ACE Shop of the Month | The Association for Cultural Enterprises

ACE Shop of the Month

Thank you to everyone who has had entered Shop of the Month this year. The competition is now closed until spring 2019.

We've had six worthy winners this year, two of whom will now be shortlisted for Best Shop by our 2019 Best Product Awards judging panel.

The finalists will be revealed on 1 February 2019, and the winner will be announced at the ACE2019 Conference Gala Dinner on 28 February 2019.


December Shop of the Month
Bawdsey Radar Trust

Bawdsey Radar Trust shop has undergone one of the most impressive transformations we've ever seen, doubling its revenue. The shop used to be a table with a cash box selling postcards, keyrings and booklets, but in 2016 the Trust was awarded funding to restore the building and install a bespoke exhibition and new retail area. 

The new shop features eye-catching curved shelving which complements the circular units used in the exhibition to echo transmitted radar pulses. A small mobile ‘pocket money’ unit doubles up as a table for other events and an EPOS system, iZettle, enables stock control and credit card facilities to give a professional approach to retailing. 

The shop now carries bespoke merchandise including a tea towel featuring a 1945 map of radar stations, and RAF journals hand-made by a local book binder with an original RAF Bawdsey stamp, as well as a specially commissioned Emma Bridgewater mug.

November Shop of the Month
Kettle's Yard

Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge reopened earlier this year following a two-year redevelopment. The new shop now offers gifts, homeware, jewellery and craft ranges, and together with the new café has made Kettle’s Yard a destination for shopping and socialising in its own right. 

The shop fit uses design signatures from Kettle’s Yard house, such as white painted wood units and natural oak. The jewellery cabinet is a near-replica of a cabinet in the house and creates a visual feature drawing the eye to the back of the shop. Visual merchandising tends towards a minimalist, boutique style, reflecting the calm and meditative ambience of the house itself. 

With a primarily 20th century collection still subject to copyright, product development has focussed on unique Kettle’s Yard-inspired products as well as ranges from contemporary ceramicists, jewellers and designer-makers, many of which have created ranges exclusively for Kettle’s Yard. Our judges loved the strong connections with the house throughout the shop, as well as the clever use of product commissioning, resulting in an impressive uplift in profit margins since the reopening. 

October Shop of the Month
Imperial War Museums

Imperial War Museums have revamped the kids' area in their London shop to create a more impactful connection with children and their experience at the museum. In the first four days' trading, sales of children’s ranges increased by 63% year on year, and sales of the kids' aviation range increased by 147%. 

With the museum content often being of a sensitive nature, the challenge was to find a way to speak to a young audience and engage them whilst still keeping in mind IWM values. They chose bright, bold colours and linked the theme of the redesign to the popular air fix kits and construction sets sold in the shop. The finishing touch is a hanging wooden Spitfire which echoes the display in the museum atrium, creating a visual connection between the museum content and the retail offer.

September Shop of the Month
DIVA Museum, Antwerp

The recently opened museum explores Antwerp's diamond history, which makes shopping there quite an experience! The shop carries jewellery crafted by local designers, as well as a wide range of souvenirs grouped to reflect the six themes of the diamond museum.

Customers can take home local confectionery as well as Antwerp beers and a premium DIVA gin (pictured top right), distilled exclusively for the museum. For special occasions, glamorous gift wrapping is available from the multilingual sales team.

August Shop of the Month
Bristol Museum & Art Gallery

Bristol Museum and Art Gallery shop has been given a new lease of life after its June 2018 refit. Previously nicknamed 'The Cave' by the retail team, the new shop is light and welcoming, and customers seem to agree - July sales were up 52% versus two years ago. 

Additional space was created by removing the stockroom and increasing the number of bays, and the shop is now fully aligned with its brand and audience, a mix of local residents and tourists. Products tie in with Bristol events and landmarks, and are merchandised by theme with a particular focus on the bespoke range based on the gallery's fine art collection.

July Shop of the Month
Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow

The Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) shop has undergone a complete transformation, with a bright, fresh and colourful look and a quirky product mix featuring modern and contemporary artists. The shop's limited space means it can be challenging to merchandise. However with two entrances there are two focal points, and the shop window onto Royal Exchange Square offers a fantastic opportunity for eye-catching window displays. 

As many of the customers are regulars the team aim to reinvent the shop at least twice a year. Buying has focussed on “Gifts for an Art Lover”, inspired by modern artists including Frida Kahlo, Picasso, Dali and Warhol, and the “Modern Artists” themed ranges have proved extremely popular, resulting in phenomenal sales. Customer feedback has been very positive and GoMA has now become a destination shop in its own right.