See How This Retail Star Shops the Atlanta Market for Outdoor Decor
Outdoor furniture and decoration are marketed on the terrace of the Oakland Home.
Sandy Warner is heading to the Atlanta and Vegas markets this month with a long garden décor shopping list in hand.
The veteran retail buyer, who is director of The Oakland Baby Home Store in Dublin, Ohio, knows what its customers want in their outdoor living spaces – sectional outdoor furniture they can lounge and relax in, outdoor rugs to anchor their seating area, tons of pillows and all types of outdoor lighting – lanterns, solar panels, lights, but especially string lights – that help define a seating area and make it feel festive.
Then there are the garden-specific decorative elements that add a whimsical touch and a dose of personality – birdbaths, statues, fire pits and chimneys, wind chimes and rain chains, and lots and lots of pottery.
Warner focuses on products that will make a yard “shine”, as she put it. Oakland nursery, one of Accents for the home today‘s 2022 Retail Stars, is a family-owned business that has been in business for 82 years and has four locations in central Ohio, including a full-fledged nursery spanning over three acres. Warner joined the company 40 years ago, at a time when nurseries were trying to be more “user-friendly”, she said. She helped open the Dublin Garden Store in 2005, and eight years later, when the neighboring audio store closed, opened the 10,000 square foot Home Store. The two stores are connected by an outdoor patio that showcases the wide range of home furnishings the retailer offers.
At the Garden Store, “we’re packing everything and constantly getting new stuff,” Warner said. It offers food items, spa-like gifts like lotions and soaps, fashion items, and jewelry in addition to garden accents. Meanwhile, the Home Store has grown as customers become more familiar with the range of home furnishings it offers from vendors such as classic house, Classic Furniture, by Moe, 40 west and others. “It really is a furniture store,” Warner said.
The Las Vegas Market will serve as inspiration for furniture and home accents for The Home Store, while Atlanta Market will handle outdoor needs. Warner attends the Atlanta market in January, March and July and plans to spend eight to nine days there this month (the Atlanta market kicks off July 12 and runs through the 18.) This year, she’ll be looking for fountains – customers have recently been drawn to smaller ones that produce a more melodic bubbling sound rather than a lot of splashing, Warner said, speculating it may be easier to place a smaller fountain and quieter near the seats.
She will also be looking for more birdbaths of all possible constructions and styles from suppliers such as International Campania, Massarelli, Henry Stonecasters and Burley clay, and statuary from manufacturers such as Unique Stone and Campania International. “People just love that little bunny, that cat, or that frog,” she said. “They look like they’re hot.” Garden Age Supply is another supplier that Warner gravitates towards for their stone and driftwood garden sculptures and stakes. “They’re gorgeous, one of my favorites for lawn art,” she said.
Fireplaces and fireplaces golden oldies are also on his list. The company also offers large vintage cooking vessels from India that are perfect for fireplaces, according to Warner. They stand between three and six feet tall and are placed on racks, and Warner said she showcases them well into the winter.
Warner will also be on the lookout for all kinds and sizes of flower pots. “People love pottery. They just keep buying it,” she said. Planters for growing herbs and small vegetables are also popular with her customers, she said. “We cannot keep seeds in stock. They are always absent.
The Gardens is a unique shopping district in Building 2 of AmericasMart that is dedicated to all things outdoor living from more than 70 vendors, with additional resources at Atlanta Market’s Outdoor Living temporary exhibits. Sales in this segment also reflect these trends.
“Container gardening and indoor pots are all the rage — even macrame plant hangers have made a comeback,” said Scott Eckman, executive vice president of International Market Centers and chief revenue officer. “Outdoor decoration is also a key category for The Gardens. Shoppers can shop fire pits, outdoor hammocks and pillows, wall art and more with casual furniture sets.
AmericasMart is watching the outdoor living category closely with the goal of being the new home of the casual furniture industry, Eckman said. Five new outdoor living product floors will open next year alongside the existing eight interior design floors.