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Merchandising Merit
Up, up and away

Fourth of July balloons add up to big profits as they soar out of the store with floral bouquets.

Normally, you don’t think of an add-on as being the key to your holiday sales, but that’s exactly what happened at the TOP Food & Drug in Federal Way, Wash. The floral department’s extensive Fourth of July balloon selection not only attracted shoppers’ attention but also drove up sales as add-ons to holiday bouquets.

TOP Food & Drug sponsored a balloon display contest for its 30 stores in Washington and Oregon. Each store was to choose either a summer or a Fourth of July theme and incorporate its choice of balloon designs. Rebecca Richner, floral manager at the Federal Way location, chose Fourth of July and a selection of red, white and blue balloons unlike any she had offered before. As a result, she not only placed in the top three in the contest but her department also sold more than 300 balloons for the holiday.

Ms. Richner says TOP Food & Drug, where she has worked for 17 years, encourages and admires creativity. She entered her display in the 2004 “Merchandising Award of Excellence” contest, sponsored by Super Floral Retailing and Börgen Systems.

One of the floral department’s Fourth of July displays was located at the center of the store, near the freezer area. Although floral created it, the department pulled items from throughout the store. For a backdrop, the staff used stacks of red, white and blue plastic and Styrofoam coolers from the variety department. They also supplied a couple of lawn chairs as well. The garden department provided blue pots, in which the floral staff dropped the star-shaped weights attached to the balloons.

In the displays closer to the floral department, Ms. Richner featured white potted mums, patriotic teddy bears and Fourth of July-themed bouquets that included blue Irises, red carnations and white daisies with ting-ting and blue star picks. Ms. Richner says customers purchased the bouquets and added on one of the many Fourth of July-themed balloons, driving up sales for the holiday.

You can reach Merchandising Merit writer Monica Humbard at or (800) 355-8086.

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