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he INSTORE team is excited to announce the winners of the 19th annual America’s Coolest Stores Contest!

What makes them so cool? Judges with expertise in store design, retail operations, visual merchandising, marketing and branding evaluate stores in multiple categories: back story, interior, exterior, marketing, online presence and what we here at INSTORE believe is the key to cool: individuality.

As in past years, we divided the entries into two categories — Big Cool (six or more full-time employees) and Small Cool (five or fewer). 

Our six America’s Coolest and additional 10 Cool Stores — each of which will be featured in INSTORE issues through June 2021 — represent creative approaches to doing business and an ability to evolve with changing times, as well as appealing and functional retail environments. They also offer distinctive shopping experiences.

If you entered and weren’t chosen this time, that doesn’t mean we don’t think your store is cool. Competition is tough out there. Please consider updating your entry in January 2021 and giving it another shot. And if you haven’t entered yet, start thinking now about how you can shine in the contest next year.