DataWorks, Inc. Delivers Merchandising Revamp for Ringling Museum Store

  • DataWorks, Inc.
  • 05.11.11
DataWorks, Inc., developers of Next® inventory management software, recently completed a museum store merchandising revamp project for the world-famous John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, located in Sarasota, Florida.

Besides being home to world-class art and historic treasures, the museum operates a prestigious museum store. Located at the John M. McKay Visitors Pavilion is a gift shop that offers unique gifts, décor pieces and a variety of books, postcards and apparel. The shop is open daily to the public and museum admission is not required to shop.

In 1911, John Ringling and his wife Mable purchased 20 acres of waterfront property in Sarasota. Today, that investment welcomes visitors from around the globe with fine art, a historic mansion, two circus museums and a jewel of a theater. A Florida law assigned responsibility for The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art to Florida State University (FSU) in 2000.

To enhance the museum’s store revenues, FSU enlisted the professional consulting team of DataWorks to help the store be more conducive for shopping. Because of their decades of retail operations and merchandising experience, the DataWorks team was chosen to create a plan to revitalize the overall merchandising of the store.

“We had three goals driving our decisions when we made changes to the store,” said Matthew Kellas, director of implementation and training for DataWorks. “We wanted to make the store more ‘shopable’ and give it a lighter feel – allowing customers to easily see most of the store from any point. We also wanted to group merchandise by story, so to speak, making a stronger visual impact. And, of course, we wanted to put a focus on items related to the museum…feature stories that reflected current exhibits.”

The DataWorks team addressed the entire operation of the store from décor to management. Since merchandising is the methods, practices, and operations used to promote and sustain sales activity, all areas of the store’s operations were examined.  The overall goal of effective merchandising is to purchase and display products in such a way that it stimulates interest and entices customers to actually make a purchase.

“I found the DataWorks team to be extremely professional in their association with the Ringling Museum. After several good meetings they had a plan for us, and within three days they transformed our Museum Store completely. They totally re-merchandised our store and turned it from a hodge-podge of items into a well-laid-out and easy-to-shop place of business.  We hope they will make periodic visits and help us to continue the good work they accomplished for us,” said Marshall Rousseau, interim director of the Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida. 

Mark Cecil, CEO and president of DataWorks is a graduate of Florida State University and wanted to contribute his company’s expertise to make the museum store more profitable, ultimately helping the University to be more successful in its operations at Ringling.

“I was pleased to be offered this wonderful opportunity. The combination of the participation, input and willingness of the Ringling Museum Store staff along with the expertise of the DataWorks’ team has already reflected great changes in the store’s performance. We look forward to continuing this partnership as we further consult and advise on buying, retrofit and operations,” said Chuck Ginsberg, chief pperating officer for DataWorks.

Chuck Ginsberg and Matthew Kellas led the DataWorks team for the Ringling Museum store revitalization project. Both have strong backgrounds in the retail industry. Ginsberg has held management positions for Disney, The Limited and Macy's, where he facilitated new store openings and designed, developed and implemented numerous store retro-fits. Prior to joining DataWorks in 2001, Ginsberg was the director of operations for a world-renowned west coast aquarium, which hosted over 1.5 million visitors per year. There, he directed visitor services, sales, profits, inventory, merchandising and maintenance for stores and support facilities in multiple locations.

Prior to joining DataWorks in 1999, Matthew Kellas was the director of merchandising for the Shedd Aquarium, where he was responsible for the entire retail department including operations and buying. He has an extensive work history in the retail and museum sector. His career has included the Chicago- based ‘trend’ gifts stores, Arcadia, which Claire's Boutiques acquired.  While at Arcadia, Kellas managed the highest-volume store in the 1000+ Claire's chain.

“DataWorks has been serving and focusing within the hospitality, leisure and resort markets for the past 15 years. However, DataWorks began as a retail management system for small to mid-size retailers in the mid ‘80s.  We have a vast knowledge of in-store merchandising and most of our senior management team came from a merchandising background,” said Mark Cecil, president and CEO of DataWorks. “We will be offering more of these types of consulting services to our clients and will even be available for buying trips to assist in product choices. We feel we have the best inventory software solution and the best team of merchandising consultants, giving our clients a great value and advantage.”

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