Apollo Award nominees: Greenhouse Mall, Austin, Texas
Kristine Ellis -- Casual Living, September 14, 2011
A balance of luxury and value reassures customers that their purchases count.
WHILE SOME RETAILERS HUNKER DOWN TO WAIT out bad weather and trying times, this year's group of Apollo Award nominees stands out for their determination to create their own destinies. Their ability to adapt is exceeded only by their drive to succeed. This group sets the bar for industry excellence in today's marketplace.
Finalists will be honored and winners announced at the Apollo Awards banquet at the Field Museum on Sept. 14, during the International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market in Chicago.
Multi-store | Greenhouse Mall, Austin, Texas
AFTER TWO YEARS IN THE WORKS, GREENHOUSE Mall's new San Antonio location opened this year, giving the past Apollo Award winner and multiple-time finalist a significant boost in that market thanks to additional floor space and greater visibility on a major highway.
"Our business is up this season because of the new location," said Karen Galindo, VP and secretary of the company, which she manages with her husband, Paul. "Our design center in Austin is also really taking off, so we are seeing a lot of new retail customers now as a result as well."
In recent years, Galindo took steps to adapt to the economic downturn but never cut to the bone. For example, she changed her mix some, in particular dropping greenhouses and adding redwood play sets, and increased rather than cut back on advertising and promotions.
In addition, Greenhouse Mall better managed inventory but reduced it in proportion to reduced sales only. This season's increased traffic validated the strategy to keep a significant amount of inventory on hand.
"When people come in, now more than ever they want instant gratification," Galindo said.
For the most part, business is back to 2007-2008 levels at Greenhouse Mall, but sales staff are working harder to keep it there.
"People remain cautious but they are spending. You just have to be a little more persuasive," Galindo said.
In addition, value has replaced blatant luxury.
"We are still selling something luxurious but it has to be value-oriented as well," Galindo said. "People definitely want to make sure that what they are spending their money on counts."
A multiple-time winner in Casual Living's top Merchandising Awards, Greenhouse Mall opened in 1977 and has three locations. The company won the Apollo Award in 2002.
Top from left, Paul Parker, Karen Galindo; bottom from left, Tracy Wolfrom and Paul Galindo