There is an increasing demand for retail wood displays Made in the USA, and that trend is likely to continue. Here’s why:
(1) Supply availability– The U.S., with 228 billion trees, has a natural resource advantage in timber relative to lower labor cost countries like China with 140 billion trees. Readily available raw materials and a broad selection of more than 1000 species in the U.S. contribute to the increasing demand.
(2) Greater focus on environmental impact– Sustainability is top of mind for brands and retailers, which has given rise to increased popularity of displays made of renewable resources like wood. In addition, continent-to-continent sourcing, whereby companies source from the same continent in which the goods will be consumed, is gaining momentum. The net result is that U.S. companies that may have sourced a metal display in Asia are increasingly more likely to purchase a custom retail product display that is Made in the USA if the display is destined for the U.S. market. Wood is a natural material choice for these buyers. Furthermore, growing concerns about deforestation in countries like Brazil and China are causing environmentally-aware buyers to favor raw materials sourced in the U.S. and Canada, both of which have reputations for responsible forest stewardship.
(3) Rising Geopolitical Tensions– With 642 billion trees, Russia has more than twice as many trees than any country in the world, but ever since its invasion of Ukraine, many U.S. companies refuse to purchase Russian products like Baltic birch which has historically been a popular choice for retail wood displays. Tensions with China have also increased recently which has driven demand for domestically manufactured displays as brands and retailers seek to mitigate sourcing risk.
(4) Reshoring and Nearshoring Movement– The trend toward bringing more manufacturing back to the USA or to other closer locations like Mexico began several years ago and gained serious momentum in 2018 after the Trump administration instituted 25% tariffs on retail displays, thereby fundamentally changing import economics. Strategies to shorten supply chains and preferences for local production will continue to increase the demand for retail wood displays while bolstering the Made in the USA movement.
(5) Wood’s Exceptional Versatility, Utility, Durability, and Design Choice– As a material choice, wood offers tremendous versatility, utility, and durability, as well as offering an incredibly wide range of design choices. Solid wood, engineered wood products, and wood composite products like MDF all have a wide range of structural and aesthetic applications. Melamine, high-pressure laminates, natural wood finishes and a multitude of stain options offer designers a remarkable selection of choices in creating unique and eye-catching retail wood displays.
Let’s look at a few examples of how we are using wood to create cost-effective, high-impact custom retail product displays – all Made in the USA in our in-house millwork production facility.
● Moda Concrete Tradeshow Booth– We fabricated this 10’ x 20’ tradeshow booth for Moda Concrete to use outdoors at the 2023 National Hardware Show in Las Vegas. We use walnut-stained 4” x 4” solid wood beams for the structure, solid pine slats for the rear wall, pine plywood for the fireplace riser, back panel shelves and the shelf structure on the right side of the booth. We added a solid surface top to the shelf structure and used PVC for the sign with 3D laser-cut letters.
● Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Self-Serve Coffee Kiosk– The larger of two self-serve coffee kiosks we made for Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, this 6-ft. wide kiosk features plywood construction with direct-printed graphics, a solid-surface counter top with hardwood trim, a built-in refrigerator, inside cabinet storage, LED lighting, a plumbing hook-up, an aluminum top rail system, and a 3D logo.
● Chattam & Wells Bedding Products Display– We designed and manufactured this floor display to showcase Chattam & Wells line of premium pillow and luxury bedding products. We used MDF with a dark wood melamine finish and added direct printed graphics, LED lighting, an offset header, and metal hang bars.
● Teak Tea Floor Merchandiser– This 2-sided, 4-shelf mobile merchandiser features whitewashed birch plywood, slide-in side PVC graphics, shelf graphics, and header sign. The colorful brand-building graphics pop against the whitewashed wood.
● Blu3 Floor Display– We designed this floor display to merchandise Blu3’s Nemo dive system. We used a combination of prefinished birch plywood and MDF with a white melamine finish. We mounted the product on the slanted display platform and tethered it for security. We embedded a digital media player with a motion detector that activated a continuous looping video to tell the Nemo story- the world’s smallest dive system. We added a lower faceout bar to hang the product and direct printed all the graphics.
● Local Beach Umbrella Cart– Umbrellas are typically merchandised in the closed position due to space considerations, but we wanted to break the rules and show the Local Beach umbrella in the fully opened position. We designed a cart that would carry stock of the umbrellas. We used MDF with a white melamine finish and simple direct-printed graphics. The simple, clean look with the umbrella displayed in its full glory did the job of grabbing shopper attention.
● In the Flow Counter Display– We chose carbonized bamboo plywood with a clear coat finish to create this countertop glorifier for In the Flow’s boutique cannabis line. We cut recessed areas for the displayed products and added laser-engraved graphics to create an all-natural, eco-friendly countertop merchandiser.
● Dragon Eyewear Podium Display– Wood pairs well with glass, and that is exactly what we used to created this secure eyewear podium glorifier for Dragon Eyewear. We built the podium stand out of MDF with a white melamine finish and added direct-printed graphics, oak wood trim for contrast, and a glass showcase topper.
● Annie Sloan Floor Display– We designed this combination shelf and bin display for boutique paint stores who carry Annie Sloan’s line of paint and accessories. The display features MDF construction with a black melamine finish, shelf graphics, and a direct-printed header sign.
● Heineken Case Topper– We used MDF construction for this case topper and added a bonded metal outside layer to create a premium look. We direct printed on the bonded metal, added 3D star lug-ons on both sides, and designed an open frame for a 2-sided drop-in PVC graphic.
These are just a few examples of how solid wood, plywood, and wood composite products can be used to create attractive and cost-effective retail displays or wood store fixtures that are made in the USA.
Jim Hollen is the owner and President of RICH LTD. (www.richltd.com), a 35+ year-old California-based point-of-purchase display, retail store fixture, and merchandising solutions firm which has been named among the Top 50 U.S. POP display companies for 9 consecutive years. A former management consultant with McKinsey & Co. and graduate of Stanford Business School, Jim Hollen has served more than 3000 brands and retailers over more than 20 years and has authored nearly 500 blogs and e-Books on a wide range of topics related to POP displays, store fixtures, and retail merchandising.
Jim has been to China more than 50 times and has worked directly with more than 30 factories in Asia across a broad range of material categories, including metal, wood, acrylic, injection molded and vacuum formed plastic, corrugated, glass, LED lighting, digital media player, and more. Jim Hollen also oversees RICH LTD.’s domestic manufacturing operation and has experience manufacturing, sourcing, and importing from numerous Asian countries as well as Vietnam and Mexico.
His experience working with brands and retailers spans more than 25 industries such as food and beverage, apparel, consumer electronics, cosmetics/beauty, sporting goods, automotive, pet, gifts and souvenirs, toys, wine and spirits, home improvement, jewelry, eyewear, footwear, consumer products, mass market retail, specialty retail, convenience stores, and numerous other product/retailer categories.