SOSICO. Providence - Behind the Buildout
After taking a month and a half to build out the original store and over two years to accumulate all of the furnishings, we decided to test the limits to buildout and open the PVD location in less than 10 days! A recap in the form of words and photographs capturing that process.
Day 1 - May 8th
The day we signed the lease and got the keys, we went in and took measurements, photos & began drawing out layout variations immediately. I was scribbling ideas and notes on the pages of my clipboard - my imagination was running wild with the different possibilities of having a clean slate to work with. Walking into a new soon-to-be shop is the same as an artist buying a blank canvas at the store, but having this as the second shop buildout that I would be responsible for was even more exciting than the first.
During the buildout of the first storefront I learned a lot of key details about carpentry, painting, electrical, etc. I learned the best places to buy materials and also what to buy. This all helped speed up the process from the jump as far as planning and budgeting out what would be needed. From there, actually executing the work would be easier a second time around as well. We got to it.
Day 2 - May 9th
The next day we got to work early, Devlin and I split the day into two sessions in order to maximize what we needed. We started at the shop around 8am so that we could block off the doors / windows to protect them from paint, etc. as well as give us some privacy while we worked. I hate the “fishbowl” effect in a car, and even more-so when I’m working. At this point in time all of this was still a big secret and very few people knew that we were closing the West Warwick shop. The next step was to prep the walls for paint since I knew painting would take the longest amount of time between rollin it out / edging, while also allowing it to dry since we would need 5-7 coats to properly cover the original dark grey walls. We removed all of the nails, screws, etc from the walls and then filled them in with joint compound. Next: we wait for the joint compound to dry…
Round two; later that evening I headed back by myself to sand the filler holes and start laying the first coats of paint. To save time, I placed yellow sticky notes on the walls where we were going to put the pallets on so these would not be painted white. After that, I also realized that we ran into an issue with the track lighting; there are a few different systems. I hadn’t taken this into account. I originally planned on bringing the track lights from the West Warwick shop to Providence to fill in the track that was there, only to realize that they would not fit. Standard track lights that you can buy from Home Depot or Lowes are considered “H-System”. These have 2 prongs on one side, and 1 prong on the other - I’m assuming they are a positive, negative and a ground. On the track at the Providence store, it is a more shallow track and the lights only have 2 prongs instead of three. (Positive and negative - no ground?). The two lights that we inherited with the shop wouldn’t be enough light for the front and we would need more, but the “J-System” track lights that we required ran anywhere from $30-$90 each, throwing a major wrench in our budget.
Day 3 - May 10th
Painting purgatory with a little help from Kyle and James. The walls are brightening up (minus Kyle ignoring the note on the back wall and painting a quarter of it). One of my biggest intentions with the shop was to give it the illusion of having more space than it did. In order to pull this off correctly, the first step would be to brighten up the walls with the white paint to make it feel less like a cave. I’m a big fan of windows - floor to ceiling windows, and high ceilings. Like 14 feet or more. This space lacked both pretty significantly. The ceilings were very low, and the only windows were at the front and looked into the mall. My biggest issue was with the ceilings though. I hate drop ceilings more than anything. My ideal look would have been high, exposed, industrial ceilings and cement floors with some nice large windows to the outside, but with this I’d have to make due.
Day 4 - May 12th
The white walls are done and looking crisp. Bethanie joins me while I put a rough base coat of black on the walls where the pallets will go. Painting is almost done, and so are the walls as a whole.
Day 5 - May 13th
After busting up 7 pallets in the basement of the old shop, Devlin and I transported them to Providence, started cutting them up and screwing them into the walls. I was supposed to get this approved by management of the mall, but was so busy and in a rush with the buildout process that I decided to ask for forgiveness rather than permission - it worked. After exhausting our current supply of pallets, we started painted what we had up and arranged for plans to get 7-8 more and bust those up to finish everything off.
We also started taking some measurements as to roughly how far from the closet wall we needed the register / display case to be so that we could walk past. We settled on roughly 3 feet, then calculating how deep the display case would stick out and how far / where we would need to place the first rack on the wall. One thing effects the next, which effects the next, so everything needed to be in sync.
Day 6 - May 14th
This was miserable and Devlin will agree.
Day 7 - May 15th
Finishing up the walls and painting completely. This was huge. We spent almost a full week just on the walls between painting, placing pallets, and then more painting - it felt like we would be doing that shit forever. We were finally ready to start the display case, and from there I knew everything would start to come together a little bit better. I could take a deep breathe, and we were still on schedule.
Day 8 - May 16th
These next few progress photos took place on some late night hours. Technically considered day 8, after finishing up the walls at Providence I headed back to West Warwick and started busting up the old display case around midnight and went into the late hours of the morning. I sorted and laid everything out for the next morning to be transported to PVD. There was the shell of the display case, three panes of glass and a mirror, and the end piece with was originally to the right of the display. I would have to flip it upside-down and rebuild it backwards to place it to the left of the display case at the new store.
Later that day (18 hours later), I returned to Providence to start reassembling the display case by myself. The old counter was built into the wall in front of it to house the computer, register, receiver, POS system and more. At the new store there would be no wall to build into, so I had to construct a free standing table with a small wall in front of it to house all of this. I built out the frame and supports with 2x4’s and reused a lot of the materials from the previous counter top. The next and possibly worst part was cutting four sheets of plywood by hand with a handsaw due to the lack of having a skill saw or table saw around. Eventually I got it done, screwed the sheets onto the front, painted it, rigged up the lights and went home.
Day 9 - May 17th
Help came in the form of Kyle, Gerald, Mike and Romero, and also at the perfect time. I was fucking burnt out by this point. While I ran the wiring through the ceiling for the surround sound I let these guys finish everything else up. Mike and Gerald cut pieces of pallets and screwed them onto the front of the display case to make it all cohesive looking. They painted it as they went. Kyle shotgunned beers, helped me run wire, and gave everyone moral support. Romero showed up and helped finish building the shelf under the counter to hold up the cash drawer and receiver. By the end of the night everything was cleaned up, organized and it started finally looking like a store.
The next day Ricky stopped by and helped me install the clothing racks - which came with it’s own form of bullshit. We found out quickly that due to the old construction of the Arcade Mall building (1828), there were no studs to be found in the walls. We were drilling into 2” of drywall, and then any deeper than that - brick. Nothing would stay on the walls. We resorted to cheap drywall anchors. They didn’t work great, but after tying in the shelf that sits above the pipe racks they managed to hold (reluctantly). To this day I’m not sure how some of the racks have managed to stay up - so please don’t fuck with them.
day 10 - may 20th
Finally, we were able to move everything from the old store in on one trip, get situated and have a store. Or at least the start of a store. There’s still a ton of changes, adjustments and future ideas that will be put into place over time, but we’re here. Placing clothing on the racks and artwork on the walls was relieving. The buildout of this new space felt like a 10 day triathlon by the time it was done. Everything came together at the expense of blood, sweat and bills - but it was all there nonetheless. SOSICO. has a store in downtown Providence, Rhode Island.
A huge thank you to everyone who helped to make this possible! In loving memory of Matthew Colwell, we proceed!