When Tony and Denise Brookhouse, along with their business partner Dirk Koopman, decided to open a new Koopman Lumber location in Sharon, Massachusetts, they had a few challenges to address. First, most of the employees at the new store didn’t live in the tightly knit small town. Tony Brookhouse needed a way to connect with the community and gain the trust of the locals.
Second, Koopman Lumber was moving into a former car dealership that had tall ceilings in some areas.
That meant there was room for tall warehouse-type fixtures. As is common in many big-box stores, the top shelves of those tall fixtures provide a good place for storing overstock.
“High fixtures offered us a great opportunity to get the warehouse up above the displays and make it easier to keep our overstock organized,” Brookhouse says. “It’s a really convenient way to restock shelves.”
The problem is that the top shelf, full of shipping boxes, can be an eyesore.
While the two challenges seemed separate, Brookhouse’s merchandising manager, Darrell Baker, had a solution to solve both.
“One of our employees is a longtime resident of the town and suggested we get some historic photos of the town and put them up in the store,” Brookhouse says. “Then Darrell said we could scan those photos and find a way to print them on pull-down shades to hide our overstock.”
Baker mounted the shades in 4-foot sections to cover the top shelf of the fixtures. They serve to hide the extra inventory on the top shelf while providing a nice decor element that showcases the town’s history.
“The blinds are stock sizes from Levolor and came straight out of our distributor’s warehouse,” Brookhouse says. “Then we scanned the photos and sent them to Vistaprint.com to print on the blinds.
“Everyone who comes into the store comments on how nice it looks,” he says. “They’re not seeing a mess on the shelf.”