Pinnacle Bank branch shares space with a Starbucks
February 22, 2017
USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee
Starbucks' website shows it operates in 42 locations around the Memphis area: 23 free-standing coffee shops, seven Targets, four Kroger groceries, three spots at Memphis International Airport, two hospitals, a hotel, casino and the University of Memphis bookstore.
And for the first time as of Saturday, in a bank.
Customers stepping through the front door of the Pinnacle Bank branch at 1264 Germantown Road may find their right foot in the small, light-colored bank lobby and their left foot in the dark-brown, woodsy space that houses the Starbucks.
Colors and materials delineate the space, not walls.
Coffee drinkers seeking the restroom must walk through the bank side to reach it.
Bank customers seek a loan to the strains of Starbucks' curated soundtrack and the familiar din of caffeine-powered conversation.
Motorists approaching the drive-thru can use the left lane for a frappuccino from a barrista or the middle and right lanes for a cashed check thanks to the swoosh of pneumatic tubes and the work of Pinnacle tellers.
The old National Bank of Commerce — now SunTrust — years ago innovated the practice of putting bank branches in grocery stores. Pinnacle is the first in the region to do the opposite: Put a retail business inside a bank.
The idea came to Pinnacle about three years ago from Carter Campbell and his relatively new, Memphis-based business, National Property Concepts. The firm specializes in helping banks "re-purpose'' their branches.
The buildings often occupy premium but under-used real estate at a time when walk-in bank traffic is falling because of online banking.
"The idea is that banks have got too much space,'' Campbell said. "Foot traffic is down in retail branches. So the concept is trying to help banks redevelop the space to optimize their square footage but also incorporate retailers to draw foot traffic to the branches that are there.''
A similar re-purposing will occur by this summer in the Trustmark Bank branch at 6165 Poplar. The Starbucks next door will move in and share space with the bank branch, Campbell said.
"What you are looking for is retailer brands that are compatible with bank branches,'' Campbell said. "Concepts like Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts, Krispy Kreme. There are possibilities of doing wireless carriers like AT&T and Verizon.''
Pinnacle built the 5,000-square-foot branch on Germantown Road in 2007. The bank turned over nearly 1,700 square feet to Starbucks.
"We're seeing more clients,'' Lisa Foley said after just four days of sharing the building. She's Pinnacle's area manager for client services. "And we're having more conversations (with potential new customers) than we had in the past.''
The new arrangement has redefined "bankers hours.'' The branch now opens at 7:30 a.m. weekdays to connect with morning coffee drinkers.
It was important to Pinnacle that Starbucks does not merely serve food and drink, but is a gathering spot where people go to socialize or do business. "Typically, when they are coming in there they are talking about life experiences,'' Foley said. "A lot of time that's something that impacts them financially. We're right around the corner.''
Coffee drinkers entering the front door can't help but engage with the bankers. They walk by tellers who greet them. Pinnacle even plans for its employees to cross over and help the Starbucks workers when a crush of coffee seekers hits.
"That's the great thing about this open concept," Foley said. "We intertwine and can go back and forth into each other's areas.''
People bank differently in the digital age, said Damon Bell, the Pinnacle president for the Memphis area.
"Coming into an office, a lot of folks don't do that,'' he said. "... We think by having something like Starbucks there it will bring people into the offices and give us a chance to reach out to them on the banking side.'
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