follow us

Editors announce annual winners

Each year, we at Casual Living get together to analyze and judge retailers' entries for our Merchandising Awards. It's not an easy task to study the many store vignettes we receive in the form of images, and even harder to choose just one winner in each of the nine categories.

Casual Living Merchandising Award logoWe recognize those awarded in this year's contest as exemplary retailers, pulling together fashionable showrooms with plenty of accessories to accent the furniture, as well as showing off current trends in the industry.

Winners receive a congratulatory letter, a plaque to hang in their store and a press release to send to local media. The 2006 Most Fashionable Retailer also will receive a special crystal award.

Judges for the 2006 awards included Mark Abrams, visual merchandising expert and designer; Lisa Casinger, former retail editor of Home Accents Today and now editor of Kids Today, another sister publication of Casual Living, along with members of the Casual Living staff — Becky Boswell Smith, editor-in-chief; Cinde W. Ingram, managing editor; and Courtney Mueller, associate editor.

As always, we thank all the retailers who took time to send in photos of their stores. And we invite other retailers to photgraph their stores during the year so they can enter next year's competition.

Most Fashionable Retailer 2006

The Greenhouse Mall

1st TIME WINNER

The Greenhouse Mall
With locations in Austin and San Antonio, Texas, The Greenhouse Mall makes a clear fashion statement in the casual furniture industry. Owner Karen Galindo clearly focuses on her high-end Texan customers, as shown with soft and rich colors in the store, high-end furniture lines and tasteful accessories that aren't too showy or overdone. Judges were impressed with the upscale style of the showroom and the "on-trend" look of the vignettes.

 The Greenhouse Mall

 The Greenhouse Mall


 Permanent botanicals and accessories complete the room setting and help create an elegant look.

 This outdoor display answers questions of consumers who wonder whether product can withstand the weather.

Best Outdoor Display, multistore

Summer Classics

Summer Classics
Summer Classics' outdoor area is put to great use in Raleigh, N.C., utilizing several casual categories to create an outdoor living area — with accessories as a bonus. An eight-seat dining table hits right on-trend, surrounded by an outdoor fireplace, plenty of garden containers, statuary and fountains. Permanent botanicals add to the display, as does weatherproof art for the outdoors.

Best Overall Merchandising, multistore

American Backyard

1st TIME WINNER

 American Backyard

 American Backyard

Outdoor lighting, rugs and layers of bright color set this deep seating scene to attract customers.

Photos taken in American Backyard's newest location in Southlake, Texas, show a clear winner in this category. With backdrops and vignettes that tell consumers a story, American Backyard covers all the bases when it comes to outdoor living. From a variety of accessories to grills, spas and casual furniture, customers know this retailer will take care of all their backyard needs. American Backyard is the latest addition to the Georgia Backyard specialty retail group, which took home Casual Living's first awards for Most Fashionable Retailer and Best Overall Merchandising in May 2001.

Best Use of Accessories, multistore

Waterloo Gardens

1st TIME WINNER

 Waterloo Gardens  Soothing shades of blue invite consumers to imagine their own home resort.


Headquartered in Exton, Pa., Waterloo Gardens is a family-owned, garden specialist, but carries high-end casual furniture lines displayed in inviting vignettes. Bursts of bright colors, fashionable on-trend displays and clean looks impressed the judges. According to one judge, "Waterloo Gardens created an outdoor feeling." Another stated, "I like the clean looks and great use of colors that pop — the store stands out because of color combinations like hot pink and lime. The accessories complement the furniture, but don't compete with it." Casual Marketplace

Best Store Front, multistore

Casual Marketplace

1st TIME WINNER

A colorful building accented with large windows create a welcoming showroom for Delaware-based Casual Marketplace. Highlighted by lush foliage and beautiful landscaping, the store also makes sure to display some furniture sets outside of the building.

Best Outdoor Display, single store

The Fire Place, Patio & Grill Center

1st TIME WINNER

 The Fire Place, Patio & Grill Center  An intriguing glimpse of products to be found inside works to attract shoppers.


All elements for an outdoor living area are featured in an outdoor display by The Fire Place, Patio & Grill Center, Concord, N.C. A pergola, fireplace, conversational grouping, grill, umbrella and more demonstrate to passersby just what the retailer has to offer.

Best Overall Merchandising, single store

Dodds & Eder

 Dodds & Eder

 Dodds & Eder

Dodds & Elder takes advantage of wall space, left, to show off wall decor and separate vignettes. Right, foliage and bursts of color freshen the look. Based in Oyster Bay, N.Y., Dodds & Eder impressed judges with its use of a variety of accessories throughout the showroom, tactfully placed without looking overdone or cluttered. From the interior showroom to its outdoor display, Dodds & Eder created a balance between the indoors and out, utilizing every inch of space to create stylish vignettes and selling points.

Best Use of Accessories, single store

Casual Living

1st TIME WINNER

 Casual Living

 Casual Living

Colors captivate shoppers' attention and pull groupings of like products together. An abundance of accessories is found in Casual Living, based in Columbia, S.C. Wall space, painted in eye-catching colors, is creatively used to display everything from tabletop products to full-size chairs. Customers will surely return to this store for additional purchases. Owner Dottie Reynolds said, "We sell a lot of accessories both to complement furniture purchased and as gifts. Accessories enhance the product, make the mix more interesting and keep the customer in the store longer." Leisure Living

Best Store Front, single store

Leisure Living

1st TIME WINNER

Judges were unanimous when it came to Salt Lake City's Leisure Living. The retailer presents a dramatic store front, clearly focused on its product, well-lit and surrounded by impressive landscaping. As one judge said, "You could see their store from across the street and know what they sold."

Other Home Furnishings Sites

Casual Living
Gifts and Decorative Accessories
Home Accents Today
Kids Today
Home & Textiles Today