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Feature Story

20 ideas for fall success

Turn your department into a fall festival with these proven suggestions.

by Monica Humbard

As summer draws to a close and shoppers’ thoughts turn to a new school year and cooler days ahead, it’s time to transition your floral department into a new season. Here are some ideas that supermarkets around the nation have used to make successful transformations.
1. Before the first leaf turns in autumn, start introducing fall colors into your department with potted mums, croton plants and pumpkins. Add fall scents with cinnamon brooms. Customers will appreciate this change of seasons, especially in areas of the country that don’t experience a true “fall.”
2. To transition your existing inventory of potted blooming plants into fall, accessorize them with faux pumpkins, artichokes, pods and berries; gourds; wheat; and corn husks, to which you have attached wooden picks.
3. Transform bouquets and plants into fall offerings by wrapping them in autumn leaves. Lightly cover one side of preserved leaves with a spray floral adhesive, place them onto a sheet of cellophane and lay another sheet of cellophane on top, creating a see-through autumn wrap. Add a sheet of butcher paper to the inside of the wrap to hide plant pots.
4. Launch cornucopia sales in early fall by filling them with less-traditional items such as produce, fall floral arrangements or even potted plants.
5. Build an outdoor fall display of potted mums, pumpkins, cornstalks and straw bales that wows customers as they approach the store.
6. Tie your outdoor fall display to a weekend kick-off event that incorporates a harvest sidewalk sale, a barbecue, clowns, children’s activities or a Halloween costume contest. Advertise the event in local papers and sales fliers.
7. Appeal to older customers with a fall display that brings back memories of roadside stands where farmers sold excess crops.
8. Attract attention to displays with scarecrows named after store staff or other recognizable people in your community.
9. Keep large outdoor display costs down by borrowing large props, such as hay wagons, from staff, family or regular customers.
10. Catch shoppers off guard with unusual props. Fill a rowboat with potted mums and pumpkins, and place it on a platform of hay bales. Around it, merchandise more mums and pumpkins, gourds and Indian corn.
11. Vintage props are naturals for fall displays. Use rustic-looking ladders and wooden crates and barrels as neutral-colored merchandisers that let orange, yellow and red floral items pop.
12. As the high-school football season kicks off, merchandise “Good Luck” bouquets and balloons, gifts for cheerleaders to exchange with secret pals, plush bears in school colors and arrangements in football containers.
13. Plan a display targeted to tailgating for football games, and incorporate merchandise from other departments.
14. Find out the dates for homecoming at your community’s high schools, and target a display to the events by merchandising a variety of floral options.
15. Tie your department into fall festivals in your community with a display promoting the events. Offer your services for festival needs, such as bouquets for the queen and her court and flowers or plants for parade floats.
16. Plan a Halloween display separate from your fall displays. Customers seeking sympathy items at this time of year may not feel comfortable making choices from displays filled with ghosts and goblins.
17. If labor is an issue, create displays that easily transition from early fall through Halloween and on to Thanksgiving.
18. If your store has a wine-and-spirits department, in October team up with a wine distributor for a fall-themed bouquet and wine promotion. Name a bouquet after a particular wine, or design one to color-coordinate with its label.
19. When the produce department promotes apple sales in October, add a floral touch to its displays with potted mums and Ficus trees decorated with apple ornaments. Merchandise apple-shaped balloons and apple-themed giftware.
20. When planning your fall promotions and displays, consider national events or smaller holidays that may appeal directly to your community or your shopper demographics, such as Mexican Independence Day in September and Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.

Thank you to the following sources for these great ideas:
Brookshire Grocery Company, Tyler, Texas;
Brown & Cole Stores, Bellingham, Wash.;
Buehler’s Flowers Plus, Washington, Ind.;
Buehler’s Riverstyx Flower Shop, Medina, Ohio;
Evansville North Buehler’s, Evansville, Ind.;
Floral Fashions by Marsh No. 54, Bloomington, Ind.;
Hy-Vee, Muscatine, Iowa;
East State Street Logli Supermarket, Rockford, Ill.;
Market Basket No. 51, Lee, N.H.;
Publix Super Market No. 792, North Port, Fla.;
Publix Super Market No. 493, Oviedo, Fla.; and
Schnuck Markets, Inc., Ballwin, Mo.

You may reach Contributing Editor Monica Humbard by phone at (800) 355-8086.

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