Fall 2008
GIFT SHOP Magazine’s 2008 Ultimate Makeover By Poornima Apte

It was the letter that sealed the case.

When GIFT SHOP announced an open call for entries for its 2008 Ultimate Makeover Contest, all the entries we received were equally compelling. But one letter, written by Kountry Nook’s staff member, Scarlet Coers, made the case even more eloquently. Coers argued that her storeowner Mary Haynes had been through a trying year and that winning the makeover would be a richly deserved “surprise of a lifetime.”

And a surprise it sure was! When Mary Haynes learned that her good friend Scarlet had, in secret, applied for the contest and that her store had won the makeover, she cried. Kountry Nook in Pekin, IL, is a store that was established in 1999. It works on the co-op model in that many local artists rent booths in the store to display their products. While the store enjoys good traffic Haynes said it was looking very tired and desperately needed some new ideas and looks.

Paul Thompson, the vice president of creative and visual merchandising for OneCoast, and Marc Dudley, the visual merchandising manager for OneCoast’s national gift division, executed the store makeover over two days. They received a lot of help from the staff and from various co-op artists. In addition to his responsibilities at OneCoast, Thompson is also an adjunct instructor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City in the Home Products Department. GIFT SHOP thanks OneCoast for sponsoring the makeover contest. Jeremy Hirsch, vice president of marketing for the company, said the contest was a great example of how good merchandising can help sell product.

Please visit the Ultimate GIFT SHOP Makeover website for full details, including before, after and transition pictures, the letter and a complete breakdown of expenses.

Go to GIFTSHOPMakeover.com now.


Poornima Apte

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

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