Trailmark Outfitters

Case Study
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Client + Background

Trailmark Outfitters is a small but prominent purveyor of outdoor and adventure attire. The store has been offering the best-in-class outdoor apparel to customers for 31 years at its sole location in the Galleria Shopping Center in Edina, MN. In commemoration of its 30-year anniversary last year, the company decided to upgrade its facilities through a modest yet meaningful renovation.  

 Daylight Specialists President, Jeff May, sat down with Trailmark owner, Joel Santerre, to talk about his decision to install Solatubes at his store and the impact they have had on his business.  

The Challenge

Because the storefront is located inside the mall, renovation options were limited by available space. Additionally, store owner Joel Santerre was looking for a renovation that would bring new life to the space without a hefty price tag or major renovation time. He decided that some daylight would do just the trick! However, as the store was completely boxed in by shared walls with neighboring stores, windows were not an option.  

Jeff: When did you decide daylighting was going to be a major focus of the remodel?  

Joel: “I’ve always wanted windows in the store, but I knew that wasn’t going to happen because of the design space and shared walls. So, my initial idea was to install a big skylight. But there is so much mechanical and HVAC equipment on the ceiling, it just wasn’t making sense structurally. That’s when Pat from Emerald Builders suggested Solatubes.”

The Edina Galleria has many Solatubes installed throughout its walkways already—one of the key features that makes the annual floral experience with Bachman’s, an indoor garden display, truly exceptional.  

Joel: “I liked the Solatubes in the mall hallways and thought they worked really well to bring in natural light. And of course, the mall was totally on board with them already, so the approval process was easy.”  

The Solution & Results

Emerald Builders turned to Daylight Specialists for the job—who had installed the Solatubes in the same Galleria a few years prior.  

Daylight Specialists installed 5 750DS open ceiling Solatubes into Trailmark’s ceiling, and as an architectural choice, left the metal exteriors of the tubes exposed to compliment the industrial look of the ceiling already decorated with HVAC and piping.  

 Solatubes proved to be the perfect solution for Trailmark’s daylighting needs. They have created a more natural, comfortable, and inviting atmosphere for customers while also providing a refreshing and productive work environment for employees.  

Jeff: What feedback have you gotten about the remodel of the store?

Joel: “The feedback has been great, and the Solatubes are definitely the unsung hero for what they did to our store. Nobody knows exactly what they’re seeing or why the light in the store makes things look so much more alive and vibrant. But customers really do notice a difference in the ambiance and often comment on it! That’s usually when I point to the ceiling and tell them it’s the daylight that’s making that difference. The store just looks better.” 

The Solatubes delivery of beautiful daylight also delivers the highest possible color rendering index (CRI) onto Trailmark’s merchandise. In a retail environment, accurate color representation is critical because it influences how customers perceive the products. The CRI of the products in Trailmark’s store is vibrant and accurate under daylight, providing customers with a true representation of the colors of the apparel sold at the store, something particularly important for products designed to be worn outdoors! The daylight also enhances the overall shopping experience, making it easier for customers to see and appreciate the quality of the products.

Jeff: Have you noticed the difference in the display of your products under the Solatubes?

Joel: “Yes, absolutely! Years ago, we installed LED light bulbs and we did some research to find the ones that were as close to natural light as possible. But I didn’t realize how far off those LED lights were until we got the Solatubes! Especially when it’s a clear day outside, the products underneath those tubes absolutely jump—it’s a big difference from the color rendering we’ve been able to achieve before. We often bring customers or a product directly underneath the Solatubes to show customers the true color if they’re having questions, and we try to take all of our promotional photos under them too.” 

The presence of daylight in Trailmark’s store is particularly fitting, given the store’s focus on the outdoors. The Solatubes bring a touch of nature into the store, creating an environment that is both refreshing and invigorating. The employees at Trailmark also love the refreshing environment that the Solatubes have created, which has a positive impact on their productivity and mood.

Jeff: What has been the biggest benefit of having top-down daylighting in the store? 

Joel: “I always thought I wanted windows in the store, but the problem with windows is that they take away wall space, where we really need to be able to hang and display our products. The Solatubes are an even better solution than windows for a retail business like mine, where wall space is valuable merchandising area—maybe even more important than floor space.”

Trailmark’s decision to invest in Solatubes has proved to be a wise one. The Solatubes have provided a lighting solution that blends seamlessly into the store’s design while enhancing the shopping experience. Solatubes are a great example of how a simple change can make a big difference, creating a positive impact on both customers and employees. 

Joel: “I’m really pleased with how the Solatubes and transformed my store, and really have a lot of confidence in them and their longevity. I really believe this investment will pay off. I would recommend Solatubes to just about anyone, and Daylight Specialists was great to work with.”