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August 2010

August 2010

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Party Line: Want a balloon with that?

Party Line: Want a balloon with that?

By Abby Heugel, Managing Editor Along with being our New Year’s Issue, this month we also celebrate this industry and take another look back over 25 years. The basics have stayed the same — people like to celebrate, and to celebrate they need to buy supplies — but things have also changed.For example, when Ray Kroc opened his first McDonald’s restaurant near Chicago in 1955, he was better known for selling milkshake machines than burgers and fries. Eventually they came to offer a little bit of everything, as do many other chains that are trying to compete, and are known for upselling with the popular, “Do you want fries with that?”Billions did, but now they want more.So after witnessing diners going elsewhere for their beverages, the nation’s largest fast-food chain is now on a multibillion-dollar mission to become a serious beverage force once again. The…  » Read more
Shop Talk: The Smoky Mountain Balloon Co.

Shop Talk: The Smoky Mountain Balloon Co.

Balloon drops and sculptures and bears ... oh, my! By Abby Heugel, Managing Editor What do you get when you combine a balloon artist, social networking and a wayward black bear? Why, you get a promotion from The Smoky Mountain Balloon Co. on Facebook that increased traffic — in the store, online and on the streets of Gatlinburg, Tenn.  “The Smoky Mountains are known for the black bear, so we learned how to make a three foot balloon bear, mostly for Valentine's Day and Mother’s Day,” said Billy Muncy, CBA and owner of The Smoky Mountain Balloon Co. “For this promotion, we took a picture of the bear, hid it at a cabin rental company that a friend of mine has and said he got lost. “We asked our Facebook friends to find the location of our missing bear,” he continued. “The winners came to the…  » Read more
Flying High

Flying High

What you can expect to see in balloons for the year ahead By Abby Heugel, Managing Editor  With recordable options and innovative materials, balloons and accessories are getting more high-tech these days. However, today’s busy customer is looking for anything that simplifies the shopping experience and allows them to get what they need when they need it. Greg Shakley of Worthington Cylinders predicted there will be a continued preference toward prepackaged options, such as balloons and helium-filled tanks in one purchase, as well as easy-to-create theme ideas and inexpensive materials for at-home parties, while Robin Oxley of Anagram said that consumers will be loyal to retailers that offer quick solutions and great service. “The steps for success in 2011 remain the same — inflate, inflate, inflate and service, service, service,” Oxley said. “Entice customers with inflated ready-to-go balloon bouquets and other specialty balloons such as…  » Read more
Distinguishing Details

Distinguishing Details

Tips and tricks to take your retail balloon profits up a level By Steven Mayhew, Special to Party & Paper  When you think of balloons, you think of parties, celebrations, sentiments and the amazing arrangements that can be created with latex and foils. Educating your customers about the wonders of balloon décor and bouquets can be a bit of a challenge if your store isn’t promoting on a professional level. So here are a few tips to increase your customers’ experience when they enter your shop and ways you can make your balloon store more profitable. It may make the difference between making the sale or not.Easy, Efficient Inflation Technology has led the way of the future, and the options of how a balloon is inflated are no different. Inflating balloons with a basic inflator is the way of the past and has proven to…  » Read more