Fishels Portland, Ore.
Kristine Ellis -- Casual Living, 9/1/2012 2:00:00 AM
Larry Talbott thought he'd made a tactical mistake after closing Fishels for the Fourth of July this year, but his second-guessing was short lived.
"Consumers bought on the 5th and the 6th and the 7th without any compelling promotion, so I felt comforted by that," said Talbott, owner and president.
With two locations, Fishels offers the largest selection of outdoor furniture in the Northwest. Consumer confidence and good weather made it a good year for the business, even as it moved back into a higher price point after moderating its mix during the recession.
"The consumer is back consuming and willing to pay a bit more for quality," Talbott said. "We haven't abandoned the value product, but we certainly diminished it and went with some higher price points, which paid off for us this year."
Growth was strong across all categories, with particularly strong sales in woven and higher-end wood products.
According to Talbott, the most notable change in Fishels' customer trends is the quickness of the sales process.
"All of the sales staff has commented on it: This year, the consumer's decision making process is faster and easier," Talbott said.
Going into the 2013 season, Talbott plans to stay on course. That said, having not attended the Preview Show, he is open to what he discovers this month at the Casual Market.
"Historically, we change out about 30% of our assortment. I think we might increase that a little bit this year," he said.
Fishels won the 2009 Apollo Award in the single store category.
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