WINDOW DISPLAYS. As a business-bringing medium the important value of a well-dressed show window is now so generally accepted that further supporting argument is quite unnecessary, therefore a discussion of this subject can be confined entirely to those principles and methods generally recognized as most essential for successful grocery store displays.
Of first consideration is the window itself. Its construction should be such as to supply it with plenty of light during the day, and for evening use there should be installed a sufficient number of properly placed lights to provide a brilliant window, but not a glaring one. Merchants the country over, whether in small towns or in the largest cities, are rapidly learning the value of light for evening displays. It has many times been demonstrated that through more brilliant lighting the stores on a street of moderate popularity can attract to themselves a large volume of the trade held by the merchants on the town's principal shopping thoroughfare. Whether a store keeps open late or not, evening window displays are in most cases highly val uable, as they afford many busy people an opportunity of viewing things which may appeal to them as immediate necessities or for future purchase, but which they would never have seen had it not been for the evening display.
There are three big advantages in having the rear, to and sides of a window completely enclosed. Such construction keeps displayed goods from injury through dust; offers an opportunity for arranging attractive backgrounds; and enables the enclosure to be so ventilated that during the winter no frost can form to obscure the display. Such ventilation keeps the temperature on both sides of the window practi cally the same and thus prevents all condensation of moisture. It is also desirable to have the floor of a window raised about four inches, as such elevation gives added prominence to displays.
It should be borne in mind that in a window, as on the stage, the most conspicuous position is directly in the center ; therefore, in arranging goods the most important mass or object should have this prominent location. The extreme sides are best adapted for the two masses next in weight to the centerpiece, and then all minor objects may be grouped between these three bodies. Displays should be kept well
away from the window glass, as often an effect, otherwise splendid, is spoiled by thrusting it too close to the observer.
Most enclosed windows are provided with a permanent wooden background usually panelled and either finished in a natural wood effect or painted. In the matter of color it is advisable to avoid pure black or white ; the former gives to most goods a dingy appearance and the latter affords too little contrast for such merchandise as is generally displayed. Most natural wood effects are good, as are also greys and greens. When backgrounds for special displays are required, an almost unlimited variety of colors and arrangements may be effected by the use of cheese cloth. This is also the best and cheapest of all materials for covering stands, pillars and other window fix tures. Even the most costly fabric cannot take the place of this inexpensive cloth ; most goods would appear cheap if displayed on such obviously expensive materials as velvet or satin, but cheese cloth, while presenting a general attractiveness, is unobtru sive when closely approached and does not dispute for attention with the goods it helps display.
A variety of window fixtures, such as graduated shelves or stands, pillars, pedes tals, arches, etc., can be either easily made or cheaply bought. If made they should, for greater strength, be put together with screws rather than nails. Should they be purchased it is well to consider whether or not you intend using them covered or uncovered. If your window is finished in oak or mahogany it is advisable to get the more costly hardwood fixtures to harmonize with your window finish ; you may then use them covered or not, as the occasion requires. Many pleasing effects can be obtained by the use of screens and arches of cloth-covered or gilded lattice work. The stencil is also a useful and rapid method of securing attractive decorative results. Small artificial palms can often be of service as graceful wings to the window stage, in fact, they are very useful adjuncts to a supply of window fixtures.