Hardware Retailing

OCT 2018

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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HARDWARE RETAILING | October 2018 76 A New Era in Backyard Design User trends and how homeowners utilize their backyards play just as much a role in the outdoor lighting category as product choices. For Kathy Chamblee, department manager at Warner Robins Building Supply Co. in Warner Robins, Georgia, the way homeowners use their outdoor space plays a major factor in how they are lighting it. "There are a lot of social influences on lighting, and that comes into play in how we're using outdoor spaces," Chamblee says. "Entertaining is not about 'what' so much as 'why.' A gathering of friends and family can happen in minutes, and consumers want products that are accessible but also multifunctional. You might have a bulb out, so now consumers want long-lasting LEDs. The uplight showcasing the fire pit is too bright, so now we have a dimmer installed." In her position as head of the company's in-house design center, Chamblee has seen the expansion of the outdoor living category and how lighting is integral to it. The increase in educational materials that illustrate how to make the most of an outdoor living space, from social media to home improvement TV programs, has fueled designers and their customers to think bigger and bolder about how a home can look and feel. Lighting isn't only being used to make outdoor entertainment possible after nightfall—it's also being added to accent home exteriors. Accent lights—both strong uplights for dramatic effect and softer options like gas lamps—can vary the curb appeal of homes. Girard sees consumers looking for different designs and product selections to accomplish multiple tasks. From lights intended for safety to fixtures that are purely cosmetic, he has focused on keeping his professional building customers stocked with what his customers want. "The options in lighting have gotten really diverse. Landscaping projects alone offer so many products that you have to keep up with the trends of product design and the tasks consumers want accomplished by their lights," Girard says. "It could be solar lamps to light a pathway or post lighting along a retaining wall in a front yard. Customers want to see how these products work together." That combination can draw on a variety of lighting products and options, he says. Homeowners are concerned with how lighting can affect curb appeal as well as safety, with different products offering different solutions. Outdoor lighting covers a broad spectrum of product options, ranging from simple ground lights with solar panels to mark a path to ornate chandeliers illuminating grand outdoor living spaces. " It could be solar lamps to light a pathway or post lighting along a retaining wall in a front yard. Customers want to see how these products work together. " —Joe Girard, Girard's Ace Hardware, Lighting and Furniture

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