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Home Field Advantage

January 13, 2016 | 0 Comments

I’ve written about Liza Cannon, an incredibly talented and visionary visual merchandiser who works for Outdoor Gear Exchange, in Burlington, Vermont.

I interviewed her last fall after meeting her and becoming a huge fan of her highly elevated artsy, homespun window creations for OGE’s downtown Burlington Church Street, which is a pedestrian shopping area that includes other merchants such as Lululemon, LL Bean, Fjallraven, The Gap, Eddie Bauer and Urban Outfitters to name just a few. (insert a link to the newsletter here?)  For those of you who missed the story, here is a link.

On the occasions that I head up to Burlington I try and squeeze in a stop to OGE so I can marvel at her latest creations.  As I wrote in my interview piece with her last year, Cannon collaborates with the web department and buyers on what to feature in the windows.  She then sketches them out and goes to work – which is when the magic happens – and applies her art background into displays that are at the same time quirky, smart and spot on.

Currently the windows feature displays that speak directly to Burlington culture and Vermont culture as a state. 

One window features a beautiful painstakingly created cutout of iconic images that represent landmarks in Burlington such as the church at the end of Church Street.  It’s all at once familiar and a charming hometown touch.  You instantly feel the connection of this homegrown business and the city that has helped it flourish.

A larger installation features a giant ice cream cone – locally called Creemee’s.  Vermonters love their creemee’s in the summer months.  It’s an iconic local favorite.  (Just see if you can have just one of Darn Tough’s maple creemee’s topped with bacon bits later this month at their booth at SIA…they are sinfully delicious!)

Scattered around the “cone” are small paper maiche figures depicting some of northern Vermonters favorite activities like fat biking, skiing and ice climbing – all imagined with great detail.


The importance of shopping local can’t be emphasized enough in relation to these window displays.  OGE has amassed an enormous following and for good reason.

When you shop local and promote yourself as local you cement a deep connection of local knowledge and loyalty.  Connecting with a customer in a way that a big box store could never do.

You support the local economy, local jobs and community.   


Above, Cannon’s intricate shadow box play on Burlington’s downtown Church Street.

Also, by adding an element of local weather, history, or highly touted tourist attractions, you stand out from the crowd.  It says, “Hey – I’m the local expert here – I can tell you where to find the best hiking, climbing, mountain bike trails.”  This can lead to other good things like consumer loyalty, happy customers and happy employees.

You can read online articles about enhancing shopper’s retail experience by going to and browse their cache of articles and download a variety of topics ranging from omni channel retail to consumer behavior to the latest news in retail technology.

Email me at [email protected] if you have window displays that show off your local color.  I would love to see them! 

Until then, think snow and see you soon in Denver for the 2016 SIA Snow Show!

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