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Recipients are recognized for their engaging theme development and creative cross-merchandising.

In our August issue, we showcased the display that won Katie Booth of a Hy-Vee in Cherokee, Iowa, the Grand Award in the 2012 “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 Theme Development, Best Cross-Merchandising, Best Signage and Best Color Harmony. Last month, we recognized the winners of the Best Signage and Best Color Harmony categories. This month, our focus is on the winners for Theme Development and Cross-Merchandising.

A beloved local lighthouse inspired Best Theme Development winners Janice McLaughlin, floral operator, and Dena MacDonald, floral designer, at Sobeys Atlantic Store No. 652 in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, Canada. Their engaging “Love on the Rock” promotion helped spotlight the department’s wide selection of Valentine’s Day products.
Ms. McLaughlin and Ms. MacDonald designed a towering replica of the Peggys Cove Lighthouse in Nova Scotia, a tourist attraction in an area known for its romantic beaches. The store also had a customer appreciation day featuring a local band and store associates wearing fishermen “sou’wester” hats, in keeping with the seascape theme.

“We wanted to honor our lighthouses,” Ms. MacDonald shares. “Our lighthouses are quite important to our community and our surroundings.” Some lighthouses also are in danger of closing down, giving the theme even more resonance with customers.

Planning for the display began at least six months before Valentine’s Day. At that time, the team commissioned a local company to create from Styrofoam the giant lighthouse and the rocks it was perched on. To save on costs, other props were borrowed, including a smaller lighthouse and a rowboat from the seafood department and fishing nets from a local fisherman.

The display featured an abundance of floral products for one-stop shopping. One side of the large lighthouse offered bouquets, arrangements, plants, balloons and more. The other side featured a cooler of cross-merchandised items, including steaks, strawberries, desserts and beverages. Signage highlighted prices and product information.

On the Saturday before Valentine’s Day, the store held a customer appreciation “Down East Kitchen Party.” A kitchen party is a Newfoundland tradition of household entertainment featuring music and dancing. The store’s party included live entertainment by a favorite local band, dancing and food tastings. Customers “had a ball,” Ms. McLaughlin expresses. “They just loved it.”

Both Ms. McLaughlin and Ms. MacDonald confirm that themed displays are effective in-store advertising for floral events. They also say displays like their “Love on the Rock”
promotion require much store cooperation, thanking Store Manager Dave MacDonald and Assistant Store Manager Bobby Kyle as well as the rest of the store team for their support. “It’s a store effort,” Ms. McLaughlin confirms. “They’re always willing to help.”


     Floral and candy were a sweet combination for Best Cross-Merchandising winner Cheryl Overland, floral manager at the Hy-Vee in Albert Lea, Minn. Her savvy product combinations, catchy slogan and attention-getting color choices worked together to make the store’s National Boss Day promotion last October a success.
     Ms. Overland and her staff created a display revolving around Werther’s and Riesen candies, whose packaging’s yellow, brown and red hues were perfect for an autumn display. The candy’s warm fall colors paired perfectly with cleverly upgraded crotons, creatively packaged baked goods and enticing apples from produce. The slogan, “Bosses Day is a ‘Riesen’ to show your boss they are ‘Werther’s’ it,” cleverly captured the display’s theme.

The theme, slogan and product ideas were the result of a brainstorming session among the floral team and Mike May, manager of store operations, after Mr. May told them about a display contest that Werther’s and Riesen were having. They decided to tie into the contest, and the ideas for cross-promotion started flowing, Ms. Overland recalls. “We just kept coming up with ideas,” she says.

The team developed an abundance of products appropriate for National Boss Day gift giving as well as for fall home décor. The featured items included 6-inch potted crotons, chosen for their orange and yellow hues. They were sold in pots by themselves and placed atop glass cylinders that were filled with Werther’s candies. The floral products also included 4-inch fall mums in pretty gift boxes and “candy bouquets” featuring cut flowers in glass vases filled with candies.
The cross-merchandised products included brownies and cupcakes that were topped with Werther’s and Riesen candies, fall-themed candles from general merchandise and desktop-size miniature fruit baskets filled with apples that were displayed next to caramels.

The display, at the front of the store near the entrance, received a lot of customer attention, Ms. Overland recalls. “Everybody stopped and would giggle at the signs,” she says.
     More importantly, they purchased the products, with both the floral and nonfloral items selling well. Ms. Overland reports a 16 percent sales increase over the previous year during the same seven-day time frame. “It worked for everybody,” she confirms.

Those positive results reinforce Ms. Overland’s belief in the benefits of cross-merchandising, something she tries to do whenever possible. “I’m just very conscious about trying to be profitable for the store,” she explains. If customers are influenced to buy from a cross-merchandised display, “our average sale is going to go up, the bottom line’s going to grow and it all helps out in the long run.” sfr

Reach Editor in Chief Cynthia L. McGowan at or (800) 355-8086.


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WildFlower Media Inc.