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July 2009

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New Decade, New Way to Party

When referring to New Years’ past it was easy to say that we were entering the ’80s or the ’90s, but it got a little sticky when we hit 2000 (the naughts, Double Zero, ’00 ...). Looking ahead to the upcoming New Year’s celebration means looking ahead to” new decade” celebrations — the ’10s. But New Year’s can be tricky, in that although it’s a widely celebrated event, there is a comparably short selling season for “only” the New Year’s holiday. Because of this, retailers can take advantage of the “new decade” hype and start the selling period earlier than they might have in the past. A quick and easy way to get consumers thinking in the party mindset earlier is by creating end-cap displays. They don’t take up much time or space, but yet still draw attention to the product at every turn. “Endcaps lead up…  » Read more

Party in Pink

It’s unfortunate, but you would be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t been touched in some way by breast cancer — through a mother, sister, daughter, neighbor, friend — and each year more individuals and organizations have become involved in this quest for a cure. Enter the Pink Ribbon campaign and the emergence of “pink parties.” While October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and therefore the most popular time for these parties, many retailers are finding out that these parties are popping up all over the country throughout the year. Last year, stationer chewing the cud connected with Byrd + Bleeker, an event-planning company based in New York and Fort Worth, Texas. Owners of both companies had been touched by the stories of cancer survivors and wanted to find a way to help in the fundraising efforts to promote the advancement of breast…  » Read more

Party Station

A stay-at-home mom walks into a party store around two weeks before Christmas in need of some candy cups. At the end of the visit, she finds out that not only are the cups for sale, but so is the store. She buys them both, and two weeks later she’s a business owner. Not only does it sound like the beginning of a bad joke, it sounds a little far-fetched. But that’s exactly how Cindy Schneider of Party Station in Tifton, Ga., came into the business of selling party fun and accompanying accessories. She opened the doors to a 1,000-square-foot store on Jan. 2, 2000, and by the end of the second year had outgrown that space and moved into a 2,000-square-foot facility. In 2005, Schneider landed in her current 5,000-square-foot location with expanded inventory covering every different colored wall in the store. “Before I bought…  » Read more

The Store Room with Abby Heugel

Question: How do you reward positive employee behavior and keep your staff motivated? Amy Graver Elements New Haven, Conn. I reward my employees by openly complimenting them for a job well done. I learned early on the old adage, “Privately criticize, openly compliment” and stuck to it. Depending on how good the deed, flowers may be sent, a monetary bonus may be given or I will give them a day off. The reward is matched with the effort, but I always let the team know when a teammate has exceeded expectations. The best way to motivate is by writing a thoughtful and inspiring business plan. The main parts of the business plan — the mission and vision statements — can bring your team back together and rowing in the same direction. When everyone is involved in what the goals are and can see your strong leadership, it’s amazing to…  » Read more