Brian Shafley, RDI, was named to the Retail Design Legion of Honor at the Institute’s 47th Awards Gala & Fundraiser in New York City on May 23. He is CEO of Columbus, Ohio-based Chute Gerdeman. Shafley discovered the retail design field early on, explaining, “I designed a cardboard pet shop inside a Thom McAn shoe box for a fifth-grade school project — and I’ve been hooked ever since.” His motivation now he says, “Comes from the opportunity to breathe life into a new idea, a new space or experience that will somehow – even for just a moment – make just one single person… happy.”
Shafley earned a BS in Industrial Design from Ohio State University and then went straight to work. At Retail Planning Associates in Columbus, from 1985 to 1991, he rose from fledgling designer to vice president, director of design, before accepting his next challenge.
Remaining in Columbus, Shafley’s next move was about a mile up the road to Chute Gerdeman, which at the time was a few years old. In those intervening years with Chute Gerdeman, he’s been on a team responsible for 185 industry awards, three of them Store of the Year including 1991’s kiva; 2007’s M&M World and 2011’s Barbie Shanghai. Before being named Chute Gerdeman’s CEO in 2014, Shafley was vice president, director of design, chief creative officer, director CG Chicago and president. His clients include Target, Disney, Verizon, M&Ms World/Mars, Hamleys (UK), Woolworth (South Africa), Whole Foods, Exchange, and HMS Host.
For more than 35 years, Shafley has shared his passion and joy for stores and design with clients, partners, teammates and students. He even made time to handle the presidency of the Ohio Chapter of the Retail Design Institute, where he remains a member. As a frequent industry speaker, Shafley evangelizes great design can entertain, incite wonder, elicit emotion and deliver powerful results. As a consultant, Shafley works to ensure his clients receive the Chute Gerdeman “secret sauce,” its special blend of creativity and practicality.