follow us

Cinde W. Ingram

Casual Living names Merchandising Award winners

Retailers across the nation honored for display skills

Casual Living announces the winning retail stores in its 10th annual Merchandising Awards contest.

The winners represent stores from the East and West coasts, as well as points in between. From America's Heartland, the brand new Pristine Pools & Spas in Meridian, Idaho, was named our overall winner. Judges thought Pristine's merchandising skills showed promise as a rising retail star that will benefit from a consultation with industry expert Barbara Crowhurst.

Each winner will receive a plaque and a turnkey press release to promote their business in their local media. Each of the following winners is featured in the June issue of Casual Living.

Best Overall Merchandising, multi-store
Summer Classics
Montevallo, Ala.


Summer Classics won the multi-store Best Overall Merchandising honor for a fourth consecutive year. The manufacturer's company store proved itself as a trendsetter that far surpassed its competition, designer judges Christi Barbour and Christi F. Spangle said.

"They show a good understanding of what consumers are looking for, and know how to display it in a manner that consumers can relate to," one judge commented. Another described displays as classy and not overdone, with just
enough products to make it inviting.

Best Overall Merchandising, single store
Digs Inside & Out
Portland, Ore.


With a black backdrop and creative groupings of colorful products, judges found Digs Inside & Out to be a stellar standout. Home Accents Today Retail Editor Susan Dickenson liked Digs' awesome use of garden accessories, its primary merchandise. Other judges noted good uses of vertical and horizontal spaces, showing out-of-the-box thinking. A customer interested in succulent container gardens would find not only the garden but an instructional book and cute table befitting small spaces. "A precious store with great detail on small item merchandising," one judge said.


Honorable Mention, Best Overall Merchandising, single store
Sunnyland Furniture



Best Use of Accessories, multi-store
Patios Plus
Rancho Mirage and La Quinta, Calif.


Demonstrating a classic look with effective color blocking and layers of accessories, Patios Plus stepped above the standard. Appropriate layering of secondary products can lead customers to make multiple purchases. The store ties themes together with colors and coordinated details. One judge wondered whether some of the entries equated best use of accessories with how many they can pack into a small area. Another said she needed to see more views of stores that submitted only one or two photos.


Best Use of Accessories, single store
Sunshine Wicker & Design
Pompano Beach, Fla.


A variety of themes, patterns and color combinations drew judges' attention to Sunshine Wicker & Design. "It's not overly accessorized, but suits its environment," one judge commented. "I like what they've done with the fabrics and the nice combination of accent pillows, lamps, wall art and other accents to make choices easy for consumers."


Honorable Mention, Best Use of Accessories, single store
Outdoor Rooms by Design
Kimberling City, Mo.


Best Outdoor Display, multi-store
High Country Furniture & Design
Waynesville, N.C.


Not every store has the opportunity to have an outdoor setting like this one, but High Country takes advantage of simplicity for an inviting, realistic retreat, judges like Home Accents Today Art Director Wes Kennedy said. The outdoor display is especially effective when paired creatively with indoor areas suitable to its specific mountain lodge niche, judges said.


Best Outdoor Display, multi-store
Fruehauf's Patio & Garden Center
Boulder, Colo.


Fruehauf's continues to expand the "Dream Backyard" partnerships it started last year with other outdoor vendors. Despite weather-related challenges, customers still visit to get ideas and buy various components they want, whether for garden pathways, gazebos, outdoor kitchens, playsets or pet areas. One judge noted Fruehauf's "great use of incorporating other vendors and visually showing the consumer how to tie all elements of design together." Colorful Adirondacks near the store's entrance are an attention grabber, Furniture/Today Retail Editor Clint Engel commented during a judging session.


Honorable Mention, Best Outdoor Display, single store
Sunnyland Furniture


Best Store Front
Pristine Pools & Spas
Meridian, Idaho


Days before its mid-May opening, Pristine drew judges' attention for its well-designed entrance where consumers will see a variety of pools and a few select outdoor furniture pieces.

Best First-Time Entry
Pristine Pools & Spas
Meridian, Idaho


Descriptions of clean, open and lofty spaces repeated as judges considered Pristine's potential as a rising retail star. Rather than a warehouse or institutional look, the residential appearance of dining tables set with full

accessories and inviting conversation furniture groupings helps consumers to "get it," judges agreed.

Other Home Furnishings Sites

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