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Talking Shop with... Mark Chenoweth

Mark Chenoweth, president of Carlson-AirFlo Merchandising Systems, says LED lighting is becoming more prevalent in retail environments.



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Talk about Carlson AirFlo.

Mark Chenoweth: Carlson AirFlo is a U.S. manufacturer of top-quality merchandising products including merchandising racks, case shelving, mobile carts, acrylic bins, fences and dividers, all designed to enhance merchandising profiles. We help customers succeed through collaboration, innovation, and commitment in sharing our global knowledge and experience.

Carlson AirFlo has been known as an industry leader and innovator of merchandising equipment for the past 45 years. Our main goal is to provide retail merchandising solutions for our customers: to increase their sales, to reduce their shrink, or to create a compelling display that attracts customers. We have engineered more than 35,000 different parts over our history, creating customized solutions for retailers. Every retailer wants to have a unique look and they all have different challenges. The possibilities are endless.

What is AirFlo’s experience in shelf management systems?

We have been manufacturing and selling self-facers for more than 25 years. Yet, in a conversation I had with a retail team a few years back, they asked how they could illuminate the salad section. I had no answer at the time but this question challenged us to solve this problem. When we developed an LED lighting solution for our self-facer, the results were dramatic. During our first store installation, when the lights came on, the retail merchandising teams were amazed at how dramatic the changes were. In a dark setting, consumers cannot identify the brand. The light made the section impactful and made shoppers more apt to buy the product, which results in more sales and less shrink for the retailer. 

What solution or improvements does this product provide?

Carlson AirFlo has made design improvements to our self-facing product line by adding more functionality and options, compared to past designs and competitors. As LED lighting becomes more prevalent in retail environments, AirFlo has developed an LED lit rear hanging self-facer. This LED lighting system ensures consistently bright merchandising, attracting customers and elevating brand awareness.

At what point during brainstorming/development did the team realize it was on to something?

This goes back to how this product started—from our customers asking the question “how do we light or illuminate the salad section?” AirFlo took that idea and designed a solution that answered this need with our new ELITE Self Facer. The resulting affect spotlights each individual package directly below each self-facer. It makes products look as good as possible by presenting them, quite literally, in the best light. It also provides retailers with a beautiful presentation for the rising trend of pre-cut vegetables. Not only are we seeing clamshells in the prepackaged salad section but clamshell style packaging is now a growing trend in the cut vegetable section as well. 

How was this idea executed? 

AirFlo created the ELITE Self Facer in collaboration with our customers and our innovation team. Our goal was to create a product that fulfilled customers’ needs while overcoming any objections a customer might have to a specific design. We also wanted to ensure the LED integration into the refrigerated case was effortless. Installations are very simple and done at store level using store personnel. We also wanted to provide more options to customers, to be more flexible in our offering, giving retailers the ability to customize the facer around their merchandising needs.

How does this help the retail community?

For retailers, the ELITE Self Facing shelf management system is designed and manufactured with higher visibility than any other self-facer on the market. We offer the only adjustable self-facing merchandising tray with its own LED plug-and-play lighting system available today. The self-facers optimize display space, while illuminating products, help attract more customers, increase the size of customers’ shopping baskets and reduce labor costs.    

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