Lighting can convey a range of moods and brand value. Most often for c-stores, the choice is a comfortable range of light that enhances cleanliness, safety and visibility of the store interior and exterior.

“Lighting, particularly LED lighting, is trending in department signage and decor, to draw attention to foodservice or a beer cooler,” Geering says. Indirect lighting can also elevate the ambiance of a space and create depth and dimension.

Decorative lighting can be used to enhance the store design, whether contemporary or retro, while some are even using custom fixtures that reflect the store brand.

Bona says that lighting is the most misunderstood element of design. He says he has never believed in uniform light levels throughout any retail environment. Instead, he says, lighting highlights and contrast can draw the consumer’s eye to specific sections, shelving, products and signage.

“LED lights have become much more cost-effective and now come in a wide range of styles and color temperatures, and solar tubes allow for natural light to penetrate the roof, bringing daylight into the store,” Bona says.

Lastly, the use of technology that manages the amount of lighting at any point throughout the day—e.g., lights are dimmed or turned off during sunny days and then gradually adjusted as night approaches—allow companies to save dramatically on energy costs.

Illuminated interior decor and department lettering also is a huge trend playing out right now, Geering says, and it is an exceptional way to get customer attention from the parking lot or fuel pump.

“We employ LED neon, up-lighting and backlighting to enhance an in-store presentation for prepared foods, coffee, beverages, alcohol, to create focal points within the store and help guide customers through the space,” Geering says.