• Cinde Ingram

Casual Living's 2011 Merchandising Awards

Winners use themes, groupings to enhance outdoor living

Richland, Mich.

Bell Tower Outdoor Living won awards for Best Overall Merchandising and Best First-Time Entry in Casual Living's 11th annual Merchandising Awards contest.

Telescope Casual marine-grade polymer Adirondacks are complemented by colorful Magnolia Casual toss cushions and accents of drink ware, coasters, lanterns and pottery.
Telescope Casual
fun themed signsWith fun themed signs, art and wind chimes high at the back and colorful toss pillows and a swing chair low at the front, all the merchandise is visible to shoppers.

     The Southwest Michigan outdoor living store "covered it all through its in-store themes enhanced with matching accessories, a variety of product categories and outdoor displays," according to the judges panel made up of art directors and editors from Casual Living, Furniture/Today and Home Accents Today. One judge described the store's atmosphere as cheerful and sunny with a good use of accessories and a nice lineup of chairs and outdoor play equipment.
     Founded in 2008 by Jack and Ashleigh Kosin, Bell Tower Outdoor Living uses accessories to enhance all outdoor furniture displays, from toss pillows on each chair to placemats and outdoor dishes on all tables. "I like customers to be able to come into the store and, whether they are looking for a set of furniture or just an accessory, be able to envision the displays at their home," Ashleigh Kosin said of her merchandising schemes in the Richland, Mich., store. "I aspire to create the feeling of summer dreaming even in the cold spring."
     Emigh's Casual Living, founded in 2000 in Sacramento, Calif., was a close runner- up. "Emigh's makes good use of signage and themes, carrying them through the total display," one judge said. Another judge described the store as clean and neat with a good variety of product.
     Kolo Collection's minimal, contemporary displays were the undisputed favorite of one judge. Another judge found the Atlanta store's entry to be the best in demonstrating a niche.
     Judges also noted outstanding merchandising at Season's Four, The Bruce Company, Fruehauf's Patio & Garden Center, Sunnyland and Sunshine Furniture, which won Best Use of Accessories.

Rockford, Ill.

Judges were drawn to the Rockford, Ill.-based store's light, open structure and bright colored accents. "It looks easy and fun to navigate," one judge commented. Another judge said she liked the way the retailer utilized its spaces, which are covered but appear open air.

Color pops in Village Green Nurseries’ bistro display as the eye travels upward from planters and topiaries to lanterns and opened umbrellas toward the Weber Alliance grill area.
Color pops in Village Green

     The more traditional looks and good uses of accessories inside Today's Patio, Patios Plus, Porch and Patio and Summer Classics' stores also drew notice from the judging panel.

Scottsdale, Ariz.

Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Today's Patio drew all the elements of outdoor living together in its in-store displays. A chair gallery in one wall, shelved replacement cushion display in another joined with a fabric kiosk to help consumers' selection process. All of the accessory options were displayed in orderly fashion, ranging from toss pillows to open umbrellas, wall art, outdoor rugs, lighting and firepots.

Today’s Patio providesToday’s Patio provides consumers easy-to-understand options. Displays integrate an open umbrella, lamp, artwork and a conversation group surrounding a firepit table focal point.

     Narrowing the selection was difficult for judges. Warwick, R.I.-based Porch and Patio was noted for its nice integration of accessories. Village Green and Patios Plus also drew attention as did Summer Classics.

Vero Beach, Fla.

Judges liked the Floridian themes and good placement of accessories inside Vero Beach, Fla.-based Sunshine Furniture. "They found a wide variety of accessories that perfectly enhance their in-store themes," one judge commented. Another said the 35,000-sq.-ft. store was inviting, colorful and well-designed. A fourth judge said Sunshine Furniture was accessorized "like a serious outdoor living space,and each piece played a role in the setting."

Sunny yellow striped upholstery pairs with shell motifs for a nautical theme, carried through with end tables, lamps, coasters, a beach pail, shutters, signage and artwork.
Sunny yellow striped

     One judge said Fruehauf's use of accessories "made me want to keep exploring."
     Swimm Pool & Patio drew the judges' attention with a large selection of products that is well-balanced between shelves and vignettes.
     The Bruce Company and Seasons Four gained nods for their visual rhythms, created by placement of products and use of colors to. Laura's Home & Patio drew attention for its tight displays with layers of accents including permanent botanicals and barware.

Ephrata, Pa.

Bowman's Stove & Patio wowed the judges with its warm, welcoming entrance. "I really like the blend of the wooden window shutters and stone masonry," one judge commented. The outdoor furniture placement and landscaping add to the appeal for customers of the Ephrata, Pa. store, another judge said; he described the overall look as inviting, intriguing and classy.

Recent renovations and expansionsRecent renovations and expansions have helped Bowman’s Stove and Patio provide an inviting entrance for customers who visit.

     The store fronts of Bell Tower Outdoor Living, Seasons Four, Swimm Pool & Patio and United House Wrecking also drew positive remarks from judges.

Largo, Fla.

Full outdoor product displays provide a glimpse of the grills and home furnishings found inside Leader’s Casual Furniture.
Full outdoor product

Clear signage combined with multiple outdoor displays to boost Leader's Casual Furniture to the top. The 19-store chain's Florida location was an advantage over other stores operating in colder climes. One judge noted placing furniture outside helps show off Leader's store and draw customers in.

Lexington, Ky.

Housewarmings features an over-the-top selection of grills, outdoor kitchens, fountains, gazebos, firepits and fireplaces that overshadowed strong competition. The Lexington, Ky.-based hearth and casual furniture specialist shows off its furnishings and accessories in a natural setting that invites customers to relax.

A range of productsA range of products are displayed in cozy outdoor areas outside Housewarmings’ store.

     Fun and interactive displays at Fruehauf's Patio & Garden's Dream Backyard wowed the panel of judges with its one-stop shop approach. Two judges used the word "stunning" to describe the outdoor fireplaces, lighting, fountains and furnishings displays at Danielle Fence Manufacturing.

Research Store

Web Directory Search
Search for Products/Companies

Featured Video

  • Casual Friday: Furnitureland South's expanding outdoor showroom

    Camera Icon More Videos

Subscribe to
Casual Living eWeekly
Receive the news you need to know about the trends in the industry delivered right to your inbox.

Exterior Design

Exterior Design Fall 2017

A new season means a fresh look at outdoor luxury in the fall issue of Exterior Design. From the Hollywood Hills to the penthouses of New York, we explore the most opulent outdoor spaces, products and designs. The Fifth Room has arrived in high style, and you don't want to miss it! See the latest issue!

November Digital Edition


Don't miss the November digital edition of Casual Living! In this month’s issue, we look to the future of retail with a spotlight on technology. Assistant Editor Alex Milstein breaks down the basics of artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) and how they’re changing the furniture shopping experience. We also explain how building engagement on social media channels can boost business for retailers. 

Universe Study

You’ve waited two years, and it’s finally here! Casual Living’s biennial Universe Study offers a comprehensive snapshot of the outdoor category, highlighting its growth across all segments from furnishings to shade to grills.

Also in This Issue:

• Designer Viewpoint: A Beverly Hills backyard gets a glam makeover, thanks to renowned designer Christopher Grubb.

• Market Report: Our editors give you the inside scoop on all the new outdoor introductions at the High Point Market. Can you say Cobonpue?

• Casual Insights: Kathy Wall of The Media Matters offers insight on refreshing your brand.


November Digital Edition