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January 2014

January 2014
Party Line: Standing Out from the Crowd
Shop Talk: Balloons Galore & Gifts
Shop Talk: Glen's Fair Price Store
Goofy, Ghoulish and Glam
Boo and Beyond
Sizing up 2013
Stepping Out in Style
Negotiation Know-How
If you Haunt it They Will Come
Building Character
Changes in the Air
On the Wild Side
Logging Off
Beyond the Basics
Celebrating 90 Years
Prepare for Supernatural Sales
Balloon Recipe
Party People
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Party Line: Standing Out from the Crowd

Party Line: Standing Out from the Crowd

Happy New Year and welcome to our Halloween & Party Expo issue, our largest issue of the year. It’s become tradition that this issue is filled with everything from costumes for people and pets to high heels and helium, bridal and bachelorette to cups and cutouts.   The sheer amount of products out there can be intimidating for not just customers — and editors — but retailers as well. What are the best products to buy? How do you know they’re the best and you’re getting your money’s worth? As a store, what do you need to survive?   Unfortunately, it’s near impossible to figure out just what “best” means, as it means something different to everyone. It’s not necessarily the most expensive item, but the one that most ideally suits the needs of those you are serving.   This can be hard for independent…  » Read more
Shop Talk: Balloons Galore & Gifts

Shop Talk: Balloons Galore & Gifts

Spotlight On: Springboro, Ohio   Achieving dreams, accomplishing goals one balloon at a time Everybody has a dream — some wish to change the world and some wish to save the world. Some wish to play a professional sport, and some wish to own their own business. That was Mark Specht’s dream and it became a reality in March 1988 when he opened Balloons Galore in Englewood, Ohio, a Dayton suburb. Twenty-five years of ever-evolving success has followed. Specht spent his college years studying education. He wanted to be a teacher; perhaps, even then, he wanted to be a business owner more. While teaching, he purchased a balloon business from a colleague for $250. He received a small cardboard box full of supplies — everything he needed to run the business out of his home as a supplement to his teaching income, an income that…  » Read more
Shop Talk: Glen’s Fair Price Store

Shop Talk: Glen’s Fair Price Store

Spotlight on: Harrisonburg, Va.   Where the spirit of Halloween lives on all year round   Located in historic downtown Harrisonburg Va., Glen’s Fair Price Store has earned the title as Harrisonburg’s “Most Unusual Store” — a slogan it proudly boasts along with the large selection of holiday and general party products.   Opened in 1941 by Glen and Evelyn Stiteler as a variety store with patent remedy medicines, the store is now co-owned by son Gary Stiteler and his sister, Melinda Bare, but the spirit of their late parents is said to live on. Glen’s has been considered haunted since their parents passed away.    “In our old store, a faint walking could occasionally be heard, but whenever someone would turn to see who it was, the noise would stop with the empty hallway,” Bare said. “We believe it’s our father who loved the…  » Read more
Goofy, Ghoulish and Glam

Goofy, Ghoulish and Glam

A little something for everyone   The sheer amount of variety that exists when it comes to costumes can be overwhelming for both consumers and costumers. Lucky for you — and your shoppers — there are a few prevailing themes that can help streamline the process this year, whether you’re looking for goofy, ghoulish or glam.   Fright Night Halloween is synonymous with scary, and thanks in part to “Twilight” and the Zombie craze that literally won’t die, there will be no shortage of requests for blood and gore this year.   “The ghoulish mainstays that do well season after season are vampires, witches and mummies, and in recent years, zombie-driven costumes,” said Lar Hovsepian of Dreamgirl. “While zombie costumes are great at capturing the spirit of ghoul, many consumers choose to make an average costume like a nurse, schoolgirl, etc. ‘their own’ by ‘zombifying’…  » Read more
Boo and Beyond

Boo and Beyond

Sexy couples’ costumes are a year-round favorite   With fun-loving couples hosting and attending more themed parties and group dress-up events than ever before, the costume marketplace is abuzz with innovation and creativity.   Couples’ costumes — especially sexy ones — are a huge trend right now, and they’ve been gaining momentum since last year, said Patty Gatto, director of sales for Delicious Sexywear of New York, a division of Rubie’s Costumes.   “Women want to dress up their boyfriends and husbands and go out in a theme; couples’ costumes are a great vehicle for that,” said Gatto, who filled the gaps in Rubie’s line by developing 214 costumes for 2014 designed to appeal to couples.   “Couples’ costumes are a necessary part of both a manufacturer’s line of products and a retailer’s line of products,” said Lar Hovsepian, director of marketing at Bell, California-based…  » Read more
On the Wild Side

On the Wild Side

Hunt for everyday party products that appeal to men, women When it comes to everyday party products, the possibilities are endless for the creative shopper. Variety is certainly not lacking and party stores offer choices galore, but it seems as though one theme is chosen more often than the rest — animal print. Zebra, cheetah, leopard, you name it and women and girls are snatching it off the shelves. Why? Because it is a party theme that can conform to any event and any venue, especially if the guests are willing to take a walk on the wild side. Now, let’s not forget about the men and boys. It’s clear that animal print isn’t always for them, but even more clear is that camouflage is a very suitable alternative. For the Ladies Zebra print is all the rage in the party industry, but that’s not…  » Read more
Logging Off

Logging Off

A survival guide to combat Internet lowball pricing   Many retailers today worry about the effect of the Internet on their brick-and-mortar business and feel that customers will buy from the Internet long before they buy from the store, mostly because of pricing and convenience. This has been made worse by the practice of “showrooming,” which happens when customers come to the store, look at a product they want, note the UPC or vendor’s style number and then go online and find it for less than what you offer.   In fact, one of the larger online retailers, who shall remain nameless, became famous last year for offering a five percent discount to customers if they went into a local store, scanned the UPC code and bought the product online. That was a brutally competitive move.   So how do you survive while such tactics…  » Read more
Party People: Jerry Levy

Party People: Jerry Levy

Jerry Levy Party Works Locations throughout the Memphis, Tenn., and North Mississippi areas.   Jerry Levy has worked in the retail industry since he was in college and has worked for independent as well as major department store chains in his career. He started as a buyer for linens and domestics, moved on as a buyer for junior sportswear and then moved to the stores operations as a store manager in several locations before moving back into merchandising as a divisional merchandise manager for Dayton Hudson Corp. and Pizitz department stores.   Levy and his wife started Party Works with one store in Tupelo, Miss., in 1992. They have since expanded to the Memphis, Tenn., area and now operate six party stores.   1. What is the best retail advice you’ve received?  The best advice I have received was from my father who always told me…  » Read more