2014 Merchandiser of the Year Finalists
Lawn & Garden Retailer’s 2014 Merchandiser of the Year is down to five finalists. Thanks to support from contest sponsors Dramm, Braun Horticulture and MasterTag we had a record number of entries this year. And for good reason. This year’s winner will bring home over $3,000 in prizes and a nice little boost to the bottom line.
Here’s a quick look at our impressive final five. To see images of the displays submitted by the final five, please click on the PDF link immediately following the article.
Mulhall’s, Omaha, Nebraska
Fabricated to highlight some of this year’s trendiest plants and plant-related accessories tillandsia, fiddle-leaf figs and terrariums this display is among the first shoppers see when they walk into Mulhall’s retail greenhouse.
The greenhouse visual management team designed and created the display before collaborating with Mulhull’s marketing department to design and hand-paint the sign. Most of the wood used in the display is upcycled the birch logs were trees that didn’t make it through the winter, and the weathered wood of the central shelving and sign is actually from old perennial tables.
In addition to an increase in sales terrarium sales (in dollars) are up 36 percent (YTD), tillandsia up 64 percent and figs up 20 percent Mulhall’s noted an uptick in social media visibility this spring (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) thanks to customers interacting with the display.
White Flower Farm – Morris, Connecticut
This year, White Flower Farm had an objective to create an inspirational, interactive retail space near the store entrance that customers would feel comfortable shopping from.
Retail store manager Tom Bodnar and visual merchandiser Mary Valente designed the space. At one end of the display is a free-standing, double-sided door display one side is a pathway to a front door, and the other a more front porch-type side. Some goals were to demonstrate to customers how they could incorporate edging plants to border a friendly and inviting pathway to their front door, how they could incorporate hard goods near their doorways, and the value of incorporating interesting combinations of plant materials near their doorway.
Handy employees created a sturdy frame for the door that it will not become a sail in windy conditions. Lattice panels were added on either side of the door for architectural interest, and they were painted them white. On the porch side of the door are two urns on short pedestals near the door, and plants are rotated in and out of them based on what is in bloom. The color of the door also changes periodically to invigorate the look. Signs identifying plant material are incorporated into both sides of the display, along with handwritten signs to help customers realize how plant material can help them feel content in their homes.
Greenscape Gardens – Manchester, Missouri
Continuing to develop its “Mission-Based Merchandising” philosophy to create easily shoppable displays that sell themselves, Greenscape Gardens had a mission in 2014 to develop a destination known as the “Deer Free Zone” for customers to shop for plants that are known to be deer resistant.
“What can I plant that the deer won’t eat?”
General manager Jennifer Schamber says that is the most popular question customers pose. It is one thing to hand them a list, but it is another to dedicate a 1,500 square foot space specifically merchandised with plants that can help fulfill their mission.
A key feature of the Deer Free Zone is it removes the guessing. Schamber says it gives customers the ability to shop with confidence and not always have to have a staff member with them to make good decisions.
Covington Nursery – Rowlett, Texas
This past winter, Covington’s decided to carry the HGTV Home Plant Collection (grown by Color Spot) for spring 2014. After learning they were the only nursery carrying the collection in the entire Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, they wanted to do it big.
The creation of an in-house display cottage came next, complete with diamond-shaped windows, an open air cedar roof, coordinated product tables and hanging space. HGTV Home Plant Collections signs and price tags were also printed in-house.
This project was being done at the same time its new parking lot and garden center were being built. Covington staff expected a flood of customers coming through the new building once spring hit and the flowers arrived, so they strategically placed the HGTV Home Plant Collection display right outside the new garden center to give it immediate exposure.
Covington’s had a record April and more than doubled its flower orders from Color Spot from 2013 to 2014, predominately due to the HGTV Home Plants display.
Sky Nursery – Shoreline, Washington
The Homegrown Market was Sky Nursery’s feature display from late January through early April. Capitalizing on the handmade movement within the Homegrown Market, Sky staff promoted rose hips, spruce tips, tea camellias and other plants for brewing, infusing and fermenting purposes. Plants typically viewed as ornamental now have added value and provide extra dimension in the garden.
Consistent iterations of the Homegrown Market theme were delivered throughout Sky Nursery. Situated near the bloom-filled pollinator section in the nursery display, the BrazzleBerries blueberries and raspberries had sellout success. Inside the greenhouse the Homegrown Market’s large footprint included bare-root asparagus and rhubarb, and tables of herbs, vegetables and strawberries. To maximize this display’s enticement and create add-on sales, an assortment of dry goods were incorporated, such as soil and fertilizer. Herbs planted in terra cotta provided a great ready-made option.
Signage with novelty terms such as, “market” and “goods” added a rustic touch and tied into national marketing trends. The inclusion of log segments covered in live moss rendered a woodsy Pacific Northwest feel, helping customers envision the products in their gardens. Reinforcing the underlying concepts of the display, these solutions required little investment, yet produced lucrative results.