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2007 Honor Award Winners

Floral departments are recognized for their outstanding theme development, signage and color harmony.

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.

the winners
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 nursery rhyme.
• 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 dimension.
winning elements
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 or theme?


Creativity and coordination inspire a cohesive theme

Rosie 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.

RECYCLED 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 and teeth.
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.”

FLORAL 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 display tables.
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

When 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 can.
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.

SECONDARY 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.

THEME 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 and Osteospermums.
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 complemented each 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 (800) 355-8086.

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