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October 2010

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Party Line: Do you like cupcakes?

Party Line: Do you like cupcakes?

You know what I'm talking about; the nostalgic little baked goods created in countless numbers of flavors just for you in a perfectly portioned size (and hopefully with sprinkles.) Yes, cupcakes are simply mini-cakes, yet their popularity has been sweeping the nation like, well, hotcakes. According to a prediction from Mintel, a Chicago-based market-research firm, cupcakes will be the fastest-growing part of the baked-goods industry between 2008 and 2013. And in tough economic times, affordable, small luxuries - especially sweets - tend to do well. In fact, cupcakes are appearing on all kinds of party products and have become one of the biggest (little) themes today. While cupcake supplies themselves are a must for most stores, this nostalgic icon is now making its presence known on balloons, paperware, cards and everything in between. Because this is our birthday issue, the feature takes a look at…  » Read more
Shop Talk: Balloon Express

Shop Talk: Balloon Express

Listen to your mother when she tells you what to do The success of Balloon Express in Hutchinson, Kan., is the result of a lot of hard work, but also the result of a wish from owner Maribeth Borders' dying mother. She told her daughter that after more than 40 years in nursing, she should seek a change - something happier day in and day out. After losing both her mother and younger brother in 2008, she decided to do just that. Borders got out of nursing to "do something fun in life" and by January 2009, she was doing business as Party2U out of her home, providing unique special event planning for nursing homes that included taking the party to them. For Borders, balloons were always an important part of any celebration, and it soon became apparent that there was a lack of balloon…  » Read more
Recipe for Success

Recipe for Success

Tempt your shoppers with the sweet theme of cupcakes Without a birthday cake, there would be no birthday candles. Without the birthday candles, there would be no birthday wish. Now what fun is that? Birthdays and cake are synonymous and although their pairing is nothing new, the popularity of sweets as a party theme itself has started stealing the sweet spotlight. Cakes - and their miniature version, the cupcake - have been showing up on everything from party plates and invites to primetime TV shows and books. Whereas cupcakes were once relegated to the children's table, this sweet theme has taken on a more "mature" persona as well, making them a theme for all ages. "In today's business climate, retailers are always looking for products that appeal to adults and children, are reasonably priced, can be displayed in a variety of ways and make customers…  » Read more
Retirement Parties

Retirement Parties

Work hard so they don't have to In 2009, 2.74 million people filed for Social Security - more than any other year in history. Additionally, American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) claims more than 40 million members. These statistics translate into big business for retirement parties, and a key opportunity for party retailers. Whether Baby Boomers have carefully planned their retirement or they're just getting out of the rat race because of the economy, they're excited about the adventures ahead and want to celebrate. Take advantage of this important milestone by turning your store into Retirement Party Central. With these simple tips, watch your sales - and customer reach - increase. Timeframe and Target Choose a special week or month - such as in July, which is National Retirement Planning Month - to focus on this special milestone in your store. Start spreading the word…  » Read more

The Store Room: “What are the most popular themes and products for children’s parties?

Our monthly column is devoted to what works and what doesn't - for our readers, from our readers "What are the most popular themes and products for children's parties?" Adriane BrandenburgFun Party and Wedding ServicesShawnee Mission, Kan.There are always the trendy themes with whatever superhero or movie is out. Then there are the classics such as Elmo, Barney and Winnie the Pooh. I am also seeing a surge in non-licensed themes like ladybug, circus, jungle, fairies, luau and sports. There are also some more unique ones like magician, outer space and red carpet Hollywood-esque events. As for products - balloons, balloons and more balloons. Kids can never get enough of them. We had a dad get 80 helium-filled balloons the other day for his 4-year-old to wake up to. I also see a lot of parents setting up candy buffets for the party favors. Chuck…  » Read more