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Outdoor activities during the harvest season can help push fall flowers and merchandise.

    Across our country, fall is a beautiful time of year. It’s also a great time to celebrate the quiet lull between summer activities and the hustle and bustle of the holidays. To create some buzz during the harvest season, supermarkets often schedule activities that embrace fall’s bounty while capitalizing on comfortable temperatures. So Senior Editor Shelley Urban asked four floral experts this question: What kinds of outdoor fall events do you host, and how do you tie in floral?

I am an “autumn-aholic,” so, starting at Labor Day, everything I do is all about autumn. Outdoors, we have a harvest festival, and we set up as much autumn merchandise as we can. To tie in floral, we offer two demonstration classes on the sidewalk outside the store. One of the classes teaches customers how to decorate with Indian corn, creating door swags and other pieces. The other demonstration teaches how to arrange flowers in fresh and faux pumpkins. At that time of year [early September], we have the small sugar pumpkins—used for making pies. So we show how to hollow them out and arrange a fresh “roundy moundy” bouquet. And to show how to use larger pumpkins, oftentimes, we place potted mum plants in plastic jack-o’-lanterns and tuck in preserved oak leaves. We hold the demonstrations two hours each day over the Labor Day weekend. Customers can purchase the finished pieces or buy the materials to make their own.
Matt Boucher, floral manager
Super Stop & Shop #640; Norwalk, Conn.

    Fall is one of our favorite times of year! We decorate the outside of our store and give our customers many fall decorating ideas. To get our share of sales, the floral shop creates “designer” pumpkins, which we paint and decorate with fall trim.
Jodi Evans, ICF, floral manager
Hy-Vee; Ankeny, Iowa

    Tops Markets is now independently owned and operated, and in our first year of making decisions locally, we’re enhancing relationships with our global partners as well as local vendors and growers. This fall, with the help of our produce and floral associates, we’ll focus on creatively merchandising our outdoor “farmers markets” as we showcase locally grown pumpkins, gourds and squash among beautiful hardy mums, also grown close to home.
Shawn Oliver-Zobrist, floral technical specialist
Tops Markets; Buffalo, N.Y.

    Just inside the store, at the front of the building, we have a “theater,” where our store hosts a variety of classes three times per week. Most are for cooking and healthy living, but four times a year, I do floral classes. Although they’re very popular, I have to do them at times that aren’t stressful for the floral department, so fall is a great time. I usually teach how to make centerpieces in pumpkins with sunflowers, wheat and ivy vine. There is no cost to participate, and the departments donate the products used, so we limit the class size to 20, to keep the cost [to the departments] down. We also had a scarecrow decorating contest. Each department created its own, and all of them were used outside as decoration. The floral department’s scarecrow was really cute; she wore bib overalls and a thrift shop, daisy-print shirt and had pigtails in her “hair.” She carried a basket of permanent flowers. This didn’t directly involve customers, but it was a fun way to [highlight our departments].
Rosie Tippetts, floral manager
Maceys Store No. 1034
Pleasant Grove, Utah

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


Super Floral Retailing • Copyright 2009
Florists' Review Enterprises, Inc.