Avidia Bank: the striking result of a merge between Hudson Savings Bank and Westborough Bank, chose to renovate their Leominster Branch in an unconventional way. They closed the main portion of the branch over the course of eight days in order to get the branch as fully functional as possible in the least amount of time. CarrieAnne Cormier of Avidia Bank graciously spoke with me over the phone to share some insight into the project.
Avidia has recently built two other branches that had a more modern look and feel. In order to keep with brand standards and maintain consistency, CarrieAnne felt that it was time to bring Leominster up to snuff. While well maintained, the last time it was updated was in 2005, the year it opened. It was time for a change. For this space, they wanted a more modernized look, one that would attract and engage a younger demographic. Ultimately, this would target new customer segments and ideally build more market share in an area saturated with banks and credit unions.
They chose to fast track this particular project due to the smaller square footage. Spatially, sectioning off parts of the branch while keeping the doors open was not a viable option. However, shutting down the branch for eight days was some cause for concern. To remedy this issue, Avidia decided to keep the drive-up open all week, providing service to customers throughout the entire renovation. This different approach to branch transformation presented its own challenges and stresses, but in the end the hard work paid off. CarrieAnne went on to say that this process was something that she deemed well worth repeating for another smaller branch. However, in terms of a larger one, she would opt for a more traditional approach.
She made a point of mentioning the dedication of project managers Nate Henry (Element) and Mikala Geurtsen (Avidia) who were in close communication throughout the entirety of the project. Having project managers on both sides of the project allowed for smooth execution and easy troubleshooting. Based on the time crunch, there was little room for error and people were working round the clock to get this project done. There was a little hitch with a carpet being backordered, but that was quickly rectified by Element’s Alina Pawlowski who found a suitable replacement in record time.
The branch is open now, and the reactions of the customers were priceless. CarrieAnne shared her favorite reaction which occurred only after 2 days after reopening. A customer came in and said, “Wow this doesn't even look like a bank, it’s beautiful!”
She was very complimentary of the team at Element, saying that they were fun to work with and that they challenged Avidia to think creatively and experiment with different things. She then went on to say that Element does a great job of figuring out and then producing this “branch of the future,” a concept that extends beyond a sleek design and into an effective and smooth workflow.
Written by Bryn Baldasaro for The Element Group
Edited by CarrieAnne Cormier