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August 2013

August 2013
Party Line: An Uplifting Experience
Shop Talk: Paper Plus
A Bright Future
Walk the Walk
Delivering Smiles and Sales
Bright. Bold. Luau.
Pioneer Balloon Co.
Create, Celebrate, Decorate
Turn Pennies Into Profits
Balloon Recipe
The Store Room
 
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Party Line: An Uplifting Experience

Party Line: An Uplifting Experience

Frustrating customers can be just that — frustrating. It’s a slippery slope to navigate, as even though it’s easy to let complaints or annoying behavior take up some of your energy, what you’re actually doing is wasting the energy that could be spent doing anything else. That’s not to say you shouldn’t address issues. Raving complaints should be handled immediately, and any destructive behavior shut down — both in the most professional manner, of course. What I’m talking about it trying to teach them a lesson and hoping they’ll change. You have to pick your battles, as the people who most need to learn a lesson often have no plan to learn or change their behavior. But when you resolve a situation without drama and the need always to be right, you free up time that can be spent focus on the good customers, new…  » Read more
Shop Talk: Paper Plus

Shop Talk: Paper Plus

Spotlight On: Berkeley, Calif. Proving independent stores can not only survive, but thrive    In a world increasing being taken over not only by big box stores, but also the electronic word, Paper Plus in Berkeley, Calif., has managed to not only survive, but thrive and remains the only party store left in Berkeley. What started as “Papyrus 1st Class Seconds,” a 300-square-foot outlet store selling discounted Papyrus inventory in 1985, quickly expanded and took over the entire building. As the store grew, owner Michele Schurman and her husband, Philip, were unable to get their merchandise, so they changed the name to “Paper Plus” in 1994.  “We started receiving lots of closeouts from many sources and for awhile we were mostly discount stationery, wrapping paper and cards,” Schurman said. “We were known for our large selection of half-priced cards, which is something we still offer.”…  » Read more
A Bright Future

A Bright Future

Success is up in the air   When it comes to the outlook for balloons in 2014, the future is up in the air and looking quite bright — literally. The helium situation that has plagued the industry for the past couple of years seems to be leveling out, but more importantly, it spurred a flurry of creative and innovate air-filled options from manufacturers and retailers alike. With those creative air-filled options comes bright and bold colors that draw customers in, and a variety of on-trend patterns, themes and designs will find their way into bouquets, décor and hopefully out your store door.   PPR: What is your forecast for 2014? Lisa Bennett Pioneer Balloon Co. It’s looking to be a strong year for innovative selling solutions and using different balloon techniques to build business. The helium supply concerns have been a challenge for everyone…  » Read more
Bright. Bold. Luau.

Bright. Bold. Luau.

A party theme that is here to stay   Most things come and go, like bell-bottom jeans and denim jackets. In fact, people expect fashion and party trends to go through a cyclical motion. It’s almost inevitable — unless we’re talking about Luau, that is. Customers are never afraid to celebrate in Luau style. And Luau isn’t just popular for college parties and backyard barbecues. Childhood birthday parties and high school graduation open houses offer prime Luau opportunities. Look for bright colors and tiki bars lining the room; every guest wearing a lei. Year after year, Luau acts as a go-to for party throwers everywhere. Why has the theme survived? Perhaps it’s a good way to escape the cold winter months. Maybe it’s popular because everyone dreams of an island getaway. Either way, Luau theme parties are here to stay — for customers young and…  » Read more
Pioneer Balloon Co.

Pioneer Balloon Co.

Spreading smiles for more than 95 years   There aren’t many industry icons that can be identified by only their first names, but when someone in the balloon industry refers to “Ted and Betty,” you know right away they’re talking about Ted A. and Betty Vlamis of Pioneer Balloon Co. Refusing to take all the credit for the sustaining success of a company that has been around for more than 95 years, Ted and Betty instead give accolades “to the people, all the people that are part of Pioneer — the employees, the customers, the distributors, the vendors. With that philosophy that “it’s all about building meaningful and lasting relationships with those whom you enjoy doing business,” in mind, Pioneer has grown from 85 employees in Willard, Ohio, and four employees in Wichita in 1979 into a worldwide operation with more than 950 employees —…  » Read more

The Store Room: What are your vendor frustrations?

Our monthly column is devoted to what works and what doesn’t — for our readers, from our readers   "What are the common frustrations experienced when dealing with vendors and how do you think things could be improved?" Lori Blake, Owner Celebrated Occasions Springfield, Mo. It frustrates me when a vendor wholesales to us and then turns around and also has a retail site online and cuts the price and offers more products that we do not have access to. I think they should choose if they are in the wholesale business or retail business. It’s also frustrating when the corporate vendor offers massive discounts to big box/chain stores and then charges the independent retailer more for the same product.  The independent retailer works harder for the vendor and has more product knowledge than most people that are employed for a short period of time…  » Read more