Capitalize on market ideas

Mary Fruehauf, Staff Staff, October 14, 2005

The Casual Furniture Show in Chicago offers all of us an opportunity to bring new ideas from market back home to our stores.

Many of the showrooms set up fabulous displays, and retailers should take advantage of the creative ideas we saw there. At Fruehauf's, for example, we do floor moves every couple of months or after every major show or market we attend. We set up new displays and create new themes.

Our hard work pays off. Frequent floor and thematic display changes bring in a new energy that has proven to inspire both our customers and sales staff alike. You will be surprised that sometimes something as simple as moving an item to a different location in your store can spark renewed interest in your merchandise.

The following are two of the ideas we took home from market and have already incorporated into our store. Many of our customers have second homes in the mountains since we are located in Boulder, Colo., so we loved the idea of the wilderness/woodsy theme we saw at market. We transformed two storage tents into additional showroom by creating inviting lodge and twilight dining areas.

Our wilderness was created by covering the asphalt flooring with cedar bark mulch and delineating a "path through the forest" with brick pavers. This offered a nice home for our wildlife fountains and statuary of bears, deer and buffalo.

We also decorated with various giftware including pinecone candles, hot chocolate, blankets and snow-covered artificial trees. We have just begun to fill the new space with all of the beautiful wood-looking furniture we purchased at market.

The second storage tent has been converted into an area we call twilight dining. This area allows us to set elaborate tables for more formal outdoor dining occasions such as weddings or anniversaries. In this space, we decorated with lanterns, twinkle lights, umbrella lights and elegantly laid tables with luxurious tablecloths and dinnerware we found at gift shows.

Think back on the fantastic ideas you have just seen at market and try to find a way to incorporate a few of these into your own store.