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Spring Scents

March 27, 2008

    Yesterday, two different native Canadians, expressed to me their delight in the signs and smells of spring in Montreal. Specifically the sounds of the birds coming back to town, the site of them flying in V formation in the sky, the buds on the barren trees and the smell in the air. Of course, the warmer temperatures and hotter sun were included in their descriptions of springtime in this city.

    All of these subtle indications were slightly lost on a visitor from the suncoast, especially since there were snow flurries when I arrived, and walking around the city, through Old Montreal the wind was chilling, the temps were close to freezing and the snow was piled high along each street and around all of the famous parks. Everyone around me including myself were bundled up in long dark colored winter coats, wrapped with a colorful scarf and warmed by gloves on our hands.

    The details that are noticeable in any weather are the beautiful majestic cathedrals like Notre-Dame Basilica a masterpiece of Gothic Revival architecture, the historic buildings clustered throughout Old Montreal and its Old Port nestled close to the scenic Montreal harbor and the culture that is so evident in this city full of rich architectual heritage is the profound sense of being in a foreign speaking city with the romance that the French language creates.

    So what can we conclude from these findings? For me the first most important conclusion is the fact that no matter what the setting or season we need to look for and find the jewels that surround us. We need to look at a barren tree and see the signs of life forming, we need to feel the chill of the cold wind blowing on our face and appreciate the color that it brings to our cheeks,  we need to listen to the music in the language that we hear, and we need touch the snow, rain, fallen leaves and stone buildings and sense the old that came before us and the new that is yet to transpire. Most important of all we need to initiate these senses in our lives and for those people around us.

    Developing awareness in our lives and all around us will help to inspire each and everyone, which in turn will encourage and influence growth and movement in our lives. I believe if you try to utilize these ideas in your stores you will find that the inspiration that you provide to your customers will also help to encourage stimulation and sales.

    Take a walk through the front doors of your store with a new set of eyes. See if you have created inspiration through the arhcitecture of your setting. What do your senses tell you, does it smell fresh and new, do you have the smells of the season, whether it is the scent of pine trees in winter, the smell of new spring flowers or perhaps the distinct feeling of being around a poolside with the aroma of chlorine, try to create a couple of different experiences throughout your store for your customers to enjoy.

    Have you ever heard a song on the radio and it immediately transports you back in time to a specific year and location? You can utilize music to create the essence of being in the tropics,  nestled in the mountains or sitting in the hustle and bustle of a vibrant city. I have previously mentioned the importance of separating the store setting into numerous vignettes, add to this the feelings derived from adding ambiance to each of these areas and see if this will encourage your customers to choose the type of feelings and inspiration that they want to bring to their own lives in their individual homes.

    These are my Outside Views, I hope that they have inspired you to create some new ones for yourself and your stores. Marcia Blake