Summer 2013
GIFT SHOP and ONE COAST Makeover Contest By Poornima Apte

Donna Simmons from Duck Duck Goose in Dacula, GA, was the lucky winner of the makeover contest. Check out the dramatic results!

GIFT SHOP magazine and OneCoast brought back the popular makeover contest this year. We received close to 100 entries each one distinctive in its own way, so narrowing down the contestants to just one winner was a challenging process.
The gift shop Duck Duck Goose in Dacula, GA, has been in business for 27 years. “It has gotten so hard to compete with the big box stores that I believe a professional stylist and makeover help would be just the ticket to higher sales,” wrote owner Donna Simmons in her entry. Simmons says she has had to relocate and reinvent her business and inventory to keep up with changing customer demographics. She has moved from collectibles to home décor to mixing these up with accessories and gifts.

Simmons was thrilled and excited to hear she was the winner. The store’s annual Mother’s Day event was a few weeks off and so the makeover was planned so as to be done in time for the event’s kick-off.


To do a store makeover for little cost using found items, recycled goods, coat of paint, and creative ingenuity.
Do a section/area of store within the timeline and budget and offer suggestions for future.

Three days of in-store work with two additional days of prep and follow up.

Executed By
Marc Dudley, Director of Visual Merchandising, OneCoast


Duck Duck Goose has tall 24’ ceilings. Unfortunately, because of the ceiling height, props or merchandise could not be hung above more than 10’ high, which causes for much air space. The challenge was to bring the eye down in order to focus on the merchandise being sold.

To work within the parameters of the amount of merchandise in the store.



The makeover concentrated on the children’s corner. There was no focus, or direction, and the merchandise was not organized by group or category.


Doors were painted with crackle paint for an older, weathered look. We used elbow brackets and screws and attached them together to make a visual display for hanging clothes, as shown in the photo below. Doors cost between $ 15 to $20 each and crackle paint, $30.


At the local ReStore, a retail outlet by Habitat for Humanity, we found old doors. Special thanks to Charlene Rogers, Manager of the Lawrenceville, Ga. Habitat for Humanity ReStore location for her help.


Colorful chairs were screwed on the walls to create an eye-catching display and play up the wall height. These served as a nice resting place for the colorful butterflies sold.


Tables and a free-standing floor fixture from Mud Pie are now used to display clothes and other merchandise. This makes product more accessible to shoppers.


The simplest, easiest, and most cost-effective way to make a difference in an area or on a wall is to use paint. The bright green coat of paint draws attention the colorful merchandise.



Large vinyl dots repeated from store logo continues branding. They bring the eye down to the product area and draw customers to the corner.

Targets in Children’s Area

  • Ceiling
  • New fixtures
  • Sorting and grouping merchandise
  • Branding

A New Look

  • Dots and chairs on ceilings improve branding and presentation
  • Weathered doors make for new fixtures
  • New book nook in children’s area creates warmth and function
  • Vinyl dots continue store branding

Makeover Expenses

Paint and supplies… $200
Doors from ReStore Retail… $65
Vinyl Adhesive Dots… $40
Chairs/props… $250
Total… $555

Three Cabinets… n/c (only delivery charge)
Fixture from Mud Pie… supplied N/C by Vendor Mud Pie
Outside labor… 1 person, 4 days by Marc Dudley, Lot of help from staff and David Simmons, husband of Donna Simmons, owner.



Simmons was delighted with the process and the end results. While it was a bit of a challenge to stay open while the makeover was in process, the results were amazing and totally worth it, Simmons says. “The area feels more spacious and open. The layout is easier to shop and showcases our products much better.”

“I sincerely want to thank Gift Shop Magazine & OneCoast for the makeover,” Simmons said, “The experience was incredible and I am so grateful for all that were involved.”

Poornima Apte

Poornima Apte is an award-winning experienced freelance writer and editor. Learn more at

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