February 7, 2000
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    Biz quips

    To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.


    Sometimes, it only takes a dummy

    By Jane Turnis/The Gazette

    A couple of Colorado Springs florists won't stand for being wallflowers.

    Their ever-changing streetside displays are getting more eye-catching with each flower-buying holiday.

    Tim Fyock, co-owner of Forget-Me-Not Florists, 1826 E. Platte Ave., realized a year or so ago that he needed to stand out on his busy street.

    "People were passing by so quickly, they weren't looking at our shop," Fyock said.

    That's when Bruce the dummy hit the street.

    Bruce is a kind of scary-looking mannequin who is quite the dresser (the clothes detract from his unfortunate teeth, which have no gums).

    "We tried to make him look like Tom Cruise, but it didn't work out that way," Fyock said.

    Bruce's garb changes for each flower-buying holiday. Right now he's at his most flamboyant, wearing a pink jacket and pants, a hat, carrying his trademark bouquets in both hands, and, for Valentine's Day, a Cupid-esque pair of angel's wings and an archer's bow.

    All that, and he rotates a full 360 degrees, too.

    A few miles away at Flower Stop, 3550 N. Union Blvd., two topiary forms - a horse and an elephant - become more and more colorful during the winter months.

    In the summertime, they're covered with creeping baby's breath; last summer, the horse even had a blooming mane of lobelia.

    But in the dead of winter, they looked rather drab. So three years ago, owners Chuck and Jan Haley started dressing them up.

    The first Christmas, the horse wore an understated coat of red poinsettias.

    Then it started getting wild. When the Broncos were in the Superbowl, the horse was draped in blue with an orange pom-pon-fringe mane. At Halloween, its rider was the Headless Horseman. At Christmastime it "pulled" a full-size sleigh. Now, his rider is Cupid.

    The poor elephant has been morphed into totally different things - an Easter bunny, a turkey, a candy cane, and now, a bee (he stands next to a giant chocolate kiss that says "MINE," get it?)

    So, does this three-dimensional marketing work?


    "About 50 people have stopped to take pictures with Cupid," said manager Jan Fiffer. "People say they've never stopped before, but they always see the horse and elephant, and they want to come in and see what creative things go on in here.

    "People call us all the time and say, 'Are you the store with the horse and elephant?'" she said.

    Fyock said drivers honk at Bruce, and a few people have come into the store because they thought the mannequin was fun.

    "We're hoping we'll get more walk-in traffic," Fyock said. "It hasn't done much yet, but we're hoping it'll get us noticed."

    And if it isn't enough that Bruce will be wearing an Easter bunny head soon, Fyock has bigger plans.

    "Eventually, I plan to get his arms moving and have him talk," said Fyock, who works in electronics. "I plan to have a motion or proximity detector in him, so he can say something like, 'Buy at Forget-Me-Not Florists.'"

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