Fall 2012
Now Pumping: Cash! By Poornima Apte

Frill, the new and exciting gift shop in Cedarburg, Wisconsin, traces its roots back to an old Texaco gas station. Here’s the story –in pictures – about how this popular gift shop gunned its motors and is now on the road to success.

Jumpstart Change

Frill, a new gift shop, recently opened its doors in Cedarburg, Wisconsin. Frill is located on Washington Avenue, a main street listed on the National Register of Historic Places with over 100 buildings considered historically significant. Frill gift shop makes its home in a 1600-sq.ft renovated art deco storefront dating back to the 1940s, when it served as a Texaco gas station. The 1940’s-era architectural design is in contrast to the turn-of-century buildings in the historic downtown district.

Driving Force

Husband-wife team Lynn and Bruce Knutson are the driving force behind the new Frill gift shop in Cedarburg, Wisconsin. They decided to launch a gift shop after Lynn’s position with Harley Davidson was eliminated. Lynn, who is the owner/general manager of Frill, brings more than 30 years of experience in merchandising, retail branding, store planning, and fixture direction and sourcing. She manages merchandising and store planning, hiring, training and managing of sales staff, implementing and maintaining in-store product visual presentation, workshop development, compiling and monitoring daily financials. Bruce, the Creative Director, is a senior advertising and marketing leader with over 30 years’ experience generating results, enhancing brand credibility and increasing market penetration. Among many other things, Bruce is responsible for managing all aspects of marketing and advertising for Frill.

Flooring the Details

Among the many alterations done to the building was the installation of a new HVAC system, a new roof, new electrical system, new lighting and new windows. Building ADA-compliant bathrooms and a small office were also on the list. The most dramatic of them all was the new floor. Bruce Knutson says meeting the schedule and budget for the renovation was the most challenging part of it all. He advises fellow retailers who are planning similar renovations to be realistic with the time line and add 30% to the proposed budget.

Story Boards

Merchandising one single open floor can be a challenge. However, Frill overcomes this by creating rooms and “realms” within the space by “utilizing store fixtures/tables and placing them in interesting positions, then placing area rugs under the presentation to ground the vignette. “We use light fabric panels suspended from the ceiling to create boundaries while still allowing for full view of the store,” Bruce says. “We create stunning displays within each presentation to tell a story about the products and artist if applicable. We finish with utilizing spotlights / accent lighting to draw attention to the display and complete the experience.”

Cruise Control

Connecting with the customer is a key focus for Frill. Among the many brands the store stocks include Northern Lights candles, tag, Midwest CBK, Split P, Two’s Company and Ellington leather handbags, just to name a few. “Through personalized service, gift registry, personalized gift wrap, trunk shows and workshops, and preferred customer recognition programs, Frill will provide a level of personalization not commonly found in today’s hectic, mass market,” Bruce Knutson says. “It is our desire that customers look to us as their valued resources to achieve that unique personalized look and feel for their entire gift giving needs.”

Mouse over images below to view.

Poornima Apte

Poornima Apte is a Boston-area freelance writer and editor specializing in retail and the book publishing industry. Learn more at wordcumulus.wordpress.com.




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