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June 2011

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Party Line: Game On

Party Line: Game On

My parents never bought me a Nintendo when I was younger, but they did eventually humor me with a Game Boy - more for their sanity on road trips than anything else. However, I do remember when the neighbor got his Nintendo for Christmas and the first game we all watched him play - Super Mario Bros. While Mario has appeared in more than 200 video games, it was Super Mario Bros. that shot him to fame. Two plumbers on a mission to save a kidnapped princess by jumping on and defeating enemies soon became a staple in many homes (and was also the first game I bought for my Game Boy) and a theme for many parties. Now more than 25 years later, Mario and his brother Luigi are still front and center when it comes to both video games and party supplies. Not…  » Read more
Shop Talk: Over the Top Costume Shoppe

Shop Talk: Over the Top Costume Shoppe

Spotlight On: Southlake, Texas She may have impersonated Marilyn Monroe, but there's nothing phony about her retail smarts After 22 years teaching dance, gymnastics and being a part-time actress, it was a natural evolution for Nacheska Gentry-Combs of Over the Top Costume Shoppe to go from wearing dancewear all day and night to selling it. Since she knew a lot about it, she opened a little adjoining shop that soon evolved into a full-time dancewear store with a few costumes. Much to her surprise, people were more interested in the few costumes she carried than the leotards, tights, skirts and shoes. "I didn't know a lot about costumes outside the dance performance arena, but I did some research and learned what my customers wanted and where I could get it," Gentry-Combs said. "Since this was not initially my area of expertise, there were some expensive…  » Read more
Super Power Profits

Super Power Profits

Get in the game with Super Mario Bros. theme parties Are you familiar with Mario and Luigi? If you're not, you should be. Along with being one of the best-selling games in history, Super Mario Bros. has once-again become a best-selling party theme. Since 1985, the Super Mario Bros. game has involved two plumbing brothers-Mario and Luigi- on a mission to save a kidnapped princess by jumping on and defeating enemies. Luckily they have help from their super powers and friends, and are eventually able to rescue the princess. People who played it in the '80s remember the fun they had, and considering a Super Mario Bros. game has been available for every single console from Nintendo and Super Nintendo to the Game Cube and Wii, kids today also know Super Mario Bros. and want game-themed parties as well. "Super Mario Bros. is wonderful because…  » Read more
Seasonal Savings

Seasonal Savings

Festive fun on a frugal budget The winter holiday season is often filled with parties for family and friends at home, at the office and at school. But along with festive fun, it can also bring a bit of financial stress. Everyone likes to save a little money where they can, but what they don't want to do is give up value and style when it comes to entertaining. Retailers can give shoppers a gift by showing them that whether it be Christmas or Hanukkah with the family, a winter wonderland party at school or a holiday fete at the office - festive doesn't have to mean expensive. Festive and JollyAccording to a survey by the NRF, most holiday shoppers (32.4 percent) in 2010 planned to complete their shopping before Dec.18, although, Dec. 24 (11.9 percent) was expected to be the second busiest day between…  » Read more
Ready, Set, Sell

Ready, Set, Sell

Are you ready for some football? If you want to score some sporty sales, you better be. Become an active player and get ready for tailgating season as the fans do - in other words, become a fanatic and it's a win-win for everyone involved. Need some stats to prove it? Stephen Ross, an assistant professor in Minnesota's Division of Recreation and Sports Studies, found that tailgating can be addictive - and it has nothing to do with all the alcohol that's consumed. "Once people start doing it, it's very hard to stop," Ross said. "They continue to do it, and continue to do it for a very long time. We found a fairly substantial number, maybe a quarter of the people, who had been doing it for 20-plus years." Why is this important for retailers? Because tailgating fans are passionate and look for any…  » Read more
A Three-Step Guide

A Three-Step Guide

Introducing & Managing Employee Reviews with No Extra Budget Small retailers have so much on their to-do list that it appears to never end. Between monthly inventory, weekly goals and daily tasks, retailers are pressed for time. Let's not forget the strict budgets we face each month. Throw in the challenges of employee management and your to-do list nearly breaks from the weight. To even think about introducing employee reviews to your to-do list seems unrealistic, time intensive and budget constricting. Or is it? Setting up an employee review program takes dedication and organization. But beyond that, it's fairly simple and low in cost - if not entirely free. The expense you will pay is in time only, with no other costs necessary to introduce an employee review program to your business. Step 1: Introduce Orientations for New Hires and Promoted Associates In order to…  » Read more

The Store Room: How do you get ready for summer graduation season?

Our monthly column is devoted to what works and what doesn't - for our readers, from our readers "How do you get ready for summer graduation season? If graduation isn't a busy time, what events do you most look forward to for summer?" Beth Flores Jeannie's Let's CelebrateChicagoThe way we prepare ourselves for the busy grad season is to order our customizable lawn signs from the Beistle Co. We carry all the local schools' signs with their logos and colors, and every year we get more and more requests for schools. We begin ordering these in February and now have more than 30 schools we stock. Another thing we do is stock up on the school color Mylar balloons. Mayflower runs a deal for Party Club members and we take advantage of it as soon as it's offered to us. Every week we order balloons…  » Read more