The five top stores declared gia Global Honorees 2013 were: Linen Chest from Canada, Quality Living from Italy, Kookpunt from the Netherlands, Taylor Road Homewares from New Zealand and Cooks of Crocus Hill from the United States.
Quality Living also won the Martin M. Pegler Award for Excellence in Visual Merchandising.
Quality and Service, Guaranteed
Around 50 years ago, a mother of five boys from Quebec, Canada, decided she had to do something about the limited choices of product available to decorate homes. Sylvia Leibner envisioned a store offering fine quality products, great service, a broad selection, and guaranteed lowest prices.
In 1961, Sylvia’s dream became a reality when she opened Linen Chest in Quebec, and her grounding philosophies have been passed down to her sons, who have continued to expand upon their mother’s original business. Today, Linen Chest has 23 stores, with more on the horizon, and yet, the attention and care delivered by the staff of over 500 well-trained and proud employees has never changed.
The gia judges were very impressed by Linen Chest’s excellent lighting, how great the company is with cross-channel sales, including in their online presence, and their recently launched shopping app.
gia Global Honorees 2013: To learn more about Linen Chest, visit www.linenchest.com or see the Linen Chest gia blog.
One Stop Shop
It’s an original concept: take two real estate property developers and create a real estate hub alongside something enticing to get people in the door – a cool retail store selling designer homewares.
The whole idea of Quality Living, created by Paulo Zanza and Mario Fedrigoli, is to merge affordable designer products for the home with the home itself on offer to purchase, and everything else to kit it out. It’s all about living a quality life and having everything at your fingertips in the one place.
Customers can see models of apartments for sale, and walk through the apartment space to help them envision where they could live. Potential buyers can choose between two concepts: Easy Home, which has more affordable prices with apartments around 89,000 – 269,000 Euros, or Prestige Collection, where apartments are more in the range of half a million, up to four million Euros. Then it’s a matter of buying the products to outfit the home. Never has the term ‘one stop shop’ been more applicable.
The gia judges were incredibly impressed with how Quality Living’s visual merchandising really tells a story. They also loved the fact that the store is in an historic building that brings out the best in their modern presentations and products.
gia Global Honorees 2013: To learn more about Quality Living, visit www.qualitylivingverona.it or see the Quality Living gia blog.
Kookpunt brings together some of the things that people with a love of life and culture hold close to their hearts: shopping, cooking and vibrant marketplaces. And that creates a store that is outwardly a celebration of life and style.
With the number of home cooks desiring serious cooking classes and tools continuing to grow everyday, the store is also an answer to its many customers’ ongoing needs – a friendly place where people don’t feel intimidated, but instead can really get involved with the products around them and be educated by the knowledgeable staff. Well-known chefs regularly make appearances and run cooking lessons from the cooking theater, which also attracts people from all over the country.
The gia expert judges and jury all liked the fact that Kookpunt uses bright, strong colors in their store – both online and in their bricks and mortar store – to bring the vibrant, dynamic feeling of a marketplace to life.
gia Global Honorees 2013: To learn more about Kookpunt, visit www.kookpunt.nl or see the Kookpunt gia blog.
Home Sweet Home
What better start for a store than for the idea to come from something that the family who created it holds dear? That is, their home. Taylor Road was where John and Anne Heng spent much of their lives, raising their children in a beautiful house in Australia’s Blue Mountains.
So when the time came for them to start a new chapter and open a business that was borne of their combined experience, they decided that Taylor Road Homewares is what it would be – a retail store that felt like home. With designer flourishes and an extremely attentive online business to boot.
The judges loved the New Zealand entry, commenting that the couple were very good with social media, that they had a great sense of visual merchandising throughout the store, and beautiful gift wrapping to top it all off.
gia Global Honorees 2013: To learn more about Taylor Road Homewares, visit www.taylorroad.co.nz or see the Taylor Road gia blog.
Endearing and Engaging
Karl Benson and Marie Dwyer, owners of Cooks of Crocus Hill, are so accustomed to people saying ‘I love this place!’ that they have included the tagline on their choice of gift cards.
What makes Cooks of Crocus Hill so endearing is their real connection with both customers and the farmers that produce the food they sell in store. The rustic, welcoming feel that the store emanates also makes it different to the many other polished offerings that share the same niche.
The couple is an integral part of the store, as the store is their life and reflects how they live it every day. Customers can test all kitchenware products so that they are confident with their purchases, but also get to know other like-minded people via very popular cooking lessons held all-year-round.
The gia judges loved the cross-merchandising aspect of Cooks of Crocus Hill – the seamless merge between food, cooking and product. They also loved the fact that the owners really engage with their staff and encourage team bonding, including running a staff dinner twice a year to share ideas.
gia Global Honorees 2013: To learn more about Cooks of Crocus Hill, visit www.cooksofcrocushill.com or see the Cooks of Crocus Hill gia blog.