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Creating a Retail Destination in Your Store

How one iconic retailer turned an empty house into a design inspiration, and in the process, changed their flagship store into a destination. How to create a retail destinationHow to create a retail destination

“The designers and merchants really started it” explained Karen Bachman Thull, when asked about how the Bachman’s Idea House—a historic family home fitted out by the retailer and open to the public to explore— first came into being more than five years ago. “We wanted more space to display our design ideas and unique products; and the house was right there…it’s made a significant difference in our business.”

Bachman’s, is a retail, floral and gift empire with 6 stores and a floral delivery business located in Minnesota. The Idea House, originally home to one of the sons of the Bachman’s founder, sits next to the Bachman’s flagship store in historic downtown Minneapolis. Three times a year the Bachman’s designers let their imagination run wild and revamp the home, from rugs to napkin rings, and then the public is invited to tour the home, and of course, visit the Bachman’s store next door.

“The house was vacant,” explains Karen, “and now it’s a 12 room experience! Our shoppers bring family and friends to see the house and it has become a special and unique destination, beyond just shopping.” In fact, the home has become a lifestyle experience; you might even call it a dream Pinterest board brought to life. Shoppers are inspired by new product and simple design ideas, like found shutters used as sunglasses holders, which they can replicate in their own home.

“Our designers seek to rearrange everyday items in unexpected places, we show shoppers that they don’t need a huge budget to be stylish,” finished Karen.

More than 100,000 visitors
The Idea House has been open for more than five years now and has seen steady traffic during that time. With three turns a year, Spring, Fall and Holiday, and 5,000-7,000 visitors each turn, the public has proven it’s love for this design inspiration. So much so, that Bachman’s sells tickets to enter the home and shares proceeds with a different local charity each season.

More About Bachman’s
Started in 1885, by Henry Bachman, Sr., Bachman’s had its roots, literally, in vegetables until 1914 when one of Henry’s sons, Albert Bachman, made the far-reaching decision to grow flowers in one of the greenhouses.  Now, Bachman’s has 6 retail Floral, Gift, and Garden Centers in Twin Cities, Minnesota, as well as landscaping divisions, a nursery wholesale division, seven acres of greenhouses, and a 670-acre growing range. Bachman’s fleet of iconic purple floral trucks delivers over 5,000 packages during an average week and over 24,000 during Valentine’s week.

Is your store a destination for your shoppers? Or, do you offer a broader experience beyond shopping? Wed love to hear how you make your store special or impact the surrounding community, in the comments below. 

Melrose International is an industry leader in wholesale home décor, giftware, and seasonal items. Providing outstanding products, service, design, and value since 1985!

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