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October 2012

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Editor’s Letter: Halloween Scene

Editor’s Letter: Halloween Scene

  This is our October issue, which means that while we cover birthdays, spring holidays and balloons, you’re most likely knee-deep in Halloween costumes, spiders and pumpkins galore right now.   People who aren’t in this industry don’t realize how much work is involved in preparing for that one day in October — all the hours and months of researching, ordering and displaying the product that customers come in hungry to buy. Whether it’s that perfect costume or decorations for a classroom, people look to you for your expertise and creativity.   That’s easy to forget when you’re stressed out over the mess they can leave or the fact that you ran out of an item on Oct. 30. Our Store Room question this month asked what you enjoy most about working during the Halloween season, so give it a read and remember that we’re…  » Read more
Shop Talk: 50-50 Factory Outlet

Shop Talk: 50-50 Factory Outlet

Spotlight On: Eau Claire, Wis.   A “Favorite” place both online and off   Even though 50-50 Factory Outlet was named a “Favorite Place on Google” in June of 2010, all the fun actually happens in the Wisconsin-based stores. Owner Tiff Lystrup opened the first store in Eau Claire, Wisc., in 1984 that has since evolved into a thriving company with four stores, a Web store, warehouse operations, a home office and just under 50 employees on staff.   “We are full service party and gift stores with the goal to bring new and exciting product to the market and help customers plan and pull off great parties and special events while sticking to a budget,” said Lisa Michalek, who has been with the company since 2000 and serves as operations manager. “We strive to be the destination in Wisconsin for ‘low, low everyday prices.’…  » Read more
The “Big 1”

The “Big 1”

First birthday celebrations can bring big sales   Whether or not you’re a parent, you know the importance of a baby’s 1st birthday (mostly because parents will tell you). Many will spare no expense and go to great lengths to ensure that they celebrate the “Big 1” with a variety of themed 1st birthday party supplies and decorations.   Even though themes and trends aren’t important to the actual mini guest of honor, they often are to the parents who are trying to make everything just perfect. Because they’re often busy, it’s up to retailers to make everything parents need on trend and easily accessible, cementing your spot as the go-to store for all of the birthdays to come.   Primary Colors Jessica Benoit of Amscan said that moms aren’t going the traditional color route anymore for babies’ 1st birthday parties. They’re seeing a lot…  » Read more
In The Green

In The Green

Kick off the spring season with St. Patrick’s Day products and profits              Although St. Patrick’s Day is the smallest of all the consumer holidays in terms of how much consumers will spend, it’s still of great importance for the retail industry. For many shoppers, St. Patrick’s Day is the official kick-off to spring, which means shaking off those winter doldrums and having some fun.   “With it falling on a Sunday this year, some people question how well it will be celebrated, but the best part of St. Patrick’s Day occurring on a Sunday is that encompasses the whole weekend,” said Mike Fague of The Beistle Co. “Celebrations will start on Friday night and carry the whole way through Sunday. A lot of the bars, pubs and taverns will treat St. Patrick’s Day like New Year’s and celebrate on Saturday night by kicking things off at 12:01. If…  » Read more
Dropping In

Dropping In

Balloon drops can net big profits with impressive results   Most retailers know that the quickest way to turn an ordinary event into something spectacular is to suggest a balloon drop to the client. All in attendance can see what is about to unfold and eagerly anticipate the moment of release of a balloon-filled net suspended above a fixed height.     While they look dramatic and complicated, the concept is actually quite simple to do. Party & Paper talked with Ben Rines of The Smoky Mountain Balloon Co. about his experiences with balloon drops and what those new to the concept should know.    PPR: First of all, please provide a bit of background about your company. BR: The Smoky Mountain Balloon Company is east Tennessee’s premier balloon company, well rounded in Balloon Drops, Balloon Twisting and everything else in between. We are the…  » Read more

The Store Room: What’s your favorite thing about working during Halloween?

Our monthly column is devoted to what works and what doesn’t — for our readers, from our readers   “What’s your favorite thing about working during Halloween season?”     Mariah McKechnie Party America Duluth, Minn. My favorite part of the Halloween season is helping people find their perfect costume. We do our very own version of “Say Yes to the Costume.” It is especially fun with people that have trouble finding costumes that fit or are a little shy. We make them feel great about their choice and be sure to upsell a few accessories, too.   Cara Crider Affairs Afloat Balloons Fort Worth, Texas My favorite thing about working during the Halloween season is the feeling in the air. It’s the anticipation of all of the holidays that are approaching and the fun in creating that atmosphere at parties and celebrations.    Cindy Kavanaugh Party…  » Read more