I joined DEMDACO as their Visual Display Manager in 2010. I am challenged with making our three massive showrooms in Atlanta, Dallas and Las Vegas enticing, beautiful, and organized. The past seven years have zipped by like a whirlwind. I’m not going to lie – for a guy with an insatiable urge to be inventive and use his design mind & spirit, it’s kind of a dream job. Our showrooms regularly win “Best of Show” & “Best of Floor” awards in the Atlanta and Dallas markets – I’m proud of our team and that accomplishment. It’s one of the key ways I get to help lift the spirits of our customers and showroom guests.
New DEMDACO product lines are shared with me twice yearly. Once that happens, my mind starts to concoct dozens of sometimes kooky, sometimes clever, and many times, simple and lovely visual display concepts. From there, I’m off to sketch set-displays and sales fixtures, and start the hunt for new or salvaged props. Salvaged props are usually the best finds! Next, I build and test display ideas. Just to double-check that what’s in my head isn’t better in theory than concept. As my budget ticks away, it’s time to get inventive and yes, maybe a little scrappy. It’s not uncommon to find my pickup parked next to a construction dumpster in Minneapolis with me bent over the side to see what treasures can be found. Some say nothing inspires creative thought like a deadline and a tight budget — that’s very true with me. I have plucked scads of old hardwood flooring from dumpsters. I’ve wandered into metal scrapyards in search of 50’s fridges, hoping to abscond with their cool, rounded doors. Landscapers have stared at me with confusion as I ask for the tree roots they’ve just pulled from the earth to use as mother-nature’s chandeliers.
The look of our showrooms has certainly evolved from my first year. Back then, many displays were pretty over-the-top! At one point in the Atlanta showroom alone we had: a green VW bus covered in magnets; a big red motorcycle for Santa’s Southern California gift deliveries; a bubble-gum pink riding lawn-mower pulling a train of lawn-flamingos; and a red, white and blue snowmobile stuck on the roof of a house buried in snow. I think that’s more motor equipment than a small-town engine repair shop!
Today, our product offerings have evolved, so our showrooms have also switched gears. Visual displays are a tad less whimsical, and a bit more lifestyle oriented, BUT…no less inventive and inspiring!
It remains my goal each year to fill our showrooms with surprises and inspiration around every corner!
Summer is officially here, so I wanted to share an idea for the garden with you. I’m calling this a garden screen, but it could just as likely be called a garden trellis or garden sculpture. The idea is inexpensive and easy to build. The materials are simple; an hour of your time, a spool of steel wire, steel plumbers pipe and some clay seedling pots.
To build my 7ft. tall by 3ft. wide framework for the screen, I used ½” steel plumbing pipe lengths and joints. Wearing leather work gloves, I assembled all of the pieces together, hand tightening them as I moved along. Once the frame was assembled, I used a of pair of pliers to tightened everything up.
My screen uses 8 lengths of pots approximately 6 1/2ft. long. I strung the seedling pots onto lengths of steel bailing wire, making sure to arrange them bottom-to-bottom & rim-to-rim to give the screen a sort of midcentury-modern pattern. Finally, I hung each string of pots to the frame by winding the wire around the horizontal pipe.
- leather work gloves
- wire cutter
- large pliers
- spool heavy gauge galvanized-steel bailing wire
- 240 clay seedling pots (packs of 50 bought online)
- ½ in. diameter or ¾ in. diameter black steel or galvanized steel pipe & connectors
- 2 – 7ft. pipes (verticals)
- 1 – 3ft pipe (horizontal)
- 4 – 18” pipe (feet to stabilize)
- 2 – right angle fittings
- 2 – tee fittings
- 4 – caps
When not traveling around the country setting our showrooms, I’m most happy spending time in my postage-stamp-sized Minneapolis backyard, planting perennials and evergreens, designing and building a new fence, or laying out a stone patio. It’s a place that lifts the spirits!