Brandie Brouillette's imagination runs wild as she stylizes a banner to sell local cheese and salami, and Taylor Hellewell meticulously adds detail to a fanciful portrait of a Storm Trooper, which will hopefully entice customers to buy coffee—this is a day in the life of a Harmons Grocery sign artist. Harmons, a local supermarket with 16 stores throughout Utah, employs six full-time artists to produce its signage. The hand-drawn chalk art signs add to an open, friendly, local-store vibe, which sets Harmons apart from other supermarkets.
Brouillette, who has been the artist at the Station Park store for nearly two years, is the store's "unofficial ambassador"—sitting at her work table at the store entrance, she greets customers while inking out artistic fonts. "II's not like you're exactly painting, because, well ... you're making art about chicken kabobs. But you're creating a personal touch," Brouillette says. "I have the best job in the world." There are more than 600 hand-drawn signs in her store alone, she guesses.
Taylor Hellewell's "office" is essentially a corner in the back storage area at the Emigration Market. Here, positioned between packages of firewood to his left and stacks of boxed bananas to his right, he paints whimsical scenes in liquid chalk on Sintra boards, which will eventually be hung in the produce section or over rows of arranged flowers. Hellewell is master of portraits, and his coworkers joke that customers come in to look at his art and just happen to buy some groceries while they're there.
Harmons' first artist store was its Bangerter Crossing location in 2008. "We wanted to add personality, fun and creativity to our store signage," says Tara Haynie, Harmons Director of Marketing. "We are about being different and about creating a feel good shopping experience for our customers. Art and personalized touches help to create that atmosphere." Now, Harmons has in-house artists at its Station Park, Brickyard, Emigration, District and City Creek stores.
For more information about Harmons, visit HarmonsGrocery.com.
Photographer and award-winning journalist Austen Diamond specializes in creative portraiture, commercial photography and editorial photojournalism. For booking inquiries and to view his portfolio, go to www.AustenDiamond.com.