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2007 Honor Award Winners

Teams recognized for use of stand-alone displays and cross-merchandising.

by Monica Humbard

In June, Super Floral Retailing and Börgen Systems announced the winners of the annual “Merchandising Award of Excellence” contest at The Super Floral Show in Columbus, Ohio. We featured the 2007 Grand Prize winner, Stater Bros. Markets in West Covina, Calif., in our August issue. Stater Bros.’ floral director, Liane Temple, accepted the Börgen Cup, an engraved cut-crystal Orrefors trophy, on behalf of the store during The Super Floral Show’s Keynote Luncheon.
Five Honor Award winners also received recognition June 13 at the show, along with miniature versions of the Börgen Cup. In our September issue, we featured the winners of Best Theme Development, Best Signage and Best Color Harmony. This month, we focus on the highest achievers in Best Use of Stand-Alone Displays and Best Cross-Merchandising.

the winners
A three-person display team at Publix Super Market No. 663 in Brandon, Fla., put together the Valentine’s Day display that received the Honor Award for Best Use of Stand-Alone Displays. Store Manager David Tapia, Produce Manager Susan Meehan and Floral Specialist Barbara Split combined their talents to produce a grand display featuring romantic music and an oversized candy box at the entrance to the store. It mesmerized shoppers, boosted sales and had customers humming its praises.
To earn the Honor Award for Best Cross-Merchandising, Floral Manager Lisa Tapp, Floral Associate Maria Castaneda and Store Associate Ashton Scally of Albertsons No. 4176 in Weatherford, Texas, enlisted the assistance of their store’s Dr Pepper vendor to create a massive Italian city with bridges and a gondola out of 12-pack soda boxes for Valentine’s Day. Their theme was “A Touch of Italy, Love Is in the Air.” The team invited all the store’s departments to contribute Valentine’s Day gift ideas, which were displayed throughout the city.
winning elements
The judges’ criteria for choosing the Honor Winners for the 2007 “Merchandising Award of Excellence” contest included:
USE OF STAND-ALONE DISPLAYS Are end caps, gondolas and coolers used effectively to showcase featured products? Are products displayed in a pleasing and
organized manner?
CROSS-MERCHANDISING How effectively does the display sell nonfloral items? Do the floral and nonfloral items complement one another, or do they seem out of

stand-alone display

Team uses a stand-alone display to offer shoppers a grand entrance

For Valentine’s Day this year, Store Manager David Tapia, Produce Manager Susan Meehan and Floral Specialist Barbara Split at Publix Super Market No. 663 in Brandon, Fla., decided to return to romance with the basics—roses, wine and chocolates. But their display was beyond basic. The team put together a grand entrance for shoppers, earning it the 2007 Honor Award for Best Use of Stand-Alone Displays.
STAGING THE DISPLAY Ms. Split says the team likes to build large displays on top of merchandisers to make them more visible to shoppers. This technique also protects the integrity of the props used and extends the life of displays.
In the middle of the night a couple of weeks before Valentine’s Day 2007, Mr. Tapia oversaw placing a baby grand piano on top of a large merchandiser at the front of the store, next to the floral department. The piano was programmed to play a selection of romantic songs and was topped with a basket of arranged roses.
A cozy bistro table and chairs that looked perfect for a romantic rendezvous were positioned on top of the merchandiser. The table was covered with a bright red tablecloth and set with a vase of red roses.
Both the grand piano and the table were almost dwarfed by a larger-than-life, heart-shaped box of chocolates. The display team built the two frames for the candy box with PVC pipe and inserted cardboard into each half of the “box.” Pink vinyl tablecloths covered the “lid” and were folded to produce a fancy, pleated look. The team sprayed the bottom half of the box black. For “candies,” the team sprayed plastic cake lids from the bakery brown and attached them to the black cardboard. Mr. Tapia and his crew wired both halves of the box to the beams over the display so they would stand up.
The team also covered the top of the merchandiser with white, pink and red latex balloons. The display included large, heart-shaped singing foil balloons that played a variety of songs.
“A picture is worth a thousand words,” Ms. Split says. The idea, she explains, was for shoppers to get the image of the grand display in their minds before the holiday so they would return to make purchases as the holiday approached.
PRODUCT SELECTION Although the team members wanted shoppers to return to purchase fresh products, they filled the merchandiser with a selection of less-perishable gift options before the holiday for early shoppers. These included more than 75 gift baskets that had a variety of themes, including dinner for two with pasta, sauce and wine; popcorn and a movie; and a spa treatment with bath salts, lotions and bubble bath.
Along with an assortment of potted plants such as tulips and azaleas, the display had bottles of wine and plush with foil balloons or candy attached. As the holiday approached, the team expanded the floral selection with rose arrangements and consumer rose bunches and also cross-merchandised lobster tails; steaks; and heart-shaped cupcakes, cakes and cookies.
CUSTOMER RESPONSE Ms. Split recalls customers standing in front of the grand display listening to the music and also humming the songs as they walked through the store. The sales results were beyond the team’s expectations. Ms. Split credits this to the display’s ability to appeal to a variety of customers, the eye-catching box of chocolates that amazed customers by its realistic appearance and the attraction of children to the player piano.

Italian city makes an ideal setting for product cross-merchandising

If you want to set the mood for love, what better locale than an Italian city? That was the inspiration when Floral Manager Lisa Tapp and her team planned their Valentine’s Day display at the entrance to Albertsons No. 4176 in Weatherford, Texas. Ms. Tapp, joined by Maria Castaneda, floral associate, and Ashton Scally, store associate, chose the theme “A Touch of Italy, Love Is in the Air” and went to work constructing a city made from 12-pack soft-drink boxes with the assistance of the Dr Pepper vendor. They then filled it with items cross-merchandised from throughout the store.
THE CITY The team built the Italian city, which was surrounded by bridges and enhanced with a gondola and fountain, in two days. The buildings were constructed from assorted Dr Pepper 12-pack products. Some buildings had awnings made with cellophane taped to wires, and others had balconies made from empty 12-pack boxes decorated with silk flowers. The team taped mirrors on some buildings to create “windows.” Reflections gave the illusion of lights and movement in the buildings. Some buildings had cutouts for doors or windows.
Big Red and Diet Big Red 12-pack cartons formed the bridges and 10- to 12-foot-tall pillars. The team used empty cartons taped together to create overhangs and archways. Arched openings allowed customers to walk under the bridges to shop inside the city. Ms. Scally dressed for the Italian theme and wandered through the city assisting customers with their shopping needs.
THE GONDOLA The team constructed a gondola at the center of the city from empty A&W Root Beer 12-packs. A large plush bear steered the boat. At times, an associate’s daughter who was dressed as an Italian maiden sat in the gondola.
THE FOUNTAIN Gladiolus buckets, which were sprayed with a material that created a cementlike appearance, served as a fountain for the city. Holes were drilled in the bottom of the buckets, and water was pumped up through them. A statue of a woman stood nearby and appeared to pour water into a large flowerpot.
PRODUCT MIX The city was filled with an assortment of Valentine’s Day gifts from throughout the store. Ms. Tapp invited all departments to contribute to the product selection. Rose arrangements, bouquets, plants and balloons were joined by cross-merchandised items such as Dr Pepper products, perfumes, candy, cakes and cookies. The display also included an abundance of gift baskets made with foliage plants and assorted gifts.
KIDS CORNER The team created a Kids Corner, where children could find gift items for their friends, family and teachers priced from $3 to $7. A spinner rack offered corsage boxes containing plush animals nestled in a bed of shred and candy, and long rose boxes holding single permanent roses on a bed of candy Hershey’s Kisses™. Next to the spinner rack, cellophane bags tied with curling ribbon were filled with miniature cans of soda, candy and heart-shaped erasers.
A BIG WINNER Ms. Tapp says sales were great for Valentine’s Day 2007. In fact, the Kids Corner sold out completely. Not only did the display win the 2007 Honor Award for Best Cross-Merchandising but the Dr Pepper vendor also won his own Big Red contest for the display as well.

You may reach Contributing Editor Monica Humbard by phone at (800) 355-8086.

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