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Spring 2009 SRR’s 12th Annual Visual Victories Award Winners

Categories and Judges

Specialty Retail Report is pleased to present the winners of this year’s Visual Victories Awards, sponsored by Glimcher Realty Trust, a premier US REIT based in Ohio, and Ivanhoe Cambridge, a preeminent developer and management firm with headquarters in Montreal, Canada.

Both companies are global leaders in the specialty retail industry, with properties worldwide operated with the firm belief that excellence in visual merchandising leads to more sales. We couldn’t agree more, which is why we launched SRR’s annual Visual Victories contest 12 years ago. We wanted to recognize the innovative visual merchandisers, retailers and specialty leasing pros who work hard day after day to create carts, kiosks and inlines that stand out, draw shoppers closer and help salespeople sell.

The Visual Victories Awards celebrate the best-of-the-best in seven categories:

  • Best Cart Display
  • Best Kiosk Display
  • Best Store Design
  • Best Promotional Display
  • Best Store Signage
  • Best Use of a Prop
  • Most Improved Retail Display

We would like to thank our panel of judges. This year 14 industry professionals shown here, representing a mix of industry expertise and perspectives, gave us their votes and insider insights, which you’ll find on the following pages.

David Ahn
General Manager
Konad USA Distribution, Inc.

Joni Compton
Advertising Coordinator
Nashville Wraps

Golan Hadashi
Dead Sea America

Elly Holmes
Manager, Specialty Leasing, Partnerships
Guildford Town Centre & Richmond Centre

Vicki Leiknes
VP, Regional Specialty Leasing Manager
Jones Lang LaSalle

Robert Meirovich
VP, Leasing
Seacret Spa

Kristin Middleton
Assistant VP, National Specialty Leasing

Denise Monahan
Specialty LeasingManager
Jersey Gardens Mall

David Oren
Company Director
BellaPierre Cosmetics

Jon Scheerz
Sales & Marketing Manager
TOL, Inc.

Shannon Shinn
Vice President Local Leasing
Simon Property Group

Suzanne Stenerson
Specialty Leasing Manager
Northtown Mall

Mark Voydanoff, CMD
Regional Manager, Specialty Retail
CBL & Associates Management, Inc.

Patricia Zafferese
Director of Specialty Leasing
Vornado Realty Trust

Sponsored by:

Best Cart Display

First Place: Organix

Retailer: Gilad Azulay
Location: Jersey Gardens, Elizabeth, NJ
Center owner/manager: Glimcher Realty Trust
Entry submitted by: Denise Monahan, Glimcherv
Visual merchandiser: Kat Contreras, Kat & Company

Natural greens and neutrals blend beautifully to create a lively yet calm color palette that anchors this display for a line of all-natural personal care products. Several of our judges applauded the use of props big and small to carry the all-natural theme throughout the display, from the raffia mats and simple white bowls to the unfinished wood risers and birdhouses that draw the shoppers eye up to take in the full display. They also noted that potentially dead space is filled with greenery which symbolizes renewal in nature-the same elements the product embodies.

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Second Place: Dale & Thomas Popcorn

Retailer: Rudy Brown
Location: Galleria Fort Lauderdale, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Center owner/manager: Kravco-Simon
Entry submitted by: Kathy Renick, Kravco-Simon
Visual merchandiser: Donna Stone and Phyllis Levine, Dynamic Presentations, Inc.

“From the use of the truck as a cart to the eye-catching colors to the signage and logos on the wheels, this Dale & Thomas Popcorn cart is a well-planned and carefully thought-out unit,” said Patricia Zafferese of Vornado. David Ahn of Konad USA agreed, adding, “Children and adults will both notice this display in the middle of a busy shopping mall.” Suzanne Stenerson of Northtown Mall pointed out that the red truck on the sign matches the cart design and applauded the visual merchandisers for “the way they turned that retail merchandising unit into a red farming truck straight from the corn fields. So creative!”

Third Place: My Pillow Pets

Retailer: Cheryl Guinn
Location: Park Meadows, Lone Tree, CO
Center owner/manager: General Growth Properties
Entry submitted by: Denae Goelitz, GGP
Visual merchandiser: Janine Arnold, Interior Motives

More than one judge on our panel commented on how the visual merchandiser on this My Pillow Pets cart used common items to give the display a colorful, product-appropriate central focal point that sets the stage for the sale of animal wildlife-in plush form. Risers and a lively monkey give the display height, while brightly colored green and red buckets keep products neat. The sheer cuteness of these loveable critters, our judges declared, is bound to attract big attention from kids and adults.

Best Kiosk Display

First Place: iRobot

Retailer: iRobot Corporation
Location: Burlington Mall, Burlington, MA
Center owner/manager: Simon Property Group
Entry submitted by: Michelle Johnson, Simon Property Group
Visual merchandiser: Michael Geljookian, Sacks Exhibits

“This kiosk is perfectly suited to demonstrate the iRobot space-age floor-cleaning products,” said Denise Monahan of Jersey Gardens Mall. “Clearly iRobot is an experience not just a kiosk.” Patricia Zafferese added that the presentation “not only draws your eye to the product, but makes full use of the kiosk for demonstration and contact information while featuring the different uses of the products. Note how the literature holders mimic the top of the iRobot Roomba product line.”

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Second Place: Lait a la Bouche

Retailer: La Federation des Producteurs de Lait du Quebec, Maison de l’UPA
Location: Centre Rockland, Ville Mont-Royal, Québec, Canada
Center owner/manager: Ivanhoe Cambridge
Entry submitted by: Charlene King and Claudine Lavoie, Ivanhoe Cambridge
Visual merchandiser: n/a

The Federation of Milk Producers of Quebec wanted to give milk an updated image with this modern all-white kiosk. The verdict of our judges? Mission accomplished! “The Lait a la Bouche kiosk looks trendy, like something you would see in a Vegas club,” said Vickie Leiknes of Jones Lang LaSalle. Susanne Stenerson loved the round shape and the way the Federation “incorporated white fixtures, clear glass and logos on each side, making it look very clean, polished and professional.”

Third Place: BellaPierre Cosmetics

Location: Topanga Plaza, Canoga Park, CA
Center owner/manager: Westfield America
Entry submitted by: David Oren, BellaPierre
Visual merchandiser: BellaPierre

Kristin Middleton of Macerich commended BellaPierre for this kiosk’s “clean, crisp look, like a department store cosmetics counter.” She noted that “two pedestal supports for the canopy give a feather-light feel to the kiosk and are unobtrusive to the inline stores on either side. The same is true for the transparent acrylic sign band with white lettering. [The kiosk] fits perfectly in a mall’s common area and does not look too cumbersome or blocking.” The kiosk got the vote of Joni Compton of Nashville Wraps because of its “professional look” and design that made it “easy for salespeople to work with customers in different areas.”

Best Store Design

First Place: Captain Henry’s

Retailer: Henry Miller
Location: Lloyd Center, Portland, OR
Center owner/manager: Glimcher Realty Trust
Entry submitted by: Vicki Morton, Glimcher
Visual merchandiser: Henry Miller, TW Productions LLC

Describing this pirate store as “an exciting, theatrical visual extravaganza,” Denise Monahan predicted that “kids will flock to this themed concept store.” Declaring Captain Henry’s “the most-creative store display in this category,” David Ahn commended the retailer/visual merchandiser on this project with an effective use of props that double as product-storage areas. Attention to detail was evident in the store’s color choices, wall d√©cor, floor displays and props, Patricia Zafferese said. The look gives Captain Henry’s a powerful and cohesive visual identity that “transports you to an imaginary place,” she added. “From the moment you approach and then enter the store, you are totally immersed in the nautical/pirate theme.”

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Second Place: El Caballo Ballo Western Wear

Retailer: Herminio Aguilar
Location: Gwinnett Place, Duluth, GA
Center owner/manager: Simon Property Group
Entry submitted by: Laura Gray, Simon
Visual merchandiser: n/a

Our judges loved the way these displays had an authentic feel and were arranged to funnel shoppers from one area of the store another with ease. Every corner of the store is accented by props that add to the western wear theme, from the candle chandeliers overhead to the floor-level wagon-wheel bench, cowhide seats and cowhide rug that together create a relaxed try-on area for boot customers. “Creative, organized displays” make this store a winner, said Joni Compton.

Third Place: Pablosky

Retailer: Jesus Martin
Location: Iper Montebello, Spain
Center owner/manager: n/a
Entry submitted by: Ar. Keith Gibson, Grottini Retail Environments
Visual merchandiser: n/a

All elements in the Pablosky store serve a functional and visual purpose, starting with the BMX bike pedal shoe mounts, which instantly put the merchandise in a visual “real life” context. Wall fixtures are anchored by fasteners resembling shoestring rivets, bordered by opaque Plexiglas panels backlit in one of the retailer’s signature brand colors. Whimsical, kid-friendly touches throughout the store include a series of “super-ball tubes” on the walls, with every buyer given a token to receive a Pablosky super-ball as a fun way to close out the sale and keep the advertising going post-sale. Vicki Leiknes summed up this winning store as “eye catching and unique.”

Best Promotional Display

First Place: Cash for Gold

Retailer: Gold Rush PA, LLC
Location: Franklin Mills, Philadelphia, PA
Center owner/manager: The Mills, A Simon Company
Entry submitted by: Nancy Goldman, Simon
Visual merchandiser: Lynne Desmond, A La Cart Design

Joni Compton of Nashville Wraps said this retailer “understood exactly what they were promoting,” and that the clarity of mission resulted in an eye-catching display shoppers could grasp visually in a split second. Susanne Stenerson at Northtown Mall commended the visual merchandiser for “how the themed west was tied into the name of the business and the services that they offer.” She also noted the unmanned cart was a “great way to promote a satellite location for Internet sales.”

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Second Place: New Mexico Department of Tourism

Retailer: Craig Swagerty
Location: Mall of America, Bloomington, MN
Center owner/manager: MOAC Mall Holdings, LLC
Entry submitted by: Lisa Taylor, Mall of America
Visual merchandiser: Cathy Beaudette, Mall of America Visual Dept.

As the specialty leasing manager submitting this winning entry put it: “Fun, colorful props bring height and color to the display and add warmth to the informational product displayed.” David Ahn put his vote this way: “Wow!” An abundance of colors “draw your attention right into the display.” Several judges including Golan Hadashi of Dea Sea America commented on the use of “authentic props” to establish a credible identity for a cart without salespeople to connect with the customer. Patricia Zaferese applauded the “great use of patterns, colors and textures” to create a bright and cheery focal point that adds life to the display. She also noted that transparent racks holding the department’s marketing materials kept the cart organized and uncluttered.

Third Place: Center for Medical Weight Loss

Retailer: Gagandeep Randhawa, MD
Location: Twelve Oaks Mall, Novi, MI
Center owner/manager: Taubman Centers
Entry submitted by: Christine Manley
Visual merchandiser: Michael Onyskin, Nouveau Design Studio

A green and brown color scheme gives this display a natural feel that reinforces the healthy method advocated by the Center for Medical Weight Loss, noted Kristin Middleton. “The repeated wood mannequins and tape measures add the weight-loss ‘hint’ to each vignette” in the unit’s display cases. She added that “great professional signage” and ample product literature made this display stand out.

Best Store Signage

First Place: BearTown

Retailer: David Buck
Location: Lynden Park Mall, Brantford, Ontario, Canada
Center owner/manager: Ivanhoe Cambridgev
Entry submitted by: Margaret Allison
Visual merchandiser: n/a

It’s a sunny day in a colorful world with a smiling-bear mascot at BearTown. Our judges felt this sign “says it all.” Denise Monahan commented, “I loved the color and 3-D concept of this sign.” Patricia Zafferese noted that the store’s tagline, Where friendships are made, “welcomes small-town customers to create their own cuddly friend” in a space built just for kids.

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Second Place: Gizzy Lu

Retailer: Brad and Carolyn Leezer
Location: White Oaks Mall, Springfield, IL
Center owner/manager: Simon Property Group
Entry submitted by: Casey Ellis, Simon
Visual merchandiser: n/a

“Brad and Carolyn’s storefront sign not only ‘pops’ because of the backlit, 3-D lettering, but also because it incorporates the theme of the products they sell,” said the local leasing representative submitting this winning entry. Our judges couldn’t have agreed more. “Just by looking at the store signage I can tell you what I expect this store to sell [since] the use of the bone and paw is a universal language even for the tourist shoppers,” said David Ahn. Several judges also noticed the paw print repeated in the bullets, complementing a whimsical yet very readable tagline.

Third Place: Milo & Lily

Retailer: Mark and Tammy Hidde
Location: Rogue Valley Mall, Medford, OR
Center owner/manager: General Growth Properties
Entry submitted by: Charlene Nelson, GGP
Visual merchandiser: n/a

This retailer proves that a minimum amount of color can still make a maximum impact. Judges noted that this neon backlit sign makes a big impact with little effort, virtually reaching out to grab the shopper’s attention with only a splash of white under the nameplate and a neon blue accent. Simple yet effective. A deconstructed, black typeface tells shoppers the store is young and hip, completing this lively look for Milo & Lily.

Best Use of a Prop

First Place: NBC Experience Presents the Dunder Mifflin Store

Retailer: NBC Universal Retail
Location: The Mall at Steamtown, Scranton, PA
Center owner/manager: Prizm Asset Management
Entry submitted by: Amy Wheeler Zellers, Prizm
Visual merchandiser: Gennady Zaritsky, NBC Universal

For many judges, NBC’s nearly life-sized Dwight Schrute cardboard cutout looked like a big version of the Dwight bobblehead from the NBC hit, “The Office,” which is exactly what NBC intended. “Who doesn’t love Dwight Schrute?” asked Suzanne Stenerson rhetorically. “That guy would catch a customer’s attention 500 feet away!” Patricia Zafferese added that “as eccentric as this character’s personality is on ‘The Office,’” the larger-than-life Dwight prop is even more so. David Ahn voted for this winning prop with just four words: “Definitely a crowd stopper.”

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Second Place: Captain Henry’s

Retailer: Henry Miller
Location: Lloyd Center, Portland, OR
Center owner/manager: Glimcher Realty Trust
Entry submitted by: Vicki Morton, Glimcher
Visual merchandiser: Henry Miller, TW Productions LLC

“The detail and workmanship on this store’s props were outstanding,” declared Denise Monahan, adding that customers in the store must feel like they’re “kids again at Disney on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride-wow!” Several judges commented on the creativity and top-notch execution it took to create eye-catching displays that “make you want to look into each display to see what you can find,” commented Joni Compton. What more could a retailer ask for than shoppers motivated to discover every delightful item they can find in your store? That’s any retailer’s holy grail-made possible at Captain Henry’s through the sheer power of outstanding visual merchandising.

Third Place: Car Baby

Retailer: Yehonaton Perez
Location: Mall of America, Bloomington, MN
Center owner/manager: MOAC Mall Holdings LLC
Entry submitted by: Lisa Taylor, Mall of America
Visual merchandiser: Cathy Beaudette, Mall of America Visual Dept.

Visual merchandisers have a saying, “Show, don’t tell.” The most powerful displays instantaneously show shoppers how the product fits into their everyday lives. The strategy is applied with impact in this Car Baby cart featuring a car dashboard as an eye-catching focal point that brings the car itself into the mall (or at least parts of it). The display shows shoppers how easily they can receive hands-free cell calls through a car radio. Demonstration is a breeze.

Most Improved Retail Display

First Place: Shades of Glory

Retailer: Erhon Deniz, D&G Groups, Inc.
Location: CoolSprings Galleria, Franklin, TN
Center owner/manager: CBL & Associates Management, Inc.
Entry submitted by: Mary Anne Monast, CBL
Visual merchandiser: Kathi Johnson, Visuals by Kathi

The visual merchandiser on this striking makeover started with a display that virtually blended in with its surroundings and turned it into a splashy and fun attention-getter. As Mark Voydanoff pointed out, the colorful surfboard props are “awesome!” which hits just the right note for this retailer’s best customers. A matching mirror and growing greenery complete the new look that says, “Grab your shades and get outdoors!”

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Second Place: Choo Choo Station

Retailer: Robert Morales
Location: Grapevine Mills, Grapevine, TX
Center owner/manager: Simon Property Group Mainstreet Division
Entry submitted by: Belinda Crawford, Simon
Visual merchandiser: Daryan Display Team, Daryan Display

Several judges commented on how Choo Choo Station’s storefront went from weak to welcoming with this expert makeover. “This was quite a transformation!” said Suzanne Stenerson. “I like the way they incorporated height inside with the jungle gym and opened the windows with fun train graphics.” Shoppers shouldn’t “be able to look into a space and see straight to the back wall. You need that added height inside.” Denise Monahan said Choo Choo Station’s new “bright painted murals and clean lines” won her vote.

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Third Place: New Mexico Department of Tourism

Retailer: Craig Swagerty
Location: Mall of America, Bloomington, MN
Center owner/manager: MOAC Mall Holdings LLC
Entry submitted by: Lisa Taylor, Mall of America
Visual merchandiser: Cathy Beaudette, Mall of America Visual Dept.

Talk about a total transformation! This location went from “What cart?” to “Hey, New Mexico looks like a fun place to visit!” by adding a big splash of color and a few strategically placed props that give this display a compelling promotional identity. Several judges noted that the props used were not only very budget-friendly for the Department of Tourism, but also help position New Mexico as a budget-friendly state for tourists-a key marketing message the department wanted to convey to Mall of America’s millions of annual visitors. Kudos!

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