The Magic Of Makeovers

The Magic Of Makeovers

Bachman’s new “Wink” gift section is geared toward women aged 35 to 50.

“Makeover” – that word is now being heard among garden centers across the country.

And for a wide variety of reasons.

Those engaged in major makeovers – like Bachman’s and Stauffers – have chosen that word to best describe what it is that they have undertaken.

As other garden centers pick up on it, it seems destined to become one of the most frequently used new terms in this industry.

The Dawn Of An Era

Have we entered the era of the makeover? It is certain that many more garden centers will recognize a need to change how they present themselves to their marketplace.

What is going on is all part of the revolution in garden retailing that has been identified and featured by this publication.

The recognition of the pressing need for operators to change has been fueled by the recent findings of marketing research organizations. Their industry-wide studies conclude that there are significantly altered attitudes about home and garden activities. This has caused nothing less than an upheaval in the thinking and planning of retailers.

This is particularly true of garden centers that had continued to do well after dozens of years of operation. Some of them have felt the need to undertake their own research to understand how customers and would-be customers were thinking about their firm, its merchandise, the ambiance of the stores and a host of other variables.

A New Identity 

Stauffers’ received positive feedback from customers on the store’s new look.

Both Bachman’s, with seven stores in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota, and Stauffers, with six stores in southeastern Pennsylvania, held back nothing during our extended, probing interviews this past summer.

Thanks to Paul Bachman, vice-president of marketing at Bachman’s, and Jere Stauffer, vice-president at Stauffers (firm’s full name is Stauffers of Kissel Hill) – our readers have the opportunity to review an analysis of the top makeover changes involved in those two properties.

The table on lists the 20 elements most involved in a makeover program. You will note that all but two of them were dealt with by one or both of these chains. For five of the variables you will find the change involved was indicated as either “minor” or “major.”

This table of 20 items underscores the point that only changing a logo or the company colors does not constitute a makeover. However, never underestimate the importance of a fresh, new logo and its accompanying colors. This truth is demonstrated if you access the Stauffers Web site. The graphic elements, particularly in contrast with the previous scheme, are compelling and communicate a fair amount about the firm and the shopping experience.

In the Stauffers project, the graphic design elements were carried over to, or adapted for, all these elements:

•   Store fronts
•   Signage – indoors and outdoors
•   Vehicles
•   Uniforms
•   Advertising
•   Newsletters
•   Website

No two garden centers have the same set of circumstances to deal with when they do their research nor when they contemplate solutions. For example, three of the six Stauffers garden centers are connected to their own supermarkets. The makeover concentrates on the garden center end of the business.

Stauffer comments: “An uncommon component of the makeover at Stauffers is the property’s fencing. It is very utilitarian and worn – quite out of character with the new overall look of the upgrades.”

The situation at Bachman’s is probably unique. In 2004 its research involved only the garden center part of the operation – indoors and outdoors. There was a high degree of customer satisfaction with every aspect of the garden center operation in all of the stores.

“It was a different story in 2005 when the consumer research focused on the other sections of the stores – primarily gifts and floral,” observes Bachman. “There was a feeling that we had fallen behind the times,
for example. For a very long time, we had used solid purple as a key element in our identity system. It had worked well for us but it was no longer fresh and certainly not new. We have found ways to put it in stripes, combined with other contemporary colors. It’s working fine on vehicles, uniforms, printed materials and, most notably, in the packaging materials used with floral arrangements.”

Those considering a makeover should follow Bachman’s lead when it comes to product offerings. There has been a major revamp in its floral arrangements: the selection of flowers used, how they are arranged and how they are packaged.

Doing The Research

Bachman’s pre-makeover research revealed two shortcomings they treated as opportunities and have already made into successes. Although the Bachman’s chain had been long involved in gift goods, survey respondents expressed a desire for merchandise that could be given to children. In mid-September, Bachman reported they are very pleased with the performance of that new section of the store, an area of about 500 square feet.

So it was with another category of goods. Women in the 35 to 50 age group indicated there was this void: gifts that a woman in that age group could give to another woman in the same age range. Commonly referred to as “girlfriend gifts,” they became the basis for a whole new department. This became an ambitious undertaking that included the conversion of existing space to an area that has its own kind of zing – in colors, wall treatments, fixturing and signage.

To help distinguish this department from all others, the department was given a name: “Wink.” Paul Bachman tells us the Wink section, like the children’s area, is “a bright new success story for us.”

At Stauffers of Kissel Hill, Stauffer reports on the implementation of the identity elements of their makeover program: “The feedback from customers is very positive. Employees like what has been done so far. They tell us the new signage system is helping ‘liven up’ our merchandising efforts. At the same time, shoppers are finding their way more easily.”

He notes, “Other garden center operators who get involved in a makeover project must realize that some aspects of it can’t be accomplished overnight. The conversion of our store fixturing will take us at least two years to complete. A similar timetable applies to the changeover of our store fronts and the replacement of fencing.”

It is obvious that everything involved in a makeover project should contribute to the strength of a garden center’s brand image. In this article those two words, “brand” and “image” have been avoided. Too few garden centers think of their store name as being a brand name “image.” On the other hand, it has become such a loosely used term that it is now almost meaningless.

Leave a Reply

More From Displays/Merchandising...
Todays Garden Center website redesign

May 26, 2015

TodaysGardenCenter.com Relaunches With Responsive Design For Mobile

TodaysGardenCenter.com has relaunched with a responsive design aimed at mobile devices. The new design is the product of direct user feedback and TodaysGardenCenter.com analytics, and includes responsive design for ease of mobile use, building engagement with visitors and meeting TodaysGardenCenter.com’s mission of being the industry’s best source for news and information. “The new Today’s Garden Center website is clean and very visually oriented, with lots of images to enhance our coverage of plant and flower varieties, new products and display and merchandising ideas,” says Jim Sulecki, corporate content director at Meister Media Worldwide, Today’s Garden Center’s parent company. “We’ve adopted a contemporary ‘tiled’ look with rows of arresting images providing the entryway to our large volume of articles and slideshows via our home page and our various subject-focused pages. “Also, our new navigation helps retailers quickly get to the heart of information they need on Departments, Management and Varieties. And […]

Read More
Pandy's Garden Center

May 25, 2015

Pandy’s Garden Center Hit By Sophisticated Thieves

Pandy’s Garden Center in Elyria, Ohio, was hit by three thieves who stole inventory and property amounting to tens of thousands of dollars in the peak season between Mother’s Day and Memorial Day. The thieves were caught on camera (which was replayed on a local news station) but wore white jumpsuits that disguised their figures and face masks. They also redirected the camera to point to the sky before getting to work on taking inventory. Trees, plants and other inventory was stolen, as were tools and the store’s Econoline van, which police speculate was used to cart off much of the stolen inventory.  What To Do If Your Store Is Robbed Reporting and recording are the first steps you should take to insure you are reimbursed through your business insurance and with the IRS, the Houston Chronicle says. Police reports go a long way to validating that you loss inventory and/or […]

Read More

May 22, 2015

AccuWeather Summer Forecast: Expect A Range Of Extremes

A continued drought in the West, higher moisture in the Southeast and above-normal temperatures in the North could have an effect on what your customers are buying.

Read More
Latest Stories
Todays Garden Center website redesign

May 26, 2015

TodaysGardenCenter.com Relaunches With Responsive Desig…

TodaysGardenCenter.com has relaunched with a responsive design aimed at mobile devices. The new design is the product of direct user feedback and TodaysGardenCenter.com analytics, and includes responsive design for ease of mobile use, building engagement with visitors and meeting TodaysGardenCenter.com’s mission of being the industry’s best source for news and information. “The new Today’s Garden Center website is clean and very visually oriented, with lots of images to enhance our coverage of plant and flower varieties, new products and display and merchandising ideas,” says Jim Sulecki, corporate content director at Meister Media Worldwide, Today’s Garden Center’s parent company. “We’ve adopted a contemporary ‘tiled’ look with rows of arresting images providing the entryway to our large volume of articles and slideshows via our home page and our various subject-focused pages. “Also, our new navigation helps retailers quickly get to the heart of information they need on Departments, Management and Varieties. And […]

Read More
Pandy's Garden Center

May 25, 2015

Pandy’s Garden Center Hit By Sophisticated Thieve…

Pandy’s Garden Center in Elyria, Ohio, was hit by three thieves who stole inventory and property amounting to tens of thousands of dollars in the peak season between Mother’s Day and Memorial Day. The thieves were caught on camera (which was replayed on a local news station) but wore white jumpsuits that disguised their figures and face masks. They also redirected the camera to point to the sky before getting to work on taking inventory. Trees, plants and other inventory was stolen, as were tools and the store’s Econoline van, which police speculate was used to cart off much of the stolen inventory.  What To Do If Your Store Is Robbed Reporting and recording are the first steps you should take to insure you are reimbursed through your business insurance and with the IRS, the Houston Chronicle says. Police reports go a long way to validating that you loss inventory and/or […]

Read More

May 22, 2015

AccuWeather Summer Forecast: Expect A Range Of Extremes

A continued drought in the West, higher moisture in the Southeast and above-normal temperatures in the North could have an effect on what your customers are buying.

Read More
EMV Card J Lombardi

May 22, 2015

Retailers Taking Steps To Deal With EMV As Deadline Loo…

The Oct. 1 deadline looms for retailers to be ready to accept chip-enabled Europay MasterCard Visa credit cards. According to the National Retail Federation, the costs of the new technology, coupled with banks’ plans to stick with signatures instead of switching to more secure PINs, have many merchants hesitant to make the move.

Read More

May 21, 2015

How To Hold A Successful In-Store Promotional Event

A successful event attracts customers and motivates employees. While boosting your business, it builds your reputation and sets you apart from other garden centers.

Read More

May 19, 2015

Shemin Nursery And Landscape Supply Patriarch And WWI V…

Nearly 100 years after Sgt. William Shemin pulled wounded comrades to safety on a World War I battlefield, his heroism has finally earned him the nation’s highest service medal.

Read More

May 18, 2015

Mother’s Day Was Strong For Many Garden Centers This Ye…

Despite threats (or true blasts) of inclement weather in some areas, Mother’s Day weekend set records in several areas. Check out what retailers across the country are reporting in terms of traffic, weather and how they are seeking to improve efficiency.

Read More
Bob Warhurst

May 18, 2015

Merrifield Garden Center Co-Founder Robert Warhurst Pas…

Warhurst and his good friend Buddy Williams started Merrifield Garden Center in Northern Virginia in 1971, eventually growing it into one of the largest independent garden centers in the country.

Read More

May 18, 2015

Today’s Garden Center’s 2015 State Of The Industry Surv…

Input from garden center retailers about how your garden center is faring will be used to compare previous years’ health to our industry’s current performance.

Read More

May 15, 2015

How Millennials Are Shaping Shopping Trends

The National Retail Federation and others are looking at how millennial homebuyers and homeowners are influencing shopping trends, and how major retailers are adapting to meet this trend.

Read More
Moana nursery end cap

May 12, 2015

How Moana Nursery Thrives In The High Desert [Slideshow…

By focusing on the rewards of gardening in arid Reno, Nevada, Moana Nursery weathered one of the worst-hit areas in the country during the recession.

Read More
GrowIt Senetti Logo

May 11, 2015

Suntory And GrowIt! Garden Socially Partner On A New Se…

Three different contests will run from May through early August. Garden center retailers can upload their own photos or encourage their customers to enter and win.

Read More
Ingenico EMV

May 8, 2015

National Retail Federation Addresses Concerns About EMV…

In a short video, NRF senior vice president Mallory Duncan weighs in on the status of new EMV chips in credit cards, what retailers need to know and whether the new cards are truly as safe as intended.

Read More

May 8, 2015

Martha Stewart Tops List Of Keynote Speakers At This Su…

An interview between Martha Stewart and IGC Show founder Jeff Morey will kick off the IGC East show in Baltimore, with a full slate of engaging speakers to follow at both IGC events.

Read More
Summerfest overview

May 5, 2015

Fun Things You Can Do Before Or After The GCA Tour

There's a lot you can add to your GCA calendar. From Summerfest, a huge music festival (think performances from a wide range of bands, like the Rolling Stones, Jane's Addiction, Zac Brown Band and Phillip Phillips) to a more relaxed Wisconsin Cheesemakers' And Wine Train, there are dozens of festivals and activities happening in Milwaukee in late June.

Read More

May 5, 2015

How You Can Survive “Mobilegeddon”

Late last year, Google announced a change in the way websites will be ranked in search results on mobile phones. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, it will appear lower in search results.

Read More

May 4, 2015

Scotts-MiracleGro Partners With Meijer To Open New In-S…

As part of a pilot program, retailer Meijer has announced it is partnering with Marysville, Ohio-based Scotts-MiracleGro to open 27 garden centers in existing Meijer stores across the Midwest, including 11 in Michigan.

Read More

May 4, 2015

Six Ways To Boost Sales Over Mother’s Day Weekend

Whether it’s by extending hours, offering giveaways or holding events, there are a number of ways to boost sales over Mother’s Day weekend. Here’s what a few garden centers are doing.

Read More