MarketPlace Associates provides our clients with a wide range of retailing expertise and an integrated approach. We offer the following services to help our clients plan, develop and maximize their retail opportunities.

Depending on a project's particular requirements, we can work in great detail on a single problem or manage a project from market identification through merchandise selection. Our broad range of experience ensures that our detailed recommendations will be compatible with all aspects of the retail operation. We can provide a seamless transition from planning through design to store opening, never losing sight of the big picture, even when working on the smallest detail. MarketPlace Associates tailors its services to the specific needs of its clients.

Store Performance Evaluations

A store evaluation gauges how well a store is living up to its potential. An evaluation reviews:

  • an existing retail operation's financial performance
  • market penetration, image
  • merchandise selection and presentation
  • customer service
  • store organization
  • business practices
  • personnel needs
  • fixtures and lighting

The report concludes with recommendations to improve performance. In preparing the evaluation, our team visits the site for a day (or longer, if necessary), observes the store and its customers, conducts a day-long meeting with the shop staff and critical institution staff, prepares a written report and meets with store and institution staff to review the report.

Retail Feasibility Studies and Business Plans

A retail feasibility study or business plan evaluates the viability of starting a new store or enlarging or relocating an existing one. The study includes the topics outlined in the Store Performance Evaluation as well as spatial and functional requirements such as store size, fixturing and lighting, personnel needs, and financial projections of income and operating expenses.

Store Design

MarketPlace Associates is closely allied with Black River Architects, sharing office space and a founding partner. The two firms work collaboratively on projects requiring both retail and architectural expertise. We begin with thorough staff interviews to determine how the institution can best be represented by its store. We then work with the staff to create a physical image and fixture and lighting design that are expressive of the institution’s mission and compatible with its merchandise.

Black River Architects' three decades of architectural practice, wide range of projects and experienced staff ensures that it can address the site evaluation, planning, design and construction administration needs of our clients. For projects requiring alterations to the existing building or new construction, we provide architectural and engineering plans and specifications. During the design process, cost estimates are prepared and updated to aid in budgetary review.

Click here to visit Black River Architects' website

Merchandise Research

We assist stores in the identification of new merchandise. Through our contacts in the wholesale market, we have access to thousands of high quality products and sources for merchandise that relate to an institution's programs and visitors.

For our clients unable to attend important trade shows such as the International Gift Fair, Toy Fair, the Stationary Show and local gift shows, we work as their representative at the show, initiating a professional relationship between the institution and vendors of museum quality merchandise. We collect and annotate current catalogs and price lists which will meet the specific needs of our clients.

Product Development

We assist institutions to develop products that are drawn from their exhibits, collections and programs. Our exact role depends on the nature of the product being developed and the most expeditious method for bringing it to the market. In the past, we have served as the liaison between publishers and institutions, as creators of new products and as advisors to institutions on signature products. We have developed stationery, clothing, custom food products, books and gifts for our clients.

Management Support

Many of our clients have hired us to provide continuing advice and support on a variety of retail problems. We function as objective experts, contributing a sympathetic ear and our years of experience as retailers to the everyday problems faced by our clients. We have worked with our clients in the following areas:

  • market identification
  • budgeting
  • merchandise mix and merchandise allocations
  • staffing plans and staff development
  • inventory systems
  • buying procedures
  • visual presentation
  • marketing
  • special events
  • accompanying buyers to trade shows


In concert with an institution's personnel policies, we develop job descriptions, coordinate advertising, review resumes, conduct telephone interviews and recommend a selection of candidates to be interviewed. After the interviews, references of the most promising candidates will be contacted and a final recommendation made to the client.