When patio pleasures Pools & Spas renovated its showroom earlier this year, it gained more than floorspace and a new look. Casual living products and on-trend decor items were also added to the product mix, as well as a build-your-own-succulent bar, an interactive attraction that will be a regular fixture in the showroom.
“It first started with my own personal passion with succulents,” says Rene Huston, president of Patio Pleasures (Sun Prairie, Wis.). Huston got into succulents after learning about them online; she ordered some for herself and has been growing them ever since.
“I’ve never considered myself super good at growing things, but I was really intrigued with succulents,” she says. “They’re such a cool thing, and there are so many varieties.”
The BYOS bar is simple: a table on wheels with assembly-line-esque stations for pots, soil and a variety of plants to choose from. While inspiration for the bar was rooted in Huston’s personal interest in succulents, it’s also her way of pushing the store into experiential retail. Today’s shoppers crave retail environments where they can do more than shop, but also enjoy a one-of-a-kind experience they can’t get elsewhere. Succulents, with their booming popularity as a hardy, yet beautiful houseplant, provided the perfect opportunity.
Succulents are also a strategic choice for Patio Pleasures because of their booming popularity among the younger generation. The millennial generation is a lucrative market for Huston as several large corporations have established themselves in the greater Madison area, and more, like global giant Foxconn, are on the way.
“We’re seeing a lot of millennials come to our area for employment, and so we definitely want to be able to cater to that demographic,” she says.
Even if younger customers are not interested in purchasing a large item right away, the fact they visited in the first place is a win for Huston.
“For us, it’s more about getting people engaged with Patio Pleasures, getting them in our showrooms,” she says. “If we can get them in our showrooms, they’ll have a connection with us.”