SCHNUCK UNIT FLOWERS WITH BEST MUM DISPLAY

ST. LOUIS -- Congratulations blossomed at Schnuck Markets unit #143, where floral-department manager Lisa Rowland won grand prize in a Thanksgiving chrysanthemum display contest. The results of the contest were recently announced.Sponsored by Barberton, Ohio-based Yoder Bros. Inc., the contest -- "Mums a Thanksgiving Tradition" -- was open to any supermarket. Entrants were required to create a display

ST. LOUIS -- Congratulations blossomed at Schnuck Markets unit #143, where floral-department manager Lisa Rowland won grand prize in a Thanksgiving chrysanthemum display contest. The results of the contest were recently announced.

Sponsored by Barberton, Ohio-based Yoder Bros. Inc., the contest -- "Mums a Thanksgiving Tradition" -- was open to any supermarket. Entrants were required to create a display featuring chrysanthemums, using some or all of the items found in Yoder's "Mums a Thanksgiving Tradition" point-of-purchase kit.

Rowland learned of the contest and purchased her POP kit through one of her greenhouse suppliers and said the win came as a terrific surprise.

"I didn't realize at first that I had won nationwide," she said. "I think everyone in the store knew once I realized. I was screaming so loud."

The kit consisted of a full-color logo poster, three buttons, two Yoder pot mum Consumer Care and Handling Sheets, three foil balloons, one dozen latex balloons, camera-ready clip art and a contest entry form. Cost of the kit was $10, saving contestants more than $3 compared with purchasing items individually.

Entrants photographed their display areas and sent the pictures, along with an entry form, for judging by a panel made up of Yoder associates and other members of the floral industry. Extra consideration was paid to entries that involved cross-promotion with other store departments.

Yoder resurrected its contest this past Thanksgiving after a five-year hiatus. According to Christine Kelleher, public relations representative for Yoder, "Mums are traditionally a fall flower" and the contest was brought back to bolster fading sales of the flower.

"Poinsettias have been creeping into stores earlier and earlier," she said of the bloom more associated with Christmas. "We thought this would be a good way to create some excitement for chrysanthemums."

In keeping with Yoder's theme, Schnuck's Rowland headlined her display using the poster supplied in the POP kit. Her design was built around a prop turkey with the mums and balloons arranged to represent its tail feathers. She created an identical table-setting in the meat department where the turkeys were on display.

Customers stopped by to comment that the display was "breathtaking," Rowland said. According to Ed Higgins, Yoder chrysanthemum product manager, "mum sales were up all around, according to the comments we got from the stores."

Rowland reported that mum sales for the department doubled this year and believed the display played a large part in the jump. She was awarded $1,000 for her display.