Casual Living names retail display winners
Thomas Russell -- Casual Living, June 4, 2012
Hartville Hardware - Best First Time Entry
Village Green - Best Overall Merchandising, Multi-store
Sunshine Furniture - Best Use of Accessories, Single Store
Nags Head Hammocks - Best Use of Accessories, Multi-Store
Hayman and Summers - Best Store Front, Single Store
Summer Classics (Atlanta) - Best Store Front, Multi-store
Housewarmings - Best Outdoor Display, Single Store
Seasonal Concepts - Best Outdoor Display, Multi-store
Casual Living announces the winners of its 12th Annual Merchandising Awards. The winning single and multi-store casual furnishing retailers will be featured in Casual Living's June issue, receive an engraved marble plaque and a turnkey press release to promote their business in their local media.
As winner of Best First-Time Entry, Hartville Hardware in Hartville, Ohio, will also receive a retail consultation with Barbara Crowhurst, Retail Makeover owner and one of North America's leading retail experts.
In addition to Crowhurst, Casual Living's judging panel included Marcia Blake, designer and owner of Outdoor Interiors; Laurie Jenkins, owner of Laurie Bell Fabrics; Casual Living Executive Editor Nicole Crews and Editor in Chief Cinde W. Ingram; Sandow Media Graphics Manager and Designer Ronda Whitaker and Susan Dickenson, retail editor of Home Accents Today.
"Hartville Hardware has put a considerable amount of time in creating vignettes and coordinating accessories to appeal to the customers," Blake said. Dickenson added Hartville offers a nice mix of furniture and accessories in what appears to be a spacious store through its displays of various home styles.
"Good merchandising is about showing a product in context so that buyer ‘gets' what the product is, how to use it and why they need to have it now," Crowhurst said. Judges agreed consumers understand why they want to buy products shown both inside and outside several of the winning stores.
Indoor/outdoor display finesse made Fruehauf's Patio & Garden Center winner of Best Overall Merchandising, Single Store. The Boulder, Colo., store, also won the International Casual Furnishing Association's coveted Apollo Award last fall.
Best Overall Merchandising, Multi-store honors went to Village Green Nurseries of Rockford, Ill. Judges noted full vignettes inside its store and greenhouse, which makes the most of natural light. "While it's under a roof, Village Green can showcase their products year-round," Jenkins said. "They really brought the outdoors in."
Best Use of Accessories, Single Store
Vero Beach, Fla.
Sunshine Furniture creates colorful vignettes with complementary accessories so the consumer can envision the entire setting at home, whether a beachside cottage or an outdoor room, Blake said. "The furniture and decorative accessories - from outdoor rugs, pillow, tabletop, throw blankets and drapes - encourage the customer to purchase the entire package to create their perfect outdoor retreat," Blake said.
Best Use of Accessories, Multi-store
Nags Head Hammocks,
Kill Devil Hills, N.C.
"Nags Head Hammocks is a fun and inspiring store that understands the use of color and accessories to create an entire package," Blake said. "From the hammock's outdoor material to the coordinating rugs and outdoor throw pillows and table top accessories, Nags Head does it right."
"Accessories help to tell the whole story and also offer great opportunity for add-on sales," Crowhurst said.
Other judges were equally enthusiastic. "I want to live in these colorful and fun stores," Whitaker said.
Best Store Front, Single Store
Hayman and Summers
Palm Desert, Calif.
"Hayman and Summers has beautiful and enticing store front windows that call out to the passerby to stop and come in to see what we have to offer," Blake said.
Best Store Front, Multi-store
"Store fronts are one of the key marketing tools a retailer has," Crowhurst said. "At Retail Makeover, we looked at the following to pick our winner: signage, tagline, display windows, welcome feeling and wow factor. Would we cross the street to go to that store? Our winners made us look and want to come in."
Crews added, ""I love that Summer Classics' products remain consistent yet regionally the stores get a chance to express themselves."
Best Outdoor Display, Single Store
"One of the key elements in display is creating a theme and strong groups," Crowhurst said. Housewarmings represents great display work outdoors, judges agreed.
Best Outdoor Display, Multi-store
M&J Seasonal Concepts
Seasonal Concepts does an outstanding job of bringing the outdoors in through its displays of both hearth and outdoor furnishings, the judges agreed.