It’s the Little Things

The little things can set the stage for a store’s character, identity and energy

As soon as I heard about a new outdoor living/spa store that opened near me, I headed over to see if the store’s visuals were worth writing about. Happily, Rich’s in Tigard, Oregon, didn’t disappoint. I walked around this newly opened store thinking, “It’s the little things that can make a place look and feel great!”

Rich’s is an independent chain out of Washington state, where there are six locations; the Tigard store is the first in Oregon. The store is in an old JC Penney, so it has ample showroom space and customer parking. Rich’s delivers on its tagline “For the home” by providing a wide selection of upscale outdoor furniture, Coast hot tubs and swim spas, grills, firepits, umbrellas and home accessories that can work in or outdoors. 

When I arrived, they had only been open for a couple of months and were still waiting for some fixtures to be delivered and had plans to repaint the gray walls. Even though I visited on President’s Day and there were sale signs everywhere, the store felt elegant and inviting.

Although Google Maps mistakenly sent me to the back entrance (Tip: Check directions to your store to make sure they’re correct), I was impressed by the décor. The large white LED-lit tree from The Light Garden to the side of the back door was beautiful and unexpected, which teased a shopping experience that would be more interesting than average.

This LED-lit tree in the “back” entrance of Rich’s creates an instant ambiance.

 After speaking with the store manager, Rick Campbell, I found the actual front entrance, which was elegant with a large black cantilever umbrella hovering over a smart outdoor couch, table and patio set. What brought it alive was the orange pillow. Most people buy neutral colors, and a pop of bright or warm color makes the difference between bland and noticeably chic. 

Behind the main entrance display is a 3-foot high by 6-foot-deep angled wall that houses over 30 pots of a spikey green plant. Repetitive design elements are sophisticated and helpful. Because of their similarity, there is no need to look at each one, which leaves room for the eyes and brain to move on and see the merchandise.

The entrance sets the stage for a store’s character, identity and energy. It tells customers whether they belong there or not. 

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This is the front entrance with the long, low, white wall. The bright colored umbrellas beyond the
wall lead the eye back into the store, so customers aren’t visually blocked from experiencing the
rest of the store.

Rich’s is decidedly more upscale but not off-putting to middle-of-the-road shoppers. Each furniture section is defined by an accent color, which comes from the art, pillows or accessories. The secret to a successful furniture display is less is more. The more accessories you display, the less the furniture is seen. The tables become fixtures to show off the accessories, which are great add-on sales, but selling furniture is your priority. 

Color spotting is the easiest way to make your spa showroom look attractive and appealing. One warm, bright color in shades of red, pink, orange and yellow can lead the eyes around a furniture collection. You are best off picking one or two colors and repeating them in small ways. 

For example, an orange pillow on a couch or chair, an orange vase holding yellow flowers on a table and a yellow pillow on another chair or a couch are bright tones that attract attention but won’t take away from the neutral furniture colors. If the furniture is colorful, consider picking just one color from the mix as your color “spot” to dot around the collection. 

This is a perfect example of color-spotting with yellow and red plus angling the chaise chairs, so the eye is drawn to the umbrella wall and people unconsciously move in that direction. Notice how well the perimeter flood lights are brightening up this category.

An outdoor carpet selection can be an excellent addition to your merchandise assortment. A patterned carpet is like a piece of art; it defines the space as well as adds colors, patterns and interest to the area. I recommend the carpet company Fab Habitat because of its environmentally conscious mission and space-saving shipping methods. 

In the barbecue area of Rich’s, small dots of red light drew my attention to the grills. While the real purpose of these lights is to allow customers to keep grilling even without electricity, retailers benefit as well. Much like moths, we’re attracted to light — especially in unexpected places — so it’s an easy way to draw in customers.

In the spa showroom was an extensive collection of Coast Spas. Thanks to the many windows lining the sides, natural light brightens the spas and adds to the ambiance. I am hoping that over time they add more silk trees and other natural-feeling elements to this space to soften it. 

Little things do matter and even though the build-out of this new store is still in progress, Rick Campbell and his team have made sure the accessories, lighting, decoratives and merchandise are doing their job in making the store attractive and appealing to everyone who walks into either entrance.