reads this post, they will start laughing at me. They’ve heard my POWER pitch before. I started using the acronym about ten years ago when we were pitching a new client. Yet, the same traits that helped me codify the qualities necessary to create a great store for that client hold sway today just as they did a decade ago.

Case in point was a recent visit to the revamped Patch NYC store, the brainchild of designers Don Carney and John Ross. Walking through the brick courtyard off Waltham Street in Boston’s South End to reach the front door, I instantly recognized that Don and John shared my passion for a great shop. It’s clear. They’re a pair of Power Patch kids.