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April 2012

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Party Line: Super Sales

Party Line: Super Sales

Although it's April, I'm writing this letter the day after the Super Bowl, a broadcast of million-dollar commercials in which a football game broke out. While the final score is what really matters, just as many people talk about the commercials as they do about the game, and for good reason. There's no doubt that advertising works. I don't necessarily want to go out and buy a new car or a six-pack of beer after watching the overpriced ads, but it does get the company name out there and it does stay in the back of your mind, which advertisers feel makes it worth the millions spent. As a retailer, you often don't have the resources to broadcast on local TV, much less in the national spotlight. While that would be a nice luxury to have, it's not necessarily the only way to go about…  » Read more
Shop Talk: Vintage Costumes

Shop Talk: Vintage Costumes

Spotlight on: Scottdale, Pa. From dusty barn to rustic retail Ten years ago, an old barn was swept of dust, removed of chicken roosts and transformed into a rustic retail shop. Brian Corcoran, owner of Vintage Costumes LLC in Scottdale, Pa., had been involved in the world of automotive sales and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and found putting on something for Halloween was a kind of relaxation. So after years of privately putting on parties and figuring out costuming for them with old costumes and vintage clothing that had been stored in trunks, he decided to pass that fun on to everyone else. "Vintage Costumes LLC came about after years of dealing with an old mom and pop costume shop," Corcoran said. "They mentioned that since I had a love of Halloween and an old barn out in the country, I should try my hand…  » Read more
Up in Years

Up in Years

In case you didn't get the memo, I'll let you in on a secret - it appears 50 is the hot age to celebrate right now. But while "50 is fabulous," the general trend is to incorporate any age into the celebration, most often through balloons. "Whether we decorate for a 1-year-old's party or a 70-year-old's, we noticed the trend is to incorporate their name and/or age into the decorating," said Debbie Pizzuto of Balloon Break & Baskets Too in Lansing, Ill. "Years ago we used to spell out names and ages with aluminum tubing and 5-inch balloons, but now that we have access to Megaloons, our job is easier. It's also more cost effective for our customers, and consequently, we sell more product." At It's My Party in Dyer, Ind., Amy Veltman Cullen said customers love the Bubble Balloons, so for obvious reasons, they…  » Read more
Trendy Trinkets

Trendy Trinkets

From pens to personal accessories, give your customers the gift of variety Most people know they can go to a party store and get a variety of party supplies such as balloons, plates, costumes and favors. But not many of those people know they can also get a variety of affordable gifts while they're there. As retailers, you already have them in your store for the basics, so why not remind them that many of those same items make great gifts as well? "It's important for independent party stores to keep a generous selection of gifts in the $10 to $20 range," said Katherine Dikeakos, marketing manager for the Madison Park Group. "However, they should not forget the power of the impulse buy. We suggest providing a variety of items that retail for $6 or less, as customers often look at these products as having…  » Read more
Overcome Overstock

Overcome Overstock

Cashing in on last-minute costume sales No retailer wants to be left with large amounts of overstock, because while certain costumes can be reused year-to-year, others are more time-sensitive and based on current trends. The obvious solution? Cash in on those last-minute Halloween sales and then continue to liquidate costume product throughout the rest of the year - both online and in-store. "It's a fact that costumes are needed year-long and retailers with an online presence have an excellent opportunity to quickly and efficiently fulfill year-round shopper necessities," said Sergio Lemus of Disguise. "For small independent retailers, a basic website and phone number can help in clearing leftover inventory at a fraction of the cost of maintaining a brick-and-mortar store." At Rose Costumes in Denton, Texas, they have changed their Halloween ordering dramatically in an effort to reduce the amount of inventory left over and…  » Read more

The Store Room: How do you make the most of your reps?

Our monthly column is devoted to what works and what doesn't - for our readers, from our readers "What do you do to make the most of working with your reps?" Lynn AbdelnourHalloween GearPalm Desert, Calif.I have some reps I have worked with for 25 years by now, and when you get to the point of regarding them as one of your true friends, you now have a rep you can lean on and trust they are giving you the best advice you can get in regards to what to order, what not to order, calling you when new goods are available, giving you the BEST pricing without even asking, monitored to make sure your orders are shipped as best as they can be, etc. I give my qualified reps the respect I want them to give to me and when each of us realizes…  » Read more