Retail experts share practical, cost-effective ways to refresh your shop’s image.
  by Kelsey E. Smith

    For many florists, the current economy leaves few, if any, extra dollars to spend on their businesses, making remodeling an unlikely venture. But there are several low-cost, or even no-cost, ways to change your shop’s image and make it more inviting to customers. We spoke with Richard Milteer, AIFD, AAF, PFCI, IFDA, creative director of Lakeland Florist Supply, Inc., in Edina, Minn., as well as retail consultants Barbara Crowhurst, founder of Retailmakeover™ in Toronto, and George Whalin, founder of Retail Management Consultants in Carlsbad, Calif., who offered the following ideas for refreshing your shop’s image without breaking the bank.

                                                                            meet the experts

the retail experience
    Mr. Whalin says one of the best ways to get ideas for your shop is to visit other retailers, both within the floral industry and beyond. “Go out and look at other stores,” he suggests. “What would and wouldn’t work in your store? Get some sense of what other retailers are doing.”

    The businesses featured in Mr. Whalin’s new book, Retail Superstars: Inside the 25 Best Independent Stores in America, each have several attributes that make them “superstars,” he says, but one thing they all have in common is that none of them look like every other store on the block.

sizzling signage
    Your business name and outdoor signage are the first things people see. What impression do yours give?

    “My biggest pet peeve on signage is that the name of the store does not tell immediately what products are sold and what services are offered,” Ms. Crowhurst says. “That’s the primary marketing message retailers should consider.”

    Ms. Crowhurst adds that she is not suggesting retailers change their names but rather add a tagline to the existing business name. “It could include major product categories (like flowers, gifts and home décor) or a special brand you carry, or it could be something like, ‘For you and the way you live your life,’” she suggests.

    Inside the shop, Mr. Whalin says one of the most common mistakes retailers make with signage is text that is too small. To ensure readability, he suggests dropping the sign on the floor and looking at it from eye level. If it cannot be easily read from this distance, it is too small. Also be sure to have contrast between the paper and text colors and between the sign and the surroundings against which it will be displayed.

Barbara Crowhurstis an author, business coach and founder of Retailmakeover, a retail consulting business based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Her latest CD and downloadable e-book, Retailers...Ask the Pro. addresses retailers' top challenges and concerns. visit for more information or to order.

Richard Milteer, AIFD, AAF, PFCI, IFDA, is creative director of Lakeland Florists Supply, Inc., a wholesaler, importer and manufacturer of floral and floral-related products in Edina, Minn.

George Whalin is a retail speaker, author and founder of Retail Management Consultants in Carlsbad, Calif. To preview his latest book, Retail Superstars: Inside the 25 Best Independent Stores in America, visit Visit to sign up for Mr. Whalin's free Retail Management E-letter.

      ... For the rest of the story, look to the October 2009 issue of Florists' Review.

Contact Kelsey E. Smith at or (800) 367-4708.

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