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Merchandising Merit
in your own
             back yard

Floral manager’s dog inspires last-minute display idea.


Sometimes the best inspiration is right in front of you. Although you’re a retailer on one hand, you are a consumer on the other and should consider your own life experiences when developing merchandising ideas—especially in a pinch.

Last spring, Ruth Grega, who recently retired from her position as floral manager at the Hampton Village Schnucks No. 258 in St. Louis, Mo., had only a few hours to turn an unexpected shipment of pansies into a profitable display. The display also had to sell the pansies in two days because the store’s Easter product was scheduled to arrive.

Ms. Grega’s store doesn’t normally sell bedding plants and, therefore, does not have an outdoor setup for such product. However, on this particular Saturday morning, a shipping error left her with white baskets of pansies that she had to turn into a workable indoor display. Her thoughts quickly turned to her own flower gardens.

THEME Ms. Grega recalled how her dog loves to roam in her gardens and came up with the display theme “Garden Friends.” She decided to combine the pansy baskets with an assortment of animals that enjoy flower gardens, such as bunnies, turtles and frogs.

LOCATION Ms. Grega placed the display—which was an entry in the “2004 Merchandising Award of Excellence” contest, sponsored by Super Floral Retailing and Bˆrgen Systems—by the front door where customers were sure to see it. A low wall in the store’s entry became part of a merchandiser, serving as the back row for the display. A row of crates created a second tier. More pansies surrounded crates on the floor.

PROPS/SIGNAGE From storage, Ms. Grega retrieved a large foam-board dog she had previously cut out and painted for a “Dog Days of Summer” display. She also traced and cut out frogs from green construction paper. On them, she wrote pricing and care information. In addition, Ms. Grega used blackboard signage for pricing and to point out that pansies can tolerate cold weather.

OTHER PRODUCT To enhance the display, Ms. Grega added spring giftware such as wind chimes, garden picks and animal-themed garden statuary. Colorful butterfly balloons floated over the display.

RESULTS Ms. Grega considers the display a success. She says the dog attracted children, who then brought their parents to the promotion. The display was up for two days during a weekend with nice weather, and more than half the pansy baskets sold. But despite the display’s success, Ms. Grega doesn’t expect the store’s spring product selection to include bedding plants in the future because her staff had to carry the plants into the produce department to water them.

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.