Retailer Feature: Baker’s Village
One visual merchandising manager shares store reset tips—including shutting it down for 3 weeks a year!“Baker’s is a little different.” Says Chuck Johnson the Visual Merchandising Manager at Baker’s Village, a garden center that’s been in Powell, Ohio for over 35 years. “We are always changing. Always moving.”
These changes have led the Garden Center to grow into a destination that features not just garden items, but home decor and even a fashion shop. “Our store is divided into 3 sections and we make the most of those areas by housing fashion and jewelry items in one area, garden and floral in a breezeway that connects to the third section which features more upscale home decor items” Chuck explains.Of course, when it comes to Christmas all bets are off. For more than 20 years now Baker’s Village has been transitioning the store into a Holiday Wonderland. All regular merchandise is sold out, or moved out, and each section of the store is solely devoted to Christmas.
The fashion area has seasonal holiday items with an emphasis on hats, gloves and scarves. Chuck says the scarves, specifically, have been a real windfall and can be marked up so they still turn a profit even when on sale. “People will buy a scarf, even when they don’t need one, there is always room for another scarf in a woman’s closet” he explained.
After the fashion area is set the garden area gets a makeover to become a fun and cutesy Christmas oasis featuring moderately priced ornaments and other holiday items. Finally, the home decor area has it’s turn, becoming a high-end holiday home destination. All this takes some time as the areas are themed and walls are painted to create a sense of place for each section.
All this extravagance makes for an amazing holiday shop. But the real difference is what happens AFTER Christmas. That’s the after Christmas sale. “Nothing goes on sale until after Christmas and then the entire store is 50% off. Anything with a price tag is on sale” Chuck explained.
He added that “People start lining up hours before the store opens for the first day of the sale.” The Baker’s Village Holiday sale is a community tradition, as is the annual store closing that happens once the sale is over.
“We close the store for about 3 weeks each year, from late January through early February, to give us time to clear out and reset the store,” Chuck explains. All the holiday merchandise must be moved out, walls must be repainted, and the spring items brought in, tagged and placed. “We found it better to open with the store looking amazing instead of while the store is in transition to spring.”
Once this major reset has been made, the store will have a mini-reset after Easter to bring in garden related items. Then in July, Baker’s Village holds a summer clearance sale to make way for fall items. Which brings us around to mid-October when the store starts the transition to Christmas, one section at a time.
So what do all these store closings and transitions boil up to? Chuck explains perfectly when he says, “We always try to have things ready for the people. When they want it—we sell it. That’s our goal.” And with 35 years under their belt, Baker’s Village has surely met their goal, time and again.