In the 40 years that we've served clients here at AG+Co, friends like you have turned to us in all sorts of situations to deal with their challenges. However, October of 2012 was unprecedented.
Many of our friends in the New York vicinity suffered badly from Hurricane Sandy. Fortunately we were in a position to help repair some of the damage, as we detail in an anecdote below. A happier and more uplifting story, about another friend's expansion on the Upper East Side, follows.
Thanks for letting us share these accounts with you. We tell these case studies only to let you know we'll always be here for you. Your success and your unique needs are always on our mind.
With best wishes,
Michele Boddewyn AIA, LEED A.P.
Sandy Halts Delivery of Human Services to
Many City Elderly
The Jewish Association Serving the Aging (JASA) aids more than 53,000 senior citizens in the New York region. Founded in 1968 by the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies (now UJA-Federation of New York), JASA and its affiliates make up one of the largest community-based, voluntary social-service agencies serving the elderly in the United States.
Of the 50 JASA senior centers located in the five boroughs and Long Island, five were severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy in Coney Island and Long Beach. Each center was flooded and its equipment wrecked, severely delaying the delivery of vital JASA services to needy local seniors. JASA contacted us to help them rebuild. Our dedicated staff reached out to Area Managers and toured each site. Together, we developed better ways to support their senior citizen clients. Cost efficient planning and program implementation soon followed, restoring functionality to these popular community centers.
JASA's project manager, Evan Schneider of Project Control Group, orchestrated the combined JASA and AG+Co team efforts. Dynamic and upbeat, Schneider was on the front lines. His enthusiasm was contagious. He rallied the team as they inventoried existing assets, developed new furniture layouts, created a master list of requirements, and identified affordable sources for new equipment. JASA was soon on its way to recovery, based on quick, economical solutions for renovating each of the five compromised centers.
Linda the Bra Lady Opens New Upper East Side Bra Palace
More than 25 years ago, Linda Becker, also known as Linda the Bra Lady, opened her first specialty shop in Pennsylvania. Based on its great popularity, Linda opened her first New York City store in 2005, on Lexington Avenue. Further training with the American Cancer Society, about how to fit bras for prostheses and mastectomies, taught her that virtually everyone who walked into her store, including herself, was wearing the wrong bra size.
From the very beginning, Linda's has distinguished her establishment from all other lingerie stores, with fittings by an expert staff of Bra Divas. These skilled fitters hand-select each garment for quality, suitability and value from an inventory of over 275 bra sizes. Most recently, Linda has incorporated swimwear into her stores' offerings. Surprisingly, they have begun to eclipse the sale of bras.
The success of Linda's shop on Lexington Avenue moved her to open another, larger shop in Murray Hill in 2012. Now, in summer 2013, she'll debut still another store, at 1409 Third Avenue on the Upper East Side. AG+Co's role has been to partner with Linda's design consultant - a specialist in store design, visual merchandising, branding and renovation - to develop the space plans, coordinate the interior colors and lighting, and maintain consistency with the other two stores. AG+Co also helped Linda and her designer evaluate different store locations before they finally chose one on the Upper East Side site.
An unusual potential obstacle posed by the new property was a sharp drop at the entrance, which called for an easily navigable ramp. As described by Elka Gruenberg, store development and operations manager, "AG+Co turned our problem into an asset. They created a three part, L-shaped course that made the most of our narrow space and maximized the display potential of the windows around our corner location. It also incorporated a relaxing waiting area for our customers. It's somewhere that husbands, boyfriends and even nursing mothers can relax while they're waiting for someone who's in the fitting room."
"To sum it up," says Elka, "AG+Co is a team you can trust. They came in with a fantastic can-do attitude and tackled a tough situation with calm professionalism. Their approach has helped turn our new-store vision into a reality."
As lead manager for both of the projects featured in today's newsletter, Cassandra McGowen exemplifies the spirit that all of us at AG+Co share as we approach the work we do for our clients. While we're confident in our mastery of the building sciences, and while we take pride in our artistry, our fundamental guidance comes from the unique requirements of the businesses we're serving. "What exactly does our client need?"
we ask ourselves. "Tell us all about your business and your customers. What special purpose are we trying to advance?"
"The father of modernist architecture, Louis Sullivan, put it plainly," says Cassandra: "Form follows function. And I'd extend that thought. Features, fit and finish also follow function. Oddly enough, those truths came home to me as a young mother, while I was making clothes for my daughters."
Would it surprise you to learn that Cassandra's perspectives as an architect have been shaped by her experiences as a seamstress? It shouldn't. She first developed her sewing abilities making Halloween costumes for her children, and she's continued for many years making their wardrobes for school. "The creative process doesn't happen in a vacuum," Cassandra remarks. "You develop the product as you go along, according to the needs and the wishes of your customer as you learn about them. And kids can be very tough customers. I learned early on that no standard pattern is ever sufficient. You have to improvise constantly, and pay extreme attention to detail."
"Unlike the expressionist artist," says Cassandra, "an architect doesn't work simply to please herself. As much as I might offer new ideas to my client and ask him or her to consider something in a new way, I always operate on the principle of humility. My clients know their businesses better than I ever will, and they always have much to teach me."
"Whether I'm working with one of AG+Co's clients or I'm designing an outfit for one of my girls," Cassandra observes, "the specific solution is always made to order. The form, features, fit and finish must always follow the function."
ALAN GAYNOR + CO
434 Broadway, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10013
AG+Co understands that
your needs evolve steadily, and we make certain we can adapt to them. By continually educating ourselves about
the latest trends and changes, we can hit the ground running to integrate new, value-added features to our work and
to your spaces. We're continually finding fresh
and different ways to meet
the challenges you face.
At all times, we keep your objectives, budgets and timelines uppermost in our minds.
"AG+Co is a team you can trust. They came in with a fantastic can-do attitude and tackled a tough situation with calm professionalism. Their approach has helped turn our new-store vision into a reality."