Call us at 1-800-355-8086

2008 Honor Award Winners

Floral departments are recognized for exceptional theme development and signage.

by Monica Humbard

In our August issue, we showcased the Grand Award-winning display in the 2008 “Merchandising Award of Excellence” contest, sponsored by Super Floral Retailing and Börgen Systems. The contest also recognized four supermarkets for outstanding displays in Honor Award categories—Best Color Harmony, Best Cross-Merchandising, Best Signage and Best Theme Development. Last month, we recognized the winners of the Best Color Harmony and Best Cross-Merchandising  categories. This month, our focus is on the winners for Best Theme Development and Best Signage.

Romantic ambience brings Renaissance theme to life for Valentine’s Day
Susan Meehan, Barbara Split, Aaron Cook and David Tapia of Publix Super Market No. 663 in Brandon, Fla., took this year’s Honor Award for Theme Development for their Valentine’s Day promotion. Their theme, inspired by Ms. Split’s fascination with the Renaissance era, took shoppers back in time to the days of knights in shining armor and true romance.

THE GRAND ENTRANCE From the moment customers entered the store, they were swept off their feet by a knight on a white horse. Children were intrigued, and some of the adults took pictures. If something has eye appeal, says Ms. Split, the store’s floral specialist, that’s your winner.
The floral staff constructed both the horse and its rider from chicken wire and papier-mâché and gave the knight a sword and shield. Similar props were used in other departments to tie them into the theme.
They also molded a castle background out of cardboard, giving it a stonelike appearance. Just to the knight’s left, the staff positioned a frog wearing a slightly lopsided crown, which was inspired by balloons with the same theme. Those balloons, as well as several other Valentine’s Day-themed designs, were merchandised around the setting. Signage told shoppers to make sure they didn’t forget their sweethearts and turn out like the frog.

Because the display was outside the floral department, it was considered a “self-serve” area, so the team merchandised potted Valentine’s Day products there. Items included potted tulips and callas as well as foliage plants. Also in the display were the department’s gift baskets, with various themes such as pampering and a night at the movies. The wine department also contributed to the display.

THE THRONE In the nearby floral department, customers found masses of rose bouquets tied into the theme with props of armor, such as swords and shields. They also found a “throne” atop a display of wine and single-rose vases. To create the throne, the floral department set a large chair on top of a merchandiser, wrapped it in red fabric, added an embellished red heart and set a crown on a red pillow in the seat. Signage on the front read, “Treat her like a Queen.” Ms. Split says it is important that displays not only have eye appeal but also set a mood. Her department’s goal was that the romantic ambience would put customers in the mood to make Valentine’s Day purchases.

Fun, effective signage transforms store into beach getaway
With the help of her floral staff, Floral Manager Donna Bennett from Hy-Vee Overland Park No. 1 in Overland Park, Kan., designed a beach-themed promotion that won the Honor Award for Best Signage. It spilled out into the entire store and was anchored with numerous large painted signs, setting the stage for a unique shopping experience.

The signs were created on foam board by Ms. Bennett and the store’s in-house sign artist. While each sign had its own focus, together they presented a unified look that carried the theme throughout the store.

In the floral department, large painted signs and grass skirting transformed the sales counter into a beach hut. One sign proclaimed the department the “Beach Club” while another advertised the Beach Club menu with such items as “Bahama Mummas” and “Gerba Ritas.” The signage clearly listed all the prices for the items.

The “Gerba Ritas” were made using a margarita glass with salt glued to the rim. A single Gerbera bloom was inserted into a square of floral foam that was hot-glued in the middle of the glass and surrounded by colored powdered foam with water. They sold well as centerpieces for pool parties.

In the cooler, which the staff decorated with more grass skirting, shoppers found arrangements with seashells and Cymbidium orchid blossoms submerged in vases. Every day during the two-week promotion, the staff dressed in beach attire. Tropical music played in the floral department, palm trees hung from the ceiling and oversized tiki masks hung on pillars.

ON THE BEACH At the front of the store, a sand artist built a 30-inch-tall sandcastle. While it was under construction, customers came back repeatedly to check its progress. Ms. Bennett surrounded the castle with tables covered with beach towels and topped with an assortment of potted products, including bromeliads, lucky bamboo, Tillandsias and Gerberas. A real dune buggy sat nearby on a bed of sand with beach chairs and coolers of snacks.

OTHER HOT SPOTS In the produce area, a tiki hut, real dune buggy and real jet ski were perched above a display of bananas and pineapples. The deli’s salad cases contained brown sugar that looked like sand surrounding faux conch shells filled with salad.

THE BIG PAYOFF Ms. Bennett’s months of planning with her team paid off. The entire store was up in sales during the beach promotion. Ms. Bennett says it was a nice diversion for her floral team, creating strong morale and inspiring them to increase sales. sfr

Reach Contributing Editor Monica Humbard at (800) 355-8086.

Super Floral Retailing • Copyright 2008
Florists' Review Enterprises, Inc.