Creating a unique real-life experience that cannot be replicated online is essential for today’s brands. This is especially true for lonely ghosta streetwear brand popularized by its influential founder, severe blue indy, and a host of famous fans, including Lucy Hale, Charli D’Amelio, and Addison Rae. After much success with their first location, a grocery-themed boutique that featured everything from clothing hanging on Costo-sized refrigerators and shelves stocked with custom-made cereal boxes, they decided to close and move to a larger 2,700-square-foot store. square just a few steps away. at The Shops at Riverwoods in Provo, Utah.
While the first placement was highly praised for its unique design, it was a popup that wasn’t designed for long-term use. So the team was excited to design a more permanent location. “The new space had a lot of potential. We had plenty of room to work,” says Severe.
While shoppers were wowed by Lonely Ghost’s original location, Severe and the co-founder bronson-christensen did not want to make concessions in terms of design in the second location. The new store would allow them to expand on the theme.
“With our new grocery store, we created our ideal version of the first one. We executed all of our big ideas that were originally cut due to space and budget constraints,” he explains. “Our main goal is to always provide an experience to our customers. I think we made it. We spare no details. We added a bakery, a balloon section, and even added shopping carts. There are three hallways and plenty of room to move around.”
The design of the new space was also heavily influenced by Lonely Ghost creative director Rory Markham, who added a variety of elements including a conveyor belt and additional prop food.
Getting the aesthetic right was essential for this project as the team went to great lengths to make the store feel like a real grocery store. For example, clothing and household items are traded among counterfeit products such as fruit, bread, and cereal boxes.
While those familiar with the brand can easily navigate the space, not everyone in the community is equally enthusiastic. “There are a lot of confused old ladies wondering why they can’t buy food here,” says Severe.
The store features everything from hoodies to hats, as well as Lonely Ghost’s popular home line, including throws, rugs, art and candles. The store also offers some exclusive pieces to encourage people to buy in person.
Severe tells me that everything was designed with social media content creation in mind.
“The whole store is a photo shoot, but we really went all out with our back room. You can go through the refrigerator doors and into a secret room that looks like a cozy apartment. It’s decorated with Ghost Home merchandise and personal touches like family photos and Polaroids from customers who have visited from out of state. Some people don’t even know this room exists. But if you do, your Instagram followers will be jealous.”
One of the most unique activations in the store is the “Pharmacy”, which provides a place for customers to connect with other fans of the brand. “You can share your name and Instagram account to match yourself with another ‘lonely’ customer. From there, they can strike up a conversation online. We call it our ‘cure for loneliness’. Our goal is to connect our community and this was one of my favorite details,” says Severe.
Keeping with the nostalgic vibes, the bathroom was designed to have a vintage feel with a pink sink, antique tub, and custom gold-framed mirrors that feature some of the brand’s iconic sayings, including “Text me when you get home.” House”.
Where this retail concept really succeeds is by taking something ordinary like a grocery store and creating an experiential world through design. “Who doesn’t like to go shopping at the supermarket from time to time? These are our needs. It can be boring shopping for clothes at any ordinary looking store, but with Ghost Grocery, we made taking things, putting them in a shopping cart and shopping out an experience. Think of it like an Alice in Wonderland fantasy, but instead of a secret garden, it’s a grocery store that gives the illusion of stepping into a perfectly nostalgic cartoon world.”