2007 Honor Award Winners
Floral departments are recognized
for their outstanding theme development, signage and color
by Monica Humbard
Our August issue featured Stater Bros. Markets’ Store No. 106,
in West Covina, Calif., the 2007 Grand Award winner of the
“Merchandising Award of Excellence” contest, sponsored by Super
Floral Retailing and Börgen Systems. Stater Bros. Floral
Director Liane Temple accepted the Börgen Cup, a cut-crystal
Orrefors trophy, on behalf of the store at The Super Floral Show
in Columbus, Ohio, in June.
At the show, we also recognized five Honor Award winners, who
received their own engraved miniature versions of the Börgen
Cup. This month, we are featuring three of the winners: Best
Theme Development, Best Signage and Best Color Harmony. In our
October issue, we will focus on Best Cross-Merchandising and
Best Use of Stand-Alone Displays.
This month’s featured winners demonstrated their expertise at
developing a display theme, creating a complete signage program
and putting successful color techniques to work.
• The Best Theme Development recipients, Rosie Tippetts, floral
manager at Maceys Store No. 1034 in Pleasant Grove, Utah, and
Josh Allen, store manager, found the perfect balance between
giving customers a Halloween scare while still attracting them
to buy. The display’s “real” scary tree added both fright and
interest, and its life-size witch attracted so much attention
that some shoppers took one home for themselves. They developed
the display right down to the smallest details, which included
skeleton-hand signage/card holders and a playful Halloween
• Continuing to wow the judges with her signage ideas, Patty
Malloy, floral manager/buyer for Gordy’s County Market in Eau
Claire, Wis., went home with the Best Signage award for the
third year in a row. This year she proved how simple, yet
effective, a signage idea can be if you carry it out to its
fullest. Ms. Malloy chose a legal-pad theme, which she used
consistently throughout the display in signs of different sizes.
She also concentrated on concise and legible wording that summed
up her gift offerings for Administrative Professionals Day/Week
while requiring little time for her shoppers to read.
• The Best Color Harmony recipients, Floral Manager Lori
Trotter, IMF; Designer Chelsey Murray; and Floral Clerk Michelle
Schultze, at Hy-Vee West Des Moines No. 2 in West Des Moines,
Iowa, captured the award by not only presenting an eye-catching
color scheme that would attract shoppers but also using
effective color techniques to steer them toward purchasing.
Their daisy-themed Springtime Party display was filled with
color—from a wide selection of colorful daisy varieties to
coordinating fabrics covering the lifts that gave the display
The judges’ criteria for choosing the Honor Winners for the 2007
“Merchandising Award of Excellence” contest included:
THEME DEVELOPMENT Does the display have an easily
recognizable, cohesive theme? Does it complement the products
for sale and make the display more effective?
SIGNAGE Are the signs legible and effective? Do the signs
fit into the overall theme of the display?
COLOR HARMONY How effectively is color used throughout
the display? Does the display feature a specific color harmony
Creativity and coordination inspire a cohesive theme
Tippetts, floral manager at
Maceys Store No. 1034 in Pleasant Grove, Utah, doesn’t miss a
detail when developing her
display themes. With the assistance of Store Manager Josh Allen,
she designed a Halloween display in 2006 that won the 2007 Honor
Award for Best Theme Development.
THEME DEVELOPMENT TIPS The
key to successful displays, she says, is consistency throughout.
“Everything has to coordinate, right down to the plants, pots
and tablecloths,” Mrs. Tippetts says. Plus, she always tries to
appeal to children because their parents will follow.
Last fall, she and Mr. Allen transitioned a fall display filled
with autumn leaves and a scarecrow draped in crows into a scary,
yet fun, Halloween setting with a gnarly tree, witches and
skeletons. Along with the Honor Award, the display earned the
floral department increased sales for the season.
TREE One of the most eye-catching parts of the
Halloween display was a creation of Mrs. Tippetts’ husband,
Kevin. When Mrs. Tippetts’ parents removed an old tree from
their backyard, the Tippettses decided to put it to good use.
Mr. Tippetts carved a scary face into the trunk around a knot
hole, used a burning tool to add interest, and painted the eyes
From an extra stump near the bottom, he carved a scary hand that
especially appealed to children who were at eye level. He glued
a few ugly mice from the store’s general merchandise department
around the hand. Mrs. Tippetts used thread to string web
throughout the limbs. Then, she set a giant spider on one branch
and hung a skeleton from another. She found both items in the
general merchandise department.
SCARY MARY Mrs. Tippetts
also wanted a witch in the display but didn’t want to make the
setting any scarier for fear some shoppers might shy away from
it. In a catalog, she found a fuller-bodied, life-size witch
that she felt had a gentler appearance than many of the skinnier
ones. She ended up selling several.
Mrs. Tippetts lightened the mood of the display by adding
signage that put a new spin on the “Mary, Mary Quite Contrary”
nursery rhyme. Her wording was: “Scary Mary, quite contrary, how
does your garden grow?” “Silver bells” and “cockleshells” were
replaced by “moss, slime, poisonous vine and toad stools.”
PRODUCTS Within her scary Halloween setting, Mrs.
Tippetts merchandised such floral products as ivies, crotons,
Spathiphyllums, elephant-leaf plants, miniature roses and potted
mums in fall colors. She placed them on hay bales, crates and
From the corporate office, she received one of the biggest
sellers for the season—a selection of rust-colored mums in
apple-basket-style containers. She also included
Halloween-themed planters, including a large orange cat planter
and others with orange-and-yellow plaid designs.
To enhance her floral offerings, Mrs. Tippetts disassembled a
garland of skeleton hands and had her husband drill holes in the
wrists of each hand. Then, she inserted wooden skewers. Although
she used them to hold display signage, customers bought them to
use as card holders in plants they purchased.
Right style and theme produce winning signage
your signage not only informs customers but also helps develop
the theme of your display, you’re on track to win sales as well
as awards. Last year for Administrative Professionals Day/Week,
Patty Malloy, floral manager/buyer for Gordy’s County Market, in
Eau Claire, Wis., took a simple signage idea—a legal pad and
pencil—and carried it throughout her display. The result earned
her the 2007 Honor Award for Best Signage.
SIGNAGE TIPS Mrs. Malloy
says repetition is one of the keys to effective signage because
it adds interest throughout the display. She likes to start with
at least one large, primary sign that draws attention, pulling
customers into the display. As they come closer, she wants them
to find smaller informative signage but with a minimal amount of
reading required. Her trick is to start a draft of her signage
with all the information she has and then eliminate what she
Her goal is to end up with clutter-free signage that has as few
words as possible. Clear and legible text also is important. In
her experience, black lettering is the most effective. Colored
lettering, she says, often doesn’t stand out as well.
PRIMARY SIGNAGE Mrs.
Malloy’s signage idea for 2006 Administrative Professionals
Day/Week started with a selection of desk planters and blooming
plants and an oversized cardboard pencil she had on hand. To
accompany these items, she drew lines on a large piece of yellow
tag board to make it look like a legal pad. Then she used her
calligraphy skills to wish customers a “Happy Administrative
Professionals Week!” She hung the sign with the pencil above the
display at the center of her floral department.
SIGNAGE Her secondary signage was computer-generated
on white paper but had a coordinating yellow border. One was
posted above a bunch of bright silk and potted Gerbera daisies.
It announced the holiday and its date and suggested flowers and
plants as gifts.
THE REAL THING For slightly
smaller signage, she wrote on actual legal pads. One had wording
in the style of a checklist. In addition to the date, she gave
customers a concise list of gift suggestions from within her
display: blooming plants, desktop planters, fresh flower
bouquets, colorful vase arrangements and foil balloons. Two
others told customers: “Be the talk of the office with a desktop
planter” and “For an office with a view, buy flowers today!”
PRICE SIGNAGE For the
smallest signage in the display, which contained the item
descriptions and prices, she found Post-it® Notes that looked
just like legal pads.
DEVELOPMENT To further carry out the theme, Mrs.
Malloy stuck real pencils into her potted plants, as well as
some oversized paper-clip picks. The paper-clip picks made
perfect enclosure card holders.
FLORAL PRODUCTS Desk size
was Mrs. Malloy’s focus when she chose most of the floral
products for her display. Items included foliage gardens and
single blooming plants. She also merchandised several of each
item because customers bought as many as eight at a time.
Both potted and cut Gerberas naturally coordinated with this
display because everything from the containers to the Post-it
Notes came in bright, neon colors. She continued this color
scheme by incorporating bright-colored tin buckets and watering
cans into the display. She hung watering cans with overhead
signage that read: “April showers bring May flowers!” This part
of the display remained throughout the month of April.
Effective techniques achieve color harmony
Color affects us more than we often realize. It can change our
mood, direct our steps and even inspire us to purchase. Floral
Manager Lori Trotter, IMF; Designer Chelsey Murray; and Floral
Clerk Michelle Schultze, at Hy-Vee West Des Moines No. 2 in West
Des Moines, Iowa, used color’s appealing properties to great
effect in their Springtime Party display, earning them the 2007
Honor Award for Best Color Harmony.
COLOR TECHNIQUES Ms. Trotter
and her staff create different color combinations to achieve
several looks in displays, such as a major color with
complementing colors, monochromatic colors for a more elegant
appeal and a bright color scheme for a fun look. Ms. Trotter
says the Springtime Party display was designed so that customers
could look at it from several angles and see different color
schemes, allowing them to find the ones that fit their homes’
color palette and feel.
BEHIND THE THEME The
Springtime Party display was part of Hy-Vee’s annual companywide
Springtime Party sales event. The company was a 2007 World Cup
Triathlon sponsor, which inspired the store to adopt a swim,
bike and run theme. The floral department gave the theme a twist
by focusing on the song “Daisy Bell,” often referred to as
“Bicycle Built for Two,” which contains the lyrics: “Daisy,
Daisy, give me your answer do!” The song led to the
incorporation of an iron bicycle plant stand and different types
of colorful daisies.
DAISY PRODUCTS Gerberas,
with their abundant choices of bright colors, were the perfect
floral product to communicate color, both as cuts and potted
plants. Both versions sold well, Ms. Trotter says; in fact, they
were replenished at least three times while the display was up.
Other potted selections were daisy mums in 4- and 6-inch pots
The display also incorporated massive displays of tinted daisy
consumer bouquets. One style had mixed colors. Another one,
dubbed the “Thanks” bouquet, was targeted to Administrative
Professionals Day/Week and contained hot pink tinted daisy spray
mums. A third choice offered grower daisy bunches, sold as
“Daisy, Daisy” bouquets with five matching stems per bouquet.
Balloons also added to the color harmony and contributed
movement. The display featured 36-inch daisy-shaped foil
balloons and 36-inch sun-shaped foil balloons.
COLOR AND DIMENSION Ms.
Trotter stresses the importance of dimension in displays but
maintains that they also must be shoppable. Giving the display
dimension were the bicycle plant stand and a wicker flower cart
with coordinating baskets and a variety of lifts.
The team covered the lifts with fabrics that
color scheme. Ms. Trotter says that in a display with a lot of
bright colors, solid fabric colors are the better choice because
patterns can make the display look cluttered. In fact, although
she normally would try to hide the black buckets she uses for
cut flowers, in this display she decided to leave them because
the colorful Gerberas popped off the shiny black containers.
Ms. Trotter says the Springtime Party display easily
transitioned from spring through Administrative Professionals
Day/ Week and on until Mother’s Day.
You may reach Contributing Editor Monica Humbard by phone at