Editors announce annual Merchandising Award winners
Courtney Mueller -- Casual Living, June 1, 2007
Once again, staff here at Casual Living pulled together a panel to judge entries in our seventh annual Merchandising Awards contest.
This year, in particular, we wanted to do something a little different. For the first time, we received a sponsor for the contest — Glen Raven, makers of Sunbrella fabrics — and have also awarded the Most Fashionable Retailer with not only a crystal plaque and certificate, but a store visit with designer Mark Abrams.
We recognize winners of this year's contest as exemplary retailers who present fashionable showrooms with plenty of accessories to accent the furniture as well as show off current trends in the industry.
Judges for the 2007 awards included Abrams, visual merchandising expert and designer; Susan Dickenson, retail editor of Home Accents Today; and members of the Casual Living staff — Becky Boswell Smith, former editor in chief; Cinde W. Ingram, editor in chief, and Courtney Mueller, associate editor.
As always, we thank all the retailers who took time to submit photos of their stores. And we invite other retailers to photograph their stores during the year so they can enter next year's competition. We also extend an invitation to manufacturers and sales reps to submit photos of outstanding vignettes in their customers' stores.
Hauser's Patio and Rattan named Most Fashionable Retailer 2007
Judges were impressed with the trendy product offering — namely the combination of a black and pewter color palette. The multistore retailer gives a different point of view than traditional casual furniture stores, "stepping out" and exhibiting to customers what outdoor living in 2007 means. From color-coordinated vignettes that aren't too cluttered or fussy to the use of accessories to complement the furniture, Hauser's does merchandising right. See for yourself with more pictures from Hauser's below.
Best Overall Merchandising, multistore: Summer Classics
With retail locations throughout the Southeast,Summer Classics knows how to set the mood for outdoor entertaining. One judge commented, "(Summer Classics) is telling the story completely, with everything you would want for your house." The retailer covers everything, from home accents and soft goods to umbrellas and indoor/outdoor rugs.
Best Overall Merchandising, single store: Dodds & Eder
Headquartered in Oyster Bay, N.Y., Dodds & Eder uses splashes of color to enhance its showroom. Spa blue, lime green, orange and red create more colorful, eye-catching vignettes. The displays tell a story, complete with sand, a bicycle, outdoor shower and more.
Best Use of Accessories, multistore: Paddy O'Furniture
1st TIME WINNER
Accessories are displayed beautifully and with purpose throughout Paddy O'Furniture's Arizona locations. Drawing on a Southwest-influenced color palette, the store boasts an organized layout, complete with accessories that include vases, containers and urns, soft goods, wall art, tabletop, greenery and more. Petals are even strewn across a tabletop for a softer, more intimate vignette.
Best Use of Accessories, single store: Park Place
Sophisticated displays and good use of lighting earned Park Place its award. Accessories across categories are utilized in unique ways — from tabletop displays to the effective use of wall space. Located in Washington D.C., the single store retailer doesn't waste space in its showroom, and manages to display accessories in a clutter-free manner.
Special mention: Inside-Out Home Furnishings
Judges wanted to give a special mention to Nashville's Inside-Out Home Furnishings. We had a tough time awarding this category, in particular, and wanted to recognize the retailer for its use of accessories. From lamps and wall decor to carefully designed vignettes, Inside-Out wowed judges with a variety of styles and decor, sure to please any customer.
Best Store Front, single store: Kolo Collection
Atlanta's Kolo Collection continues to grow, literally, adding square footage and product to its showroom. Its store front continues to garner attention with large glass windows so customers can see right in. There's no confusion here that the single store retailer can stop traffic with its contemporary style.
Large glass windows display contemporary casual furniture to passersby, while large, oversized planters surround the entryway.
Best Outdoor Display, multistore: The Greenhouse Mall
With two locations in Austin and San Antonio, Texas, and another to open next month in southwest Austin, The Greenhouse Mall offers customers something many other casual furniture retailers can't — acres and acres of outdoor furniture and accessories. Winner of last year's Most Fashionable Retailer award, The Greenhouse Mall displays casual furniture in its own habitat — outdoors. Deep seating groups, lounge chairs and bars are accented with statuary and other outdoor accessories to attract customers.
Best Outdoor Display, single store: Housewarmings Outdoor
1st TIME WINNER
Located in Lexington, Ky., Housewarmings Outdoor received a unanimous vote from judges in this category. One judge said it was obvious the retailer made a huge investment in its outdoor display, others were wowed by the "fabulous" and "gorgeous" vignettes. "A lot of thought was given to placement," one judge said. "Consumers can see the end result." Sculptures, curtains, fencing, pergolas all add to the outdoor living area.
More Images from Hauser's Patio and Rattan named Most Fashionable Retailer 2007
|A contemporary setting features a black and silver color palette accented with complementary tabletop accessories and barware.|
|Painted walls help spruce up a vignette at the store that shows off bar height and alternative tabletop options, as well as coordinating accessories.|
|This vignette places the emphasis on mix and match fabric options now available in the industry. A few carefully placed accessories complete the scene.|