Party Every Day

Party Every Day

It’s no surprise to note that a majority of sales in the party industry center around the holidays — Valentine’s Day, Mardi Gras, Halloween, etc. — but there are many days in between the “red letter” events when someone is celebrating something. In other words, every day is a party for someone somewhere.

The key for retailers is to find ways to keep sales steady year round and turn every day into a profitable occasion. At the 7,900-square-foot Glow Parties Superstore in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, they have developed several different divisions within the company to become a one-stop party shop and give sales that healthy, well, glow.

Divide and Conquer
Glow Parties opened in 1996, and over time six different divisions have been developed within the company — event planning, amusements and games, special effects and fireworks, entertainers and specialty services, event decor and the Costume and Party Superstore — and all work hand-in-hand.

“Unlike most party stores, we have combined several elements of a party and pulled them into one,” said Dave O’Connor, president of Glow Parties. “Clients are looking for the added personal touch and expertise, and we have trained our staff to be experts in certain party related areas.”

For example, they have two certified balloon artists on staff, as well as four fireworks technicians, and creative designers and event planning teams help to provide the client with the look and feel of the party they imagined.

“This makes us the strongest company in the business and a worthwhile choice for every customer,” O’Connor said. “We began by showcasing party items like pinatas, costumes and loot bag items. From there we developed the Balloon Depot area of the store, specializing in balloon bouquets, arches and eventually whole structures made out of balloons.”

Their costumes have advanced significantly as well, and they now carry more than 1,000 different costumes to rent or own. Another unique department is the fireworks section, and with more than 200 individual fireworks, fireworks technicians are on staff for full-service fireworks shows.

“Some of our advantage certainly comes from all our divisions working hand in hand, but we train our crew to use their creativity and resources to optimize all options for clients before ever saying 'no,'” O’Connor added. “If they, as customers, take the time to visit our store, we want to make sure they don’t feel they wasted their time and always leave having had a great experience.”

Corporate Canada
Customers can walk into Glow Parties every day and find what they need in an organized and accessible manner. In one corner, the Balloon Depot covers the wall, displaying types, sizes and styles of balloon options. Next to that, the fireworks section stretches across into theme packages — including costumes, decor and supplies.

“We group all similar products together,” O’Connor said. “For example, our Mardi Gras section has the invites, Scene Setters, many kinds of beads and all the other related items you would think of. There are also balloon displays, costumes and mascots to help tie it all together.”

Then Glow may have a table close by with a complete Mardi Gras set-up — plates, cups, napkins, centerpieces — to really showcase the product and give clients the whole picture, bringing the theme to life.

“We try to optimize our displays of these items by setting up a scene using all the possible products available,” O’Connor said. “It is important to make the items visible and easily accessible to customers, so front tables and displays by the cash registers are also helpful.”

Every day in the store itself, the first three aisles are birthday, with sections for each big age from 16 to 100 and all the decor, napkins, plates, hats and novelties. Move along and you’ll find wedding and anniversary, professional parade float materials and lighting, general costumes and accessories, products for the ’20s, ’50s, ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, wigs and hats, then pirate and occupation costumes. On the back wall they have luau, Mardi Gras, masks, Hollywood, casino, Western/fiesta and carnival.

“What sells our store year round is our corporate events from our other divisions, and we do a lot of corporate events through the year that are themed,” O’Connor said. “We have four event planners that are constantly dealing with corporate clients that require store supplies and/or special orders.

“However, every year we pick a theme and present it to our corporate and in store clients,” he continued. “For example, three years ago we put together a pirate camp consisting of a total pirate package. Last year it was Mardi Gras and tropical, and this year it’s casino and disco.”

The various theme packages are always changing and expanding, offering both every day shoppers and corporate clients a variety of new products and ideas. After all, party needs don’t take a holiday and neither should your sales.

Originally posted Tuesday, May. 4, 2010