New Concept Design Solution at HFA Architecture and Engineering Focuses on Consumer-Centric Approaches to Retail Environments

With people expecting more from the buildings they frequent, HFA’s Matchstick relies on principles from hospitality and entertainment architecture to elevate the customer experience.

BENTONVILLE, Ark., March 17, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — HFA Architecture and Engineering today announced the launch of Matchstick—a concept design solution that puts the customer experience at the forefront of the built environment.

Award-winning architect Nicole Poole (AIA, NCARB, LEED AP), who joined HFA in February 2021, leads the team. She boasts 16 years of experience in creating front-end designs for nationally known names such as Topgolf and Shake Shack and working with local hospitality and entertainment clients like The Chicago Firehouse Restaurant; One Fifty One Kitchen | Bar in Elmhurst, Illinois; and Fielding’s Local in The Woodlands, Texas.

"Telling stories and crafting experiences has always been a fundamental part of front-end design for spas, resorts, hotels, restaurants and specialty entertainment destinations," said Poole, a Bentonville-based hospitality and entertainment lead. "But these days, HFA’s retail clients are just as interested in engaging and entertaining their customers. By relying on proven principles from hospitality architecture, Matchstick creates retail environments that encourage customers to savor the experience and connect with each other and the brand."

Matchstick works with clients at all stages of development, from newcomers still honing their brand books, to national retailers that have gathered terabytes of segmented customer data. In collaborating with new clients, Poole explains, the Matchstick team puts a premium on understanding how different types of consumers will interact and flow through the space. "Working with detailed patron profiles, we put ourselves in the shoes of our clients’ customers," she said. "Creative solutions then naturally emerge from that empathic exercise."

Such user-centric approaches were a big part of Poole’s focus in her decade of design work on behalf of Topgolf. She began designing experiential buildings for the Dallas-based sports entertainment company in 2010, when it operated only three locations. Today, Topgolf boasts more than 70 venues all over the world. "A 14-year-old video game junkie will use an entertainment venue differently than a golf-obsessed retiree who stops by to have lunch and watch the U.S. Open on a 4K TV," Poole said. "The goal of any hospitality or entertainment design project is to make sure all the client’s different patrons have fun, frictionless experiences in their own way."

"The launch of Matchstick comes as HFA continues to expand its menu of client solutions," said Dave Wilgus, President and CEO of HFA Architecture and Engineering. The company has 30 years of experience in architecture and engineering and offers a range of fully integrated solutions for major retail brands throughout the country.

"Our culture of collaboration, integrity and long-term client relationships is all about coming to the table with a fresh perspective," Wilgus said, "and that’s precisely what Nicole and Matchstick are bringing to our clients with these creative and innovative retail designs."

Media Contacts:  At Jaffe Communications: Elisa Krantz,
, (908) 789-0700, or Bill Parness,
, (732) 673-6852.