Steamboat Springs Windows are more than just somewhere to look.
They also are valuable tools for businesses seeking to highlight merchandise and draw potential customers inside, said Terri Brady, regional visual merchandiser for Patagonia sportswear. Brady led a window-dressing workshop Thursday for dozens of local businesspeople, in an event sponsored by Main Street Steamboat Springs.
Strolling along Lincoln Avenue in downtown Steamboat, Brady assessed which downtown displays were great marketing tools and which still needed help to draw customer interest as businesses prepare for the upcoming holiday shopping season.
Attendees got a crash course in merchandising theory and concepts such as texture and color, said Tracy Barnett, Main Street's executive director.
In designing commercial window displays, Brady emphasized strategies such as grouping similar products, focusing merchandise at eye level and considering the effects of different types of lighting.
She praised F.M. Light and Sons' front for its cohesive western theme and for how frequently the display is refreshed.
"All the materials used really speak to that whole rustic theme that's being brought up," Brady said.
The window displays at Moose Mountain Trading Co. also garnered high marks from Brady, who praised their integration of holiday decor and storytelling.
Owner Jennifer Wilson said her store's window displays aim to be appealing and interesting, but also to have a sense of humor.
"We put a lot of energy into the windows," Wilson said. "We really do try to tell a story with all the merchandise."
Wilson said the workshop was especially helpful for her newer employees, who have less experience in merchandising and were just "tickled to have the opportunity to learn."