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May 2010

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The Good Ol’ Days

By Abby Heugel, Managing Editor As a society, we are inundated with e-options for everything from communication, dating and shopping to flight check-ins, video conferencing and banking. And while some of these options have made life infinitely easier, it’s hard to ignore the fact that something personal seems to have been lost along the way in cyberspace. Where I feel it the most is with correspondence, be it a hand-written thank you, an event invitation or a simple birthday card sent every year. Maybe it’s because growing up, one of the things I looked forward to most was a card that my grandpa sent me once a week — via snail mail. The cards were nothing elaborate; they didn’t play music or feature textured, sparkly material. But what they did have was my grandpa’s handwritten note, scrawled out every week above his shaky signature until…  » Read more

Laugh a Little

For NobleWorks President and Creative Director Ron Kanfi, success was in the cards — literally. Thirty years after visiting New York City as a tourist with only a return ticket, a brown canvas backpack (with an attached sleeping bag, of course), two pairs of jeans, the sneakers on his feet and $1,000 saved diligently by selling drawings on street corners, Kanfi is still doing noble work — pushing funny cards. “I was planning to buy a car and travel cross-country, but even back then $1,000 couldn’t buy you the kind of car that would get you coast-to-coast, never mind the kind I was prepared to be seen driving,” Kanfi said. “I ended up spending the first three months in New York City living with cousins on dicey E. 14th St., and I got a job washing dishes in a small cafe in the East Village…  » Read more
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…  » Read more

Party Palace

It was Lori Baker’s response to one of our Store Room questions that piqued my interest. She said that even if someone had told her owning a party store would be long hours, constantly re-arranging holiday displays — along with everyday items — dealing with the nightmare of finding and keeping caring and dedicated workers and all the issues that go along with having staff, she still would have opened Party Palace in Fairbanks, Alaska. “It was my passion, my heart’s desire and no doubt what I was meant to do,” Baker said. “There wasn’t anything you could have told me that would have made me change my mind.” And those in Fairbanks are glad she didn’t. Before opening Party Palace in June of 1998, Baker had managed a small party store for six years, with some of her favorite memories being “costumed balloon deliveries in…  » Read more

The Store Room: “How do you deal with unruly children or teens in your store?”

Michele Whitaker Paper Players Dunedin, Fla. When we are working on an order, our customers sit at a table with us to discuss their ideas for wording, typestyles and ink colors. I always have crayons and paper ready for children that are tagging along. I ask them to draw a picture to take home and a drawing for my refrigerator. When they’re through, we walk back to the break area and put their drawing on the fridge. I have quite a collection! On another visit, I’ve had several of our smaller customers run back to see if their artwork is still there. Keith W. Klarin (former party columnist for Rental Management Magazine) The late, great Pat Chose of C & M Party in Walnut Creek, Calif. first conceived one terrific solution. He gave every small child a helium balloon as soon as they entered the showroom. In that way, he could…  » Read more
What a Girl Wants

What a Girl Wants

The economy may be down, but bachelorettes still party. What they buy and what kind of partying they do, however, depends to a great extent on where they’re located. Party & Paper Retailer asked party stores all over the country what they see that’s new, what’s tried and true and what their bachelorette customers buy. “At the Halloween Show in Houston, I saw that Eldorado has a new line of bachelorette items and novelties that are R-rated instead of being X-rated, and that really caught my eye. I tend to sell more of the harder core stuff, and it sells well, but for someone who has a family store and doesn’t want to offend any of their other customers, it’s a cute line. For me, the best selling bachelorette items year in and year out are anything with male parts.” Chuck Schwartz Card & Party…  » Read more