2019 Merchandiser of the Year Finalists
The Final Five
Our annual Merchandiser of the Year competition recognizes one independent garden center that used its creativity to build an eye-catching store display this year. Once again, we had some great entries and had some difficult choices to make to get down to the Final Five applications for this year’s award.
While a panel of judges reviews the following five finalists and will decide on the 2019 Merchandiser of the Year, have a look at the submissions from this year’s finalists — in no particular order.
Wall Greenhouse and Nursery, Dobson, North Carolina
Family-owned and -operated since 1983, Wall Greenhouse and Nursery has adopted the motto “Carrying on a family tradition.” As their customer base has increased over the past few years, the store has taken on an old country store look and feel. Many new and existing customers continue to come in to see how Wall has incorporated “treasures” that have been found in the local area.
Upon arrival, customers first see the retail area and their front porch displays, which are centrally located and surrounded by greenhouses and the nursery. Several of the displays are unique and incorporate repurposed items, such as chicken waterers used as planters for flowers and succulents. Chicken feeders also have been used as planters. An old wooden spool displays the mixed flower containers they’re known for. An antique wooden school chair was given new life as a succulent planter.
After Papa passed in 2017, old wooden boxes he had used for transporting goods to market were transformed into wall displays for flowering containers. His old rusty wheelbarrow found new life as a beautiful display for perennials. The old tree stump that he used for years as an anvil now serves as a display for annuals, perennials and shrubs. Of course, it would not be complete without his old buckets and other treasures adding interest to the display. Customers often comment on the old wooden crates and baskets that are used to accent hanging baskets and plants that were grown in the on-site greenhouse.
The front porch and the interior both take on a new life each season and are transformed into seasonal displays. Customers say the front porch is a “relaxing and happy place.”
Gardens of Babylon, Nashville, Tennessee
As the anchor tenant of the Farmers Market, Gardens of Babylon is located in the heart of downtown Nashville. Their wide selection of products, plants and gift items makes the store a Nashville destination.
With all the music festivals happening yearly in Nashville, many customers return to their store for inspiration year after year to shop for unique gift items. Gardens of Babylon intends to not only be an inspiration to its community, but also to their staff; they want employees to look forward to coming to work.
A tower of giraffes welcomes guests to the onsite display gardens behind the greenhouse. They feature new plant introductions, herb and vegetable gardens and a respite for local city workers to enjoy their bagged lunch. Seating areas are placed throughout the store for customers to relax and enjoy the work of their talented staff. Periodically, customers can be seen napping in the chaise lounge chairs set at the outdoor kitchen display.
Gardens of Babylon recently introduced a gemstone selection to its gift area, which has been a big hit. Customers can select a small $5 gemstone to carry in their pocket, choose a $5,000 piece to display in their home, or something in between. Customers stop and admire what Mother Nature has taken centuries to produce.
Their expanded pottery selection features just about any color and size customers might be looking for. Containers range from tabletop pieces to 5-foot behemoths that can be used as focal points in a garden. Their pottery and expanded tropical plant selection continues to be the fastest-growing area of the store. Customers can have tropicals planted free of charge while they continue to shop or just take a break and watch the installation. Potted plants make great grab-and-go gifts.
Gardens of Babylon’s artsy displays use a combination of flowering shrubs, tropicals, evergreens and statuary. All Gardens of Babylon staff play a part in the planning, planting and maintenance of the garden. Music aired throughout the store adds yet another sensory dimension of their Gardens of Babylon experience. After all, they’re in Music City!
Since the company also provides landscape design, installation and maintenance, they’ve seen a 30% increase in leads generated from the store. This year, Gardens of Babylon re-branded their logo and signage throughout the store. It’s modern, crisp, clean and intends to reflect the type of company it is.
Lurvey Home & Garden, Des Plaines, Illinois
As a large Unilock supplier, Lurvey Home & Garden has created a new entertaining space showcasing many of their products. The display has allowed Lurvey to highlight many other accessories to finish off the area.
This was a collaboration of many, and it let different departments in the company work together. They have featured their outdoor furniture line, outdoor lighting, various decorative containers, a custom-built pergola by one of their landscape contractor customers, and complete audio and visual system that allows them to do outdoor presentations.
The display has completed Lurvey’s hardscape display area, which is located between their landscape supply facility and home and garden store — the perfect spot for a contractor to meet with customers and finalize a project.
Angie’s Greenhouse, Columbia Falls, Montana
This year, Angie’s Greenhouse created a pond inside a boat, located at the entrance to the store. The display was created to sell water lilies and plants that tolerate damp conditions. It welcomes people to the fun atmosphere at the unique store.
They try to create displays that attract a lot of attention not only for the product being sold but also to bring people into the store. The old truck sign is so popular, they had to get it trademarked and copyrighted. Angie’s Greenhouse also does unique floats for community parades.
Scots Landscape, Vienna, West Virginia
This spring and summer, Scots Landscape created a colorful, eye-catching living pottery display, designed to encourage creativity and imagination for container gardening. The large, multi-level display featured various kinds of living plants and unique container pots of all sizes.