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2009 Merchandising Awards

merchandising Awards

Summer Classics has a winning style that should translate into sales. That was the almost unanimous decision of designers and retail editors who judged Casual Living's ninth annual Merchandising Awards.

Summer Classics Most Fashionable

Summer Classics

Most Fashionable

For a second consecutive year, Summer Classics won top honors as Most Fashionable Retailer, based on photos submitted by Summer Classics stores in Atlanta, Nashville, Charlotte, N.C., and Richmond, Va.

Summer Classics also placed first in the multistore category for Best Overall Merchandising and Best Use of Accessories. Summer Classics stores previously won Best Overall Merchandising honors in 2008, 2007 and 2003, as well as Best Outdoor Display, multistore in 2006 and 2005.

Designer Mark Abrams noted Summer Classics stores' consistent excellent presentation as he narrowed the choices along with other judges Christi Barbour of Barbour Spangle Design Group, Furniture/Today Retail Editor Clint Engel, Home Accents Today Retail Editor Susan Dickenson and Casual Living Editor in Chief Cinde W. Ingram.

summer classics

Best Overall Merchandising  / Multistore

Judges' choice: Moss Outdoor, Bucks Country Gardens, and Biddle Outdoor Center
summer classics

Best Use of Accessories/ Multistore

Layers of accessories, including outdoor lamps and wall art, help complete Summer Classics' fashion-forward furniture displays. Themed vignettes like these provide looks that shoppers will want to recreate at home, whether inside or out.

Summer Classics stores are on-trend with architectural and residential styles in their markets, Abrams said. They offer styles, options, themes and colors the consumer is seeing as trends in shelter magazines. "They're selling the total lifestyle," Abrams said. "They really want to blur the lines between indoor and outdoor. Some of these upholstered pieces can be put in a den and no one would know the difference."

Although Summer Classics was the hands-down winner, the judges also were impressed by merchandising displays at other stores across the nation including: Carls Patio with stores in Florida and Southern California; The Pool Place, Abington, Mass.; Moss Outdoor, Santa Fe, N.M.; Biddle Outdoor Center, Sedona and Prescott, Ariz., and Bucks Country Gardens, Doylestown, Pa.

Judges said they wanted to see more exterior photos of stores, especially showing entrances from customers' perspectives. Too many stores in strip shopping centers give up their individual personality, but a few of the urban stores were able to hold on through signage and displays near the doors. About the Kolo Collection in Atlanta's mid-town, one judge said, "I love the obvious entry point, architecture, signage and urban-living environment."

As the winner of Best First-Time Entry, Hickory Fireplace & Patio also won a free store appearance and consultation from designer Mark Abrams. For one day, Abrams will travel to the store to offer tips on design and store merchandising.

Bucks Country Gardens, Doylestown, Pa.
Best Store Front / Single Store

Bucks Country Gardens, Doylestown, Pa.

Good signage leaves no doubt customers have reached their destination. Staff members' expertise with landscape architecture is evident from the exterior, which shows impressive juxtaposition of cedar siding with the greenhouse center.

Best Overall Merchandising / Single Store

Bucks Country Gardens, Doylestown, Pa.

The interior design skills of its staff show through multiple layers of products in displays that tell a story. Customers find casual furniture, home decor, holiday, stationery and books as well as garden supply.
Bucks Country Gardens, Doylestown, Pa.
Hickory Fireplace & Patio, Hickory, N.C.
Best First-Time Entry

Hickory Fireplace & Patio, Hickory, N.C.

Inside a refurbished textile mill, Hickory Fireplace & Patio creates a homelike environment through layering of home furnishings with on-trend colors. Established in 1992, the single store was described by judges as a rising retail star.

Honorable mentions: Kolo Collection, Atlanta; Carls Patio, Boca Raton, Fla.

Best Use of Accessories / Single Store

Moss Outdoor, Santa Fe, N.M.

The mix of accessories included permanent botanicals, serveware, vases, quilts and orchids for unexpected twists that impressed judges. The store's point of view is conveyed through clean lines for a desired high-end look.
Moss Outdoor, Santa Fe, N.M.

Best Outdoor Display / Single Store

Fruehauf's Patio & Garden Center, Boulder, Colo.

Brightly colored Adirondacks grab attention and make it hard for customers to pass by without wanting to stop and explore this playful spot.

Honorable mention: Biddle Outdoor Center, Sedona and Prescott, Ariz.

Best Outdoor Display / Multistore

The Greenhouse Mall, Austin, Texas

Customers get ideas about ways to furnish their outdoor areas for rest or recreation in multiple outdoor vignettes at these Texas stores.

Honorable mention: The Pool Place
The Greenhouse Mall, Austin, Texas

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