The Floral Beginnings of Albrecht's Delafield Market
Written by Cynthia McGowan at Super Floral
When the owners of Albrecht’s Delafield Market in Delafield, Wis., decided to remodel the store in 2014, they made sure to spotlight and upgrade the perishable departments, including floral. They moved the floral department to a high-profile area, updated the fixtures and added two highly experienced designers.
The resulting department has become a destination area for the gourmet, family-owned market, which is in an upscale suburb of Milwaukee, shares co-owner Kerry Jeanpierre. “It helps drive traffic into the store,” she expresses. “It really sets us apart from regular grocers.”
The upgrade also has helped drive floral sales. Kerry reports that the department has seen a nearly 20 percent jump in sales since the renovation, which was completed in November 2014.
In fact, the entire store has seen growth since the remodel, with other departments also reporting double-digit growth, Kerry shares. The redesign impressed not only customers but also Progresssive Grocer, which named the store one of the winners of its “2015 Store Design Contest.” The trade publication wrote that the owners “took an already great store and made it even better and more relevant.”
Albrecht’s did so by expanding specialty departments, including the fresh kitchen, cheese, bakery, seafood and more, as well as updating fixtures and décor, adding more signature items and rerouting store traffic patterns. The result is a more interactive, customer-friendly experience. “We reduced work space in some areas, opened up the store and added services,” Kerry elaborates. “We’re much more focused on our perishable departments.”
A New Look for Floral
That focus on perishables includes the 840-square-foot floral department, which was moved from the store’s perimeter to a bustling area between liquor and the frozen section. “It’s open and inviting and is even more upscale to reflect the community that we’re in,” Kerry describes.
The focal point of the department is its 10-foot-by-10-foot walk-in cooler. The glass case isn’t new, but by placing it in the center rather than against a wall, shoppers have a 360-degree view of the enticing flowers. Customers can’t resist the urge to check out the cooler, Kerry expresses, adding, “It pretty much screams at you as you walk by.”
To add merchandising flexibility, wooden crates replaced some of the previous floral fixtures. The crates, in several sizes and shapes, allow for quick and easy merchandising updates, Kerry explains, with the look changing at least once a month.
The store owners also added a work counter with a sink, giving the designers greater visibility and more contact with shoppers. “They’re literally creating and building displays and arrangements right in front of the customers,” Kerry shares.
The most important part of the floral upgrade, Kerry comments, was the addition of two experienced, AIFD-certified floral designers. The store wanted designers who could satisfy the needs of Albrecht’s clientele, who are high income and do a lot of entertaining in their homes. Floral Manager Diana Dreger, AIFD, and Designer Phillip Meyer, AIFD, filled that need thanks to their creative design aesthetic “that is right in line with what our customers are looking for,” Kerry remarks.
Offering full-service florals helps Albrecht’s meet its goal of simplifying entertaining by offering one-stop shopping for food, beverages and flowers. “Customers are getting a quality product that is done for them,” she explains. “It’s really easy for them to entertain when they come here.”
Diana and Phillip make it even easier by offering home décor services. They visit the client’s home, take photos, see the owner’s colors and offer recommendations for how they can beautify the space.
In addition, the floral department, which also includes two part-time designers, provides custom designs, events, weddings, sympathy and delivery. It is staffed from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day, ensuring customer convenience. Shoppers often stop in to ask for custom designs to be made while they visit the rest of the store, and “as long as we have all the colors and products, we’ll put it together,” Kerry says.
The wedding and event business is growing, Kerry describes, and the store helps gets the word out by offering floral discounts if couples book certain venues. “We try to drive business to each other,” Kerry explains.
Publicizing the Department
The store also publicizes its florals through social media, advertising and special promotions. Albrecht’s frequently features a flower special on its weekly flier, which reaches 32,000 homes. The store also places banner ads on the local newspaper’s website.
Another successful method of communication is by text message. Kerry often texts customers to let them know about special offers or when a shipment of fresh flowers has arrived. To receive the special offer, customers show the messages to cashiers.
Customer response to the new department has been extremely positive. “They realize we are a floral business that happens to be located in a grocery store,” Kerry describes. “Where we are doesn’t limit any of our services or what we can do for customers.”
She credits Diana and Phillip for the positive response. “What they’ve done in the department, with the look of it, customization of designs and suggestive selling, has catapulted sales,” she expresses. “I give them all the credit for the growth.”
The decision to expand floral made good business sense by offering another way for the independent grocer to stand out from its chain competitors, she remarks. “We’ve given customers another reason to come into the store,” she confirms. “We feel this sets us apart, and that’s been proven to us in the past year. I think it’s going to continue to grow as Diana and Phillip develop relationships with more and more customers.”