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Merchandising Merit
         on a budget

Floral department builds a multipurpose merchandiser to handle Valentine’s Day overflow.


When Valentine’s Day rolls around, does it feel as if your department shrinks? Suddenly, you have more work and extra staff and nowhere to put either one. Last year, the floral staff at Scott’s Foods Store No. 16 in Fort Wayne, Ind., handled the overflow by building a large—yet inexpensive— booth/merchandiser in their department.

On the outside counter of all four sides, the staff merchandised a variety of gifts. At the large counter inside the booth, extra Valentine’s Day staff processed flowers and greened containers for custom arrangements that designers completed elsewhere. Although the booth didn’t have a cash register, the extra staff answered customers’ questions about the gift items merchandised there.

Floral Manager Serena Anderson estimates that Valentine’s Day sales last year increased 2 percent to 3 percent over the previous year, which she credits to the display, an entry in the 2004 “Merchandising Award of Excellence” contest, sponsored by Super Floral Retailing and Bˆrgen Systems.

CONSTRUCTION Three staff members built the four-pillar booth two weeks before Valentine’s Day using milk crates. They covered it in white corrugated paper printed with a Valentine’s Day heart pattern. Then, the floral department strung fishing line from pillar to pillar in an “X” format. From the line, they hung a variety of Valentine’s Day decorations.
It took about five hours to complete the entire project.

The only problem with the design, which Ms. Anderson is working on for this year, was that, occasionally, customers would wander inside the booth and attempt to buy custom arrangements awaiting pickup.

MERCHANDISE Products featured around the outside of the booth came from departments throughout the store. They included plush, balloons, Russell Stover candy, conversation hearts, wine and heart-shaped “cookie-grams.” Also in the display last year was a special new feature targeted to men. Inside a box for a dozen roses, the staff placed six Corona beers, limes, peanuts and, sometimes, a single rose. Then, the staff placed a bow on top of the box.

COST The cost of the booth display was minimal. Ms. Anderson, with the help of Ann Glass, her floral assistant, had to purchase only the corrugated paper and the Valentine’s Day decorations that hung from the fishing line.

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

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Super Floral Retailing • Copyright 2005
Florists' Review Enterprises, Inc.