Blooming Soon: Outdoor Living Seminar Starts Feb. 7

<strong>Patio furniture, such as this Garden View four-piece cushioned wicker chat set, has been selling exceptionally well in Outdoor Living.</strong>

For the eighth consecutive year, the Exchange’s Outdoor Living Seminar will be virtual, so associates can increase their green-thumb knowledge whether they’re outdoors or indoors.

Vendor training will be conducted on demand via a virtual platform from Feb. 7 through 11, allowing associates to view presentations during times that best fit their schedules.

“The Exchange’s Outdoor Living category is all about offering customers the products and brands they need to enjoy and enhance their outdoor environment,” said Hardlines Vice President Dan Koglin. “Having well-trained associates who are confident in their category knowledge is an important piece of the shopping experience. The buying team and our supplier partners have put together a great seminar this year that we’re certain will help arm our associates with the tools they need to assist our valued customers.”

The seminar will include more than 20 hours’ worth of material. Vendor presentations will come with slides deck that stores can print as a reference tool throughout the season.

“We want associates to get excited about everything that we have planned,” said Linda Jerome, senior buyer. “The seminar will provide them with the best tools to educate themselves about the products, so that they can share their knowledge with the customers.”

Vendors this year include Scotts Miracle-Gro, Clorox Pool & Spa, Stanley Black & Decker, Troy-Bilt and Traeger Wood Pellet Grills.

“The seminar is about sharing what’s new and exciting and all the things the buyers have done based on the current constraints, and how we’re able to pivot and still satisfy shoppers.” Jerome said.

Patio furniture, such as this Garden View four-piece cushioned wicker chat set, has been selling exceptionally well in Outdoor Living.

As more people began staying home at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many began working on improving their yards and outdoor environment. Two years later, that trend hasn’t slowed, as customers continue to enjoy their time outdoors.

“Folks are continuing to grill,” Jerome said. “Gardening is still really big.” During 2021, Outdoor Living generated $81 million in sales, with patio furniture a particularly strong seller.

“Patio furniture has done exceptionally well,” Jerome said. “We’ve partnered with Ashley Furniture, which did a huge online promotion in the fall that was gangbusters. The buyer did a great job of ordering patio furniture earlier in the season, so that it arrives in time. That’s a challenge all the buyers have: ordering earlier to overcome supply chain obstacles.”



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