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Remodeling Smart

When Ward-Brodt’s landlord needed more space, the Madison, Wis., full-line retailer took it as an opportunity to reinvent its look.

From early April through mid-May, the company cut its retail space in half, from 31,000 to 15,000 square feet. The project, which cost just under $100,000, let Ward-Brodt remodel to better merchandise such high-profit segments as band and orchestra instruments.

According to Connie Smith, the company’s general manager, Ward-Brodt saved money by repurposing fixtures and materials from its last major remodeling, in 2005.

“I think we ended up getting it done in six and a half to seven weeks,” Smith said. “It was quite something. And we kept the store open.”

The store's new boutique string room previously housed the company’s grand pianos, a category Ward-Brodt abandoned in 2008. “We thought that would be the perfect room because of the flooring, the ambience,” Smith said.

Her son designed the cabinets, and a local, retired woodworker built them. A slanted table display shows mostly high-end instruments and has storage space underneath for cases.

In an effort to save money on paint, the Ward-Brodt team repurposed existing charcoal slatwall. “Most of the doors and everything we had in the old part we also reused in this part,” Smith said.

The digital piano room remained one of the least changed areas in the remodeling. That said, Smith mentioned a new space in the corner will be used for such applications as Pro Tools demos and recording clinics.