2018 “Merchandising Award of Excellence”

LOVE WAS IN THE AIR AND TALENT WAS ON DISPLAY AMONG THIS YEAR’S FINALISTS.

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2018 WINNERS
CINDY FITZGERALD and MICHELLE BEESON
Hy-Vee

Omaha, Neb.

Theme: “Our Love Is Written in the Stars”

Inspired by the 2017 “Great American Eclipse,” Cindy Fitzgerald, floral manager, and Michelle Beeson, floral designer, at Hy-Vee in Omaha, Neb., decided to take the excitement and energy of this truly spectacular event forward to Valentine’s Day 2018. The theme of this year’s display was “Our Love Is Written in the Stars.”

The women got to work on their idea and rallied other departments in the store to jump on board. Meetings were held, ideas were exchanged and excitement grew. “We’ve never had such a large-scale event in our store. It was so much work but so much fun,” Fitzgerald exclaimed.

“This was such a fun theme and brought so much energy to the store,” she added. “We had many comments from customers and employees about how incredible it was.”

Creative signs communicated rose bouquet specials for $19.99, along with giant custom- painted chalkboards enhanced with lights that spelled out “I Love You.” Banners custom-printed at the Hy-Vee sign shop showcased gold glittery stars against a navy background that resembled the night sky. Signs were used in the parking lot, and employees wore T-shirts that matched the theme.

Merchandising Award of Excellence cover

At the two main entrances to the store, huge displays of flower bouquets, festive plants and heart-shaped balloons of all sizes greeted customers. From the ceiling, large glittery stars were hung surrounded by window frames and lanterns.

Merchandising Award of Excellence cover

Other departments got on the love train by creating special gifts, bath and body gift sets, heart-shaped cookies, cupcakes, and candy bar bouquets.

Merchandising Award of Excellence cover

Fitzgerald said that along with roses, succulents were an amazingly popular item, and, in fact, they sold out of them. Potted callas, African violets, Hydrangeas and orchids were other big sellers.

Congratulations to everyone at the Hy-Vee floral department on Stony Brook Blvd., in Omaha, for their win.

Merchandising Award of Excellence cover

2018 FINALIST
PREA JONES
Stater Bros. Markets 174

Wildomar, Calif.

Theme: “The Strength of Love”

Popeye and Olive Oyl have been a symbol of a couple in love since the 1920s. In a fun update for Valentine’s Day, Prea Jones, general merchandising clerk in the floral department at Stater Bros. Market in Wildomar, Calif., used the beloved characters as the inspiration for her theme, “The Strength of Love.”

Jones said she and her team of five had a great time creating this vibrant display, which was cross-promoted throughout the store.

When customers entered the store, they were greeted with a colorful Popeye standing strong with a can of spinach, which sprouted beautiful fresh flowers. Bluto was there, too, vying for Olive’s attention with a bouquet of bright balloons. In the middle was the lovely Olive Oyl treasuring attention from both sides.

Throughout the store, Popeye, Olive Oyl, Bluto and Wimpy, in their retro best, welcomed customers in various displays. In the produce section, Popeye-branded spinach was on special, and delicious recipes were offered on multiple ways to use the leafy greens. Jones reported, “Spinach sales were way up that day along with floral.”

On lighthearted signage, Wimpy exclaimed, “I would gladly pay you on Tuesday for some flowers for Valentines Day.”

Top-selling floral items included red roses, of course, along with Hydrangeas, tulips, green plants and succulents. Stater Bros. floral staff were ready for their busiest holiday with a large variety of beautiful ready-made arrangements and custom floral services.

Said Jones, “It’s awesome that we are recognized for the hard work we do. Thank you to Super Floral and to the great team I work with at Stater Bros.”

Congratulations to Jones and her amazing team for an award-winning display!