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December 2011

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Party Line: A Positive Trend

Party Line: A Positive Trend

December is our annual Trends Issue, which means I compile a list of things that are on my radar that I think should be on yours for the upcoming year. But if you honestly think I can predict how the next year in the party industry or retail in general will be, you are giving me far too much credit (but I thank you, nonetheless). While I can tell you what I think you should know - and I do on page 30 - there's no way to predict how things will end up next year at this time. Superhero costumes are a given, but no one knows what the next Charlie Sheen "situation" will be. Metallics might be the colors predicted to shine, but all it takes is one royal princess to show off her love of a color to change the tide of…  » Read more
Shop Talk: Celebrations

Shop Talk: Celebrations

Spotlight on: Delphos, Ohio Where award-winning design and service combine for success In the fall of 2004, Tammy Corzine went to a local party store that was closing to ask about purchasing some balloons and equipment. She ended up buying the entire store. They closed the store for a short time to clean, paint restock and reorganize, but by December of 2004, Celebrations in Delphos, Ohio was open for business. "Up until that point, I was a home-based wedding decorator looking to increase my business," Corzine said. "I felt a storefront was the perfect opportunity to gain more exposure and offer a more professional space to meet potential clients, rather than my living room." "My retail background was pretty limited prior to opening the store," she continued, "but I am also a wife, mother, registered nurse, EMT and firefighter, so wearing all of those hats…  » Read more
Looks Are Everything

Looks Are Everything

How to display costumes to drive sales Successful retailers know you have to show it to sell it, and that's especially true when it comes to costumes and accessories. There are plenty of tools at your disposal to help transform your store into a visually engaging costume gallery - including the tips and tricks below. Floor Them Kristen Meador, assistant director of marketing for Eldorado Trading Company, said the most popular retail displays are floor standing, and are usually versatile in terms of dimensions and style with the ability to hold and promote an entire product line. "With slick design, graphics, lights, and video, these displays become a powerful lure for customers," Meador said. "Coupled with product samples and accessories customers can try on, you've got a formula for bigger profits and satisfied, repeat customers." At Wally's Party Factory/Card & Party Factory stores in Texas,…  » Read more
Top Trends for 2012

Top Trends for 2012

It's a bird. It's a plane. It's time for trends! While I have no super powers of my own to can predict what will be a hit or a miss on store shelves this coming year, I do have it on good authority that sweets will remain strong and the presence of various superheroes will make itself known. Add in a splash of trendy color, an increased online presence and a feather in your cap, and you should be set for a successful 2012. SuperheroesSuperheroes will have a major presence on the big screen in 2012, which means they will have a major presence in party stores in the form of costumes and party goods. Sony will reboot the Spider-Man franchise with "The Amazing Spider-Man," and Nicholas Cage returns as Johnny Blaze in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance in February. In July, Captain America, the…  » Read more
Funny Money

Funny Money

Increasing profits with novelty and humor products Did you hear the one about the party store that decided to forego humor and novelty items and missed out on an opportunity to increase profits? Not so funny, huh? Party stores are all about celebration and fun, but selecting the right products at the right price for customers is serious business. Novelties come in a wide-range of prices and are an effective way to boost sales and ensure fewer shoppers leave your store empty-handed. Novelty Know-howBy nature, novelties are impulse purchases. "They're definitely an add-on," said Jack Steinfeld, president of ESCO Import Toys, a Texas-based toy and novelty wholesale company. "Customers won't go into a store just to buy a whoopee cushion." Steinfeld believes there's room for novelty and humor items in all types of party stores. Even boutique shops can profit from adding novelty and humor…  » Read more

Driving Your Brand

Your delivery vehicle is a representation of your company, so make sure to take advantage of this mobile form of marketing. Hit the RoadLooking for ways to get your party store noticed? It's as easy as getting behind the wheel! If you don't already have a vehicle wrap, it might be a worthwhile investment for your business. These "billboards on wheels" are created by printing graphic images onto an adhesive vinyl film that's adhered directly to a vehicle. There are full wraps that cover the entire vehicle, partial wraps or a wrap for a specific portion of the vehicle. These can also be removed without damaging the paint. Vehicle wraps are fully customizable, allowing businesses to create their own design and message that reinforces their brand. They also provide the opportunity to target specific audiences by driving particular routes, or even by parking the vehicle…  » Read more

Store Room: What have you been doing to cut your business expenses?

Our monthly column is devoted to what works and what doesn't - for our readers, from our readers "Times are tight for almost everyone. What have you been doing to cut your business expenses?" Janice J. WhiteheadBalloons By JaniceBlair, Neb.Lately, I have been trying to create as much as I can from the inventory I have on hand. I have a large inventory and plan ahead so I can purchase less and use what I have in stock first. Because I trust the quality balloons I purchase (Qualatex and Betallic), I don't have to worry much about breakage. Sterling Smith Rudman's GiftsMetairie, La. I renegotiated the dumpster contract, changed vendors for cheaper rates on the phone and security and do my own light fixture repairs. On other expenses that I could not reduce, we required the vendor, such as insurance, to convert to monthly billings.…  » Read more