Creating a unique real life experience that can’t be replicated online is essential for brands today. This is especially true for Lonely Ghost, a streetwear brand made popular by its influencer founder, Indy Blue Severe, and a slew of famous fans including Lucy Hale, Charli D’Amelio, and Addison Rae. After much success with its first location, a grocery-themed boutique featuring everything from clothing hung in Costo-sized refrigerators and shelves of custom-made cereal boxes— they decided to close and move to a larger 2700 square foot store just a few doors down at The Shops at Riverwoods, in Provo, Utah.
While the first location was highly lauded for its unique design, it was a pop-up that wasn’t designed for long-term use. So the team was excited to design a more permanent location. “The new space had so much potential. We had so much space to work with,” says Severe.
While shoppers were wowed by Lonely Ghost’s original location, Severe and co-founder Bronson Christensen didn’t want to make any compromises in terms of design at the second location. The new store would allow them to expand upon 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 the limitations of space and budget,” she explains. “Our main goal is to always give our customers an experience. I think we nailed it. We spared no details. We added a bakery, a balloon section, and even added grocery carts. There are three aisles and plenty of room to roam.”
The design of the new space was also highly influenced by Lonely Ghost’s creative director, Rory Markham, who added a variety of elements including a conveyor belt and additional prop groceries.
Getting the aesthetic right was essential for this project with the team going to great lengths to make the store feel like a real grocery store. For example, the clothing and home goods are merchandised in between faux products including fruit, bread, and cereal boxes.
While those familiar with the brand can easily navigate the space, not everyone in the community is equally enthused. “We do get a lot of confused old ladies wondering why they can’t buy actual groceries here,” notes Severe.
The store features all of the products carried online from sweats to hats, as well as Lonely Ghost’s highly popular home line which includes blankets, area rugs, art, and candles. The store also carries some exclusive pieces to incentivize people to shop in person.
Severe tells me everything was designed with social media content creation in mind.
“The entire store is a photo op, but we really went all out with our back room. You can walk through the refrigerator doors, into a secret room that looks like a cozy apartment. It’s decked out with Ghost Home products and personal touches like family photos and Polaroids of 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 handle to be paired up with another ‘lonely’ customer. From there, they can strike up a conversation online. We call it our ‘cure to loneliness.’ We’re all about connecting 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, old-fashioned bathtub, and custom gold framed mirrors that feature some of the brand’s iconic sayings including “Text me when you get home.”
Where this retail concept truly succeeds is taking something commonplace like a grocery store and creating an experiential world through design. “Who doesn’t love grocery shopping sometimes? These are our necessities. It can be boring shopping at any regular-looking shop for clothing items but with Ghost Grocery, we made it an experience to grab things, put them in a shopping cart, and shop away. Think of it like an Alice-In-Wonderland-like fantasy—but instead of a secret garden, it’s a grocery store that gives the illusion of entering a perfectly nostalgic cartoon-like world.”