Big Bon Bodega

Connecting an upstart bagel bodega to the community.

Designing their business to make the most of the community and for the owner having a
personal connection to be accommodating and open to all friends and neighbors.

Design Research, Business Strategy, Urban Design, Information Design

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Define the space and place to create a connection between the business and the neighborhood which includes the homeless population in the area.

Create a transformative human engagement through an exploration of theoretical and practical applications of experience design, addressing form, physical space and sensory response through contextual research and analysis. Secondarily to define the meaning of place and space.


The initial research began with a historical background of the area, its purpose, the design and its inhabitants. Then the research focused on the community and business approaches that address the homeless population.


The design approaches the problem from multiple angles. One addresses how the physical space could be more accommodating to our friends and neighbors. Making Big Bon stand out as a community leader.

Design Objective:

Provide a “Design” solution that would be a truly altruistic gesture. No business objectives towards the bottom line and define the place into a space that welcomes anyone and everyone.


They were wanting to help but not knowing how. Opening their doors and giving away food would drive patrons of the local mission away from their services. Not knowing the population and what they truly need.


Give the homeless the respect of being human. Treat them as you would treat others. Respecting where they have come from and provide guidance to the resources they may need. Train the staff on sympathy and empathetic approaches. Provide a net benefit by working within the community and not against the resources that are already available.


Savannah Mission, Momma K’s personal commitment to community, the Bodega’s ability to work towards the long term. The mood board was pulled to reflect the cozy atmosphere of a corner bodega, a place you want to go and spend time, see friends, and make connections and connect with the community by not appearing to be off limits to anyone.

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Build on the already giving nature of the Big Bon family and design a bridge to the homeless population.



Immersive design research included; observations, interviews, and a Savannah historical review. Interviews were conducted with the key stakeholders in the community. Met and interviewed the members of the Savannah homeless population, the Old Savannah City Mission, the city task force and other restaurants that have established themselves in ungentrified areas of the city.

The solution(S):

A repurposed exterior parking space that would provide shelter, light and comfort to “Friends and Neighbors” in the community. Amenities would be added to the building for 24 hour conveniences. The space is open and inviting to everyone.

new brand ethos

Welcome | Respect | Kinship

We do not refer to anyone as homeless, to us, everyone is a friend and neighbor.

The Exterior

Features include roll away serving counter, evening and night time lighting, exterior counters that are open to the public but private enough for evening rest, heated and cooled benches. The counters serve as planters for river reeds that can be used to create and sell the infamous Savannah Rose.

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The Exterior without barriers

The facility features open seating for both interior and exterior. The overhead doors remove the typical front door barrier and invite the outside in.

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Business Operations

Treating everyone in a consistent manner is the truth of the operation. The research uncovered that the Starland area Friends and Neighbors wanted to be included and treated as anyone else would be treated. The Bodega has created a manual that assists the associates with working through situations that they may be unfamiliar with and provides a guide to the most appropriate behavior. Noting that not all situations can be covered under one set procedures.