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industry talk

take advantage of autumn

Floral departments work together with other departments to cross-merchandise and spread the seasonal bounty throughout the store.

     As the foliage hues turn in reflection of the season, and markets brim with fresh-picked fare, customers develop a taste for the harvest bounty. But autumn merchandising doesn’t have to be just hay bales and pumpkins. Your florals can be stars of the season as well, and to help you learn how, Senior Editor Shelley Urban asked three floral leaders: What are your best cross-merchandising strategies for fall?

      We try to start our fall merchandising—and have a good display up—by Labor Day, and that runs at the front of our department and elsewhere in the store through Thanksgiving.

    At our main entrance, in the “farmer’s market pavilion,” which is an extension of our store that is open year-round to showcase seasonal merchandise, we make a big cross-merchandising effort with grocery, produce and floral. We have huge displays of croton plants and garden mums, both 10-inch and gallon-size, along with scarecrows and pumpkins.

    Inside the store, we place fall mixed-floral bouquets in both the produce department—in and around their ornamental squashes, pie pumpkins, and so forth—and in the bakery. As customers are picking up those items for decorating and celebrating, they can also find flowers to match. Also in the bakery, above the area where decorated cakes and cupcakes are on display, we [float] fall balloons to help draw attention to the bakery items.

    We also create fresh arrangements in hollowed-out pumpkins. (To keep them from drying out, we put a few drops of vegetable oil inside and spread it around, which helps to seal the inside.) We put the arrangements in the pharmacy area and the coffee bar, and they give a wonderful fall look to the store, but they are also for sale and have visible retail tags attached, so customers can easily pick them up for purchase.

Melinda Ralson, floral manager
Brookshire Grocery Company, Store No. 51
Tyler, Texas

      Fall is the most enjoyable time to merchandise because there are so many wonderful colors to work with. By the first of September, we really kick into fall, and at this time of year, mums are important, so we make a large display that makes a statement near the entrance to our store. At the base of the mum display, we place lots of fall leaves, and we encircle it with croton plants. We use lots of general merchandise to dress up our mums, including fall containers and crates. And we often accent them with fresh gourds, impaled onto picks and inserted into the mum plants.

    We also create a lot of door swags during fall. We start with wreaths from GM and embellish them with fruit from produce as well as preserved fall leaves and drieds and silks.

    For fall 2010, we’re planning a huge cornucopia near the main entry. It will feature merchandise from other departments including canned goods, tableware, and, of course, our mums and croton plants as well.

     In the past, we’ve promoted our fresh centerpieces near the front of the store on a table that was set for Thanksgiving dinner. It even had a baked turkey and other trimmings. For the holidays, we all try to come together as a team, and it always works really well.

Ann Mair, floral manager
Days Market; Heber City, Utah

     Most of the time, when I bring in items from other departments, I use them to embellish my displays. So, in fall, I get pumpkins and Indian corn from produce, scarecrows from general merchandise, and various color-coordinating merchandise, such as beverages, [from around the store].

    Because we get much of our produce locally, peaches are delivered in orchard baskets, and we save those baskets and use them to hold pairs of 8-inch garden mums. We drop them into the baskets, accessorize them with corn and tie a big bow to the handle.

    We also use pie pumpkins from the produce department to create small fresh floral centerpieces, which we sell early in the fall. And I’ll put some of our balloons, especially pumpkins and scarecrows, in the produce area to highlight their fall merchandise

Terri Hasty, floral director
ValuMarket; Mount Washington, Ky.

Reach Senior Editor Shelley Urban at or (800) 355-8086.


Super Floral Retailing • Copyright 2010
Florists' Review Enterprises, Inc.