Center for Retail Design & Innovation (CRDI)

Retail Merchandising students working with a professional at Décor

The Center for Retail Design & Innovation (CRDI) is housed within the Retail Merchandising Program and is designed to enrich student experiences through industry partnerships and program involvement. The center is designing, developing, and launching various educational opportunities to support and empower retail merchandising students.


The Center for Retail Design & Innovation (CRDI) will foster collaborations with industry partners to stay at the forefront of retail design and innovation. Faculty and students will actively engage in dialogue with stakeholders to ensure that our research remains relevant and applicable to the evolving needs of the retail industry. Through interdisciplinary collaboration and creative methodologies, our center aims to contribute valuable insights. These insights will inform strategic decision-making and innovation within the evolving landscape of the retail industry in Minnesota and beyond. As one of the only retail research centers located within a design college, CRDI will serve as a design thinking hub, connecting faculty expertise and students’ research skills to industry needs, such as analyzing the impact of emerging technologies on the retail experience and evaluating the effectiveness of retail technology applications. Being situated in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, CRDI benefits from easy access to numerous Fortune 500 corporations.

Interested in getting involved? You can contact me at [email protected].

Hye-Young Kim low resolution square for CRDI page

Hye-Young Kim, 612-624-4904
Professor, Retail Merchandising Program; Founding Director, Center for Retail Design & Innovation


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Retail students and faculty members pose with Kohl's representatives.
Recent News

Students in RM 3124 Consumers of Design were selected to work with Kohl's Corporation on a semester-long case study competition. For this project, Kohl's was looking for ideas to increase their engagement with BIPOC customers. The winning project team was composed of Sonia Miller, Georgia Humphrey, and Grace King (all Retail Merchandising) who focused on a home strategy centered on recipes and cookware.

Industry Partnership Benefits

Learn about sponsorship levels and become a founding partner of the Center for Retail Design & Innovation at the University of Minnesota College of Design, or make a gift to the Center for Retail Design & Innovation. 

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Partner Benefits

Retail professional working with a group of students in a lecture hall

Are you searching for a fresh perspective on an old business problem? Do you need an expert opinion on a new idea?

As a partner of the center you will have unique access to students and faculty who are working on the forefront of research within the retail industry. In addition, you will:

  • Connect with top students for internships, job opportunities, and focus groups.
  • Gain visibility by co-branding with the College of Design and the University of Minnesota through event sponsorships and publications.
  • Impact students’ education and provide real-world learning experiences through case studies, guest lectures, and company tours.
  • Work with leading researchers who can assist in business strategy development and analysis.

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Student Benefits

Retail student taking notes on merchandise with professional

Through the center, you will have extraordinary access to invaluable resume-building experiences.

Get involved in the center's work and:

  • Build personal connections with top professionals in the retail industry.
  • Experience the complexity of retail through internships, case studies, and industry involvement.
  • Learn how to anticipate change and develop strategies to stay ahead in an ever-changing industry.
  • Be exposed to the impacts of decisions in a real-world business environment.

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Current Partners