Candace Moffatt makes it a priority to visit the Melrose International showroom early during her buying trips to AmericasMart Atlanta.
“They have a beautiful showroom, and they present really well at market,” says Moffatt, buyer at Al’s Garden Center with three retail stores outside of the Portland, Ore., area. When she first stops in the showroom, which tends to be bustling, especially during the January market, she catches up with the Melrose team, and they talk about their families. “I feel like they really value us and our partnership, and we’re more than just a sale.”
Melrose adds a personal touch to its relationships with its customers, and Moffatt appreciates the excellent service she receives.
“Our reps are really wonderful. I know them by first name. I can call them up, and say, ‘Can you look this up for me for a reorder? Can you look into this claim?’ And it’s done right away,” she says. “The partnership makes it pretty easy to invest [in Melrose] because I know if there is anything wrong, it will be taken care of and replaced, no questions asked, and it’s done instantly.”
The quality of Melrose’s décor sets the company apart from others. Since Moffatt started buying for Al’s nearly three years ago, she’s increased her order each year with Melrose, and the company is one of her top three vendors. Moffatt notices how customers respond to Melrose products.
“People will pick up certain things, and they’ll say, ‘It’s so beautiful,’” she says. “The second thing they’ll do is they look at the price. We have [a variety] of price points, and nine times out of 10 customers will pick the Melrose piece over one of my other vendors that’s at a lower price point because of the quality.”
Al’s sells Melrose products throughout the year, but Christmas is one of the garden center’s biggest seasons, and Moffatt estimates that she buys three times as many Melrose products for the holidays compared to other seasons. Melrose’s unique, quality products help Moffatt achieve her goal of offering décor that can’t be found anywhere else.
“The big box stores don’t sell this, and [retailers] are getting away from making it look special at Christmas and just lining everything up on shelves,” she says. “That’s what’s nice about our stores. When you walk in, you know it’s Christmas.”
Some of the most popular holiday items are Melrose’s collection of deer for mantles and their wide assortment of ornaments. Melrose’s deer also adorned Moffatt’s home this past winter. During other seasons, Moffatt has trouble keeping up with the quick turns of the realistic garden bunnies that feature a soft, mossy patina, and have become a best seller at the store.
“Especially at Christmas, you have it year after year. You want quality that’s going to last and pass [décor] down through generations,” Moffatt says. That quality keeps her customers coming back, too. “[Melrose] really cares about our business, and they want us to do well.”