Consumers today have an overabundance of goods available to them and many different ways to buy them. For a garden, gift, décor and ornamental retailer, differentiation is key.

At Johansen Farms in Bolingbrook, Ill., standing out from the crowd is made much easier with the help of products from Zaer, Ltd., a producer of a wide variety of birdhouses, lanterns and other indoor and outdoor home décor. Co-owner Carol Cremeens has bought from Zaer for more than two years, since meeting Zaer President Zaza Ergemlidze at the AmericasMart Atlanta trade show.

Cremeens says the quality of Zaer products made more of an impression than any other company she met with in Atlanta.

“[After visiting Ergemlidze’s and other showroom and] the quality wasn’t with other companies as it was with his,” Cremeens says. “I ended up going back to him and purchasing quite a bit … so I have a lot of his product in my store and a lot of his product has sold out of my store.

“It’s a really good company. They stand behind their product and they’re easy to work with,” she adds.

The attention to detail and unique design in the Zaer catalogue made a significant difference in the overall identity of Johansen Farms, Cremeens says. Stocking so many of Zaer’s products gave Cremeens’ stores a higher-end, more sophisticated atmosphere, she says.

“Truly, it’s an upper-scale product with reasonable pricing,” Cremeens says. “It just raised the standards of my store. The initial impact, when you walk in my store, is upper-scale, without an upper-scale price. I’m very happy.”

Cremeens also utilizes Zaer products as conversation pieces at her store. A large metal carriage built and sold by Zaer gives Johansen Farms extra curb appeal, enticing customers to stop, visit and shop. This stand-out quality translates to many other Zaer products, including the company’s lineup of birdhouses, Cremeens says.

“Our product is in high demand because it’s unusual,” Cremeens says. “Every piece [Ergemlidze creates] is an unusual piece, it’s not something you can buy in a box store. That’s what makes it the product it is. [Zaer birdhouses] have more of an elegant look rather than a typical wooden birdhouse.”

When combined with the rest of the inventory at Johansen Farms, Zaer products enhance and elevate, creating a profitable presentation for Cremeens’ retail operations.

“[Ergemlidze] complements our product and we complement his product, so it’s a good working relationship,” Cremeens says.