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June 2015

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Party People: Debbie Easley

Party People: Debbie Easley

Easley’s Fun Shop Phoenix, Arizona Easley’s Fun Shop has been family-owned and -operated for nearly seven decades. Founded in 1947 by Bert Easley, a Vaudeville magician and entrepreneur, Easley’s began as a small magic shop before adding gag gifts, novelty items, costumes and the ecommerce store it offers today. Members of four generations of the Easley family have operated the 15,000-square foot store, including current owner Deb Easley. 1. What is the best retail advice you’ve received? Follow your heart (and) your instincts. Advisors and consultants are fine, but who knows more about my business than me? Only my parents! 2. What are your goals for the rest of 2015? We are working with a new company for our website to improve our look and feel online, and we’d like to strengthen our social media presence. In other words, hire young people and let them do their thing.…  » Read more
In-Store Events Build Loyalty

In-Store Events Build Loyalty

6.25 Paper Studio finds marketing success with after-hours workshops Fun is a common denominator for party-store patrons. Whatever they may be shopping for, purchases are made with the confidence they will be the proverbial cherry on top for guests. Offering customers a place to go where they can have fun themselves and learn how to create these special touches is a productive business tactic for many reasons. After-hours workshops are a great marketing tool, and they help create a community of customers. That’s the case at 6.25 Paper Studio in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where owner Abbey Fowler and her staff have found hosting events as low-cost alternatives to traditional advertising. “I do believe that store events boost sales, but not necessarily immediately,” said Tarah Carnahan, 6.25 Paper Studio employee. “It’s more about creating a relationship with a new person who has had a memorable experience…  » Read more
Hosting Helps

Hosting Helps

In my last letter, I mentioned my haphazard dye jobs when it comes to Easter eggs. Well, I took a class to awaken the dormant art skills I knew I must have somewhere within. It turns out I’m still a subpar painter, but let me tell you — that class was a blast. Abbey Fowler of 6.25 Paper Studio in Grand Rapids, Michigan, invited the Party & Paper Retailer team for her shop’s in-store class hosted in late April. 6.25 employees Tarah and Jaimé showed us how to marble stationery, paint with watercolors and create origami, all while we got the chance to connect with others in our community. When I went home that evening, arms full of creations that only a mother could love, it struck me how few retailers open their doors after-hours for events. Brick-and-mortar retailers have the special opportunity to open…  » Read more
Shop Talk: Party Palace

Shop Talk: Party Palace

Spotlight On: Pocatello, Idaho How one family’s favorite store became their family’s future Most families have a beloved business they visit when they need special supplies, and the traditional visits seem to carry with them a nostalgic trace of magic — especially if the shopping is for fun. For Trent and Kathleen Stephens’ family, Party Palace was that place. “During the approximately 20 years the store was in the Westwood Mall, it was one of our favorite stores,” said Trent Stephens, who now co-owns Party Palace. “It eventually became our grandchildren’s favorite store. It became the first place our grandchildren wanted to visit when they came to town.” Rarely does the opportunity to purchase those cherished pieces of familial memories arise. But, when Party Palace shut its doors in 2007, Trent and Kathleen Stephens jumped on the opportunity to add more memories by purchasing the store. “My wife,…  » Read more