DISPLAY CONSTRUCTION ANALYZED AT RBA EVENT

PHILADELPHIA -- Product displays in the bakery need a theme and specific ground rules if they're going to grab the maximum amount of attention.Fortunately, display themes don't need to be limited to holidays, according to Stacy Bjork, a visual presentations manager for Dayton-Hudson department stores, Maple Grove, Minn., and a display expert. She spoke in a seminar at the convention here of the Laurel,

PHILADELPHIA -- Product displays in the bakery need a theme and specific ground rules if they're going to grab the maximum amount of attention.

Fortunately, display themes don't need to be limited to holidays, according to Stacy Bjork, a visual presentations manager for Dayton-Hudson department stores, Maple Grove, Minn., and a display expert. She spoke in a seminar at the convention here of the Laurel, Md.-based Retailer's Bakery Association.

"I know it's a challenge to come up with a theme when we're not near a major holiday. But a theme -- it can be generic -- is still the key to a successful display," Bjork said.

During the seminar, she built a display on a tabletop using the theme "Tools of the Trade," explaining what she was doing as she did it.

Bjork built a display using fresh products arranged on the table with a wide array of props, including measuring cups, rolling pins and other tools used in hand-baking; little glass jars of ingredients appropriately labeled, and crates. She said the focal point, or attention-grabber, of any display should be at the left, and should be the highest point in the display. In the one she constructed on the spot, a grouping of manual baking tools created the focal point.

Bjork offered a checklist of do's and don'ts to help retail associates create a display quickly. The list included: Find the focal point, limit the number of competing elements, keep to one dominant motif, select props that have a connection to the product, do not let props take over the display, use colors appropriate to the season and stand back and see if the display sells.

She also urged retailers to use lighting and signs to help tell the display's story.

"Lighting should be directed at the focal point, but it should also illuminate the products. And make signs that tell what the products are, what their price is. They can also tell customers something about the products -- for instance, that they're made fresh in the store. Think of signs as silent salesmen," Bjork said.