Staycation wins it for Bradford on Avon hardware store

By Anita Jaynes on October 14, 2016

J Alex Brown Hardware has been crowned winner of the inaugural Bradford-on-Avon Best Dressed Window competition.  Amidst tough competition from 20 independent shops and bars, this family run hardware store stole the judges’ marks for creativity, innovation and shopper engagement.

Helen Davies from Pink Flamingo Shopper, organiser of the event and one of four expert retail judges said, “The judges were impressed by the creativity in this window display. It really told a story and very clearly informed shoppers what the store had on sale.  They took complete ownership of their retail space and used materials which were not only cost effective but also drew on the heritage of their family business.”

The winning windows told a story of the topical “Staycation” theme, all built around products sold in the shop.  An ageing family deckchair commenced the story with a matching windbreak acting as a window backdrop, created from material stored in the shop cellar for many years.  Since merchandising the windows the store has seen an impressive increase in sales across all products, particularly those showcased in the window.

Judges were so impressed with the passion that the independent retailers demonstrated, and their understanding of shopper marketing and visual merchandising, that they also named four Highly Commended Awards.  These went to:

Aroundabout, selling pre-owned women’s fashion.  The judges were delighted with how the window display elevated the product value perception. Simple iconic summer items enhanced the display. There was a sense of humour injected and a fabulous beach hut backdrop gave great visual standout.

Carina Baverstock Couture for their Alice in Wonderland tea party theme. The judges commended the use of die cut window vinyls and the clever inclusion of 3-D “Eat Me” cake which aligned superbly with the bespoke designer wedding dresses on offer.

Orton Jewellery implemented an innovative beach display with quality 3-D ice cream cones as the hero. This display challenged the expectation of a jewellery shop and judges were excited about how the props enhanced the bespoke jewellery displays.

The Bunch of Grapes café, bar and bistro turned everyday beach items into a bright and enticing window display, spraying sunglasses, beachwear, buckets and spades in one matching colour.  Items were hung for movement and layered for depth. This was a simple but very effective visual cue.

With government backed initiatives to regenerate the UK High Street, this competition served to amplify all that is great about independent retailing.  Helen Davies said, “This competition was organised to aid local independent retailers in merchandising their windows.  By setting specific judging criteria we hoped to enhance the existing skills of retailers and build even better shopper displays on the High Street in the future.”

Participating retailers have seen a real buzz from local residents and tourists visiting the town.  Shopper engagement and footfall has increased and sales of merchandised products have noticeably risen.

This competition is yet another demonstration of the dedication of retailers and retail and shopper consultants to regenerate the High Street and celebrate independent creativity.

Pictured above: The award winning J Alex Brown Hardware shop window