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August 2015

August 2015

Party Line: A Ballooning Beginning
Shop Talk: Jeannie's Let's Celebrate
Making Well Wishes Work: zoning in on the get well product category
Creating Displays That Sell
Let the Fun Float On: A preview of what's to come at the 2016 World Balloon Convention
Copycatting is Serious Business
Maple City Rubber Turns 100
Balloon Recipes
Industry & Trade Show News
Show Calendar
Party People: Ted A. & Betty Vlamis

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Maple City Rubber Company Turns 100

Maple City Rubber Company Turns 100

100 years and still floating high A big “happy birthday!” is in order for Maple City Rubber Co. (MCRC), which is celebrating 100 years in the balloon biz. While MCRC’s American-made Tuf-Tex Balloons date back to 1940, the company’s inception came 25 years prior.             Party & Paper Retailer visited with Mike Kilbane, president and CEO, to discuss the Maple City Rubber’s first 100 years, which included an unusual mix-up with the Red Cross and contributions to the U.S. war effort during World War II. PPR: Can you tell us about MCRC’s history? MK: Maple City Rubber Co. was initially formed in 1915 as the Red Cross Rubber Co. by Claud Martin Sr. and his brother-in-law, Charles Switzer. In 1917, at the request of the American Red Cross, they changed the name to Maple City Rubber Co. and became incorporated. The brand Tuf-Tex Balloons was…  » Read more
Shop Talk: Jeannie’s Let’s Celebrate

Shop Talk: Jeannie’s Let’s Celebrate

Spotlight On: Chicago Staying Afloat Expanding balloon business has been big for Jeannie’s Let’s Celebrate With two-and-half decades of party supply retail behind her, Jeannie Jermal didn’t hesitate when asked what the biggest change in the business has been since she started. “Balloons,” said Jermal, owner of Jeannie’s Let’s Celebrate. “When I started, it was three helium balloons attached to a weight. Now, people want all sorts of creations and designs. Balloons have been very good for us.” That’s clear upon entering Jeannie’s Let’s Celebrate, which is tucked just inside Chicago’s city limits in the Norwood Park neighborhood. The first thing customers see is a wall lined with dozens of Mylar balloons to the left and an end cap featuring more to the right. Bullish on balloons Jeannie’s Let’s Celebrate carries everything one would expect to find at a party-supply store — decorations, tablewear, costumes,…  » Read more
Creating Displays That Sell

Creating Displays That Sell

Saving space and creating merchandising magic Shrinking budgets and limited floor space are real problems plaguing today’s retailers, but some owners are looking up to solve their display challengers. “We are so cramped for space that we try to use every inch,” said Joanne Linker, owner of JJ Blinkers Joke, Magic and Costume Shop in Antioch, Illinois. “Our racks pretty much go all the way to the ceiling.” Linker has long used the building’s exposed rafters for storage and display purposes and said longtime patrons of the 30-year-old party store are not fazed to find masks, rubber chickens or even tombstones dangling overhead. The high-flying items are suspended in a way that allows them to be released with a quick tug so Linker and her staff don’t have to resort to step stools or ladders for retrieval. Shindigs & Celebrations in Nashville, Tennessee, also struggles…  » Read more
Let the Fun Float On

Let the Fun Float On

A preview of what’s to come at the 2016 World Balloon Convention With registration opening just around the corner, the World Balloon Convention 2016 is already afloat with fun. For the first time ever, the World Balloon Convention (WBC) will take place in New Orleans, and according to Pioneer Balloon Co., the event’s host, there are plenty of reasons to be jazzed about balloons at the upcoming convention — including celebrating Pioneer’s 100th anniversary in tandem with the WBC. The WBC is geared toward helping “business-minded balloon decorators, twisters, entertainers and party-store retailers, as well as newcomers wanting to explore a rewarding and profitable career in the balloon industry,” according to the event’s preview. The WBC’s goals for 2016 include helping attendees expand and grow their range of balloon technique, branding and business visibility, as well as learning how to increase the potential for profits…  » Read more
Party People: Ted A. & Betty Vlamis

Party People: Ted A. & Betty Vlamis

Pioneer Balloon Company has been “in the business of making people smile” for nearly 100 years. The international company, with a diversified range of products including Qualatex latex, Microfoil and Bubble Balloons, is also host to the World Balloon Convention (WBC). The WBC invites balloon artists, entrepreneurs and newcomers worldwide to celebrate the craft of balloon décor in a new location every two years. A preview of the event can be found in this issue as well! Ted A., president, and Betty, executive vice president, enjoy watching their employees grow, and both “are committed to progressive people management, and to the personal growth” of their employees. 1. From where did your love for balloons bloom? Ted A.: When we first looked at the potential of the balloon business, the good news was balloons had been around for a long time (going back to 1917 for Pioneer). The bad news…  » Read more