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Merchandising Merit

Spring into

Pastel parasols inspire a colorful display that draws in customers and moves product.

When Floral Manager Kim Eisler at the Logli Supermarket in Loves Park, Ill., bought all the parasols a store had at a going-out-of-business sale, she had no idea what she was going to do with them. But last year, when she started planning a spring display, they came to mind.

With the parasols as her inspiration, she created her “Spring Parasol” display, which she entered in the 2005 “Merchandising Award of Excellence” contest, sponsored by Super Floral Retailing and Börgen Systems. Ms. Eisler’s goal was to capture the essence of spring with April showers and colorful May flowers.

For a backdrop, Ms. Eisler taped a blue vinyl tablecloth to the wall behind the display to create a blue sky. On the “sky,” she glued cotton balls to form clouds. She hung the parasols from the ceiling with fishing line and used a beam that runs above the area to position the parasols at different angles so they would catch customers’ eyes as they passed by the department.

A four-step merchandiser across the back of the display gave it height and depth. Ms. Eisler extended the display outward with decorative wooden crates from the produce department.

Ms. Eisler color-blocked a variety of plants and consumer bunches in the display, positioning each color where it was most effective. At the top of the display, she placed large purple potted Hydrangeas, two of which sold shortly after Ms. Eisler completed the display.
Beneath them, she positioned a large wicker basket of purple Campanulas. The basket’s fullness created a focal point at the center of the display. Under the Campanulas, pink and white callas added a touch of color as well as a feeling of lush greens.
She wove yellow floral products throughout the display. Ms. Eisler positioned potted daffodils center right and a grouping of potted yellow tulips above them. Below the daffodils and across the front, she placed yellow rose bunches. She filled the left side of the display with potted yellow mums. “I created a circle to draw the eye to the center, lifting the parasols and creating a feeling of flying,” Ms. Eisler says.

On the outside edges of the display, Ms. Eisler used hues of red to provide stability. Red potted azaleas lined the right side, while tulips and ‘Martha Washington’ geraniums framed the left. Ms. Eisler used an assortment of green plants throughout the display to give it a fresh, full look.

After carefully positioning each fresh product selection in her spring display, Ms. Eisler did not want the signage to distract from her efforts. However, she did want it to be easy to read, concise and effective.

Ms. Eisler created price and product signage with a dark background that helped it blend into the display. White text popped off the black. About 6 feet from the display, she placed a larger sign that read “Spring Parasol Sale” and listed all the plants in the display.

Ms. Eisler’s eye for detail paid off. The display raised the spirits of shoppers as they anticipated spring and increased sales by about 20 percent. The display was almost sold out in 10 days.

You can reach Merchandising Merit writer Monica Humbard at or (800) 355-8086.

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