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September 2012

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Party Line: Retail Rain Check

Party Line: Retail Rain Check

I’m at the grocery store at least four or five times a week. There’s one in particular that I always frequent, and despite the fact that it’s a rather large local chain, many of the employees know me by name and I can count on the service I’ll get.   However, I occasionally shop at another store if something I want is on sale, which was recently the case. When I went to the store — coupon in hand — I found that every single container of the variety of product I wanted was at least a week past the expiration date.   Seeing as both the coupon and the ad expired the next day, I asked an employee if I could have a rain check. His reply? “Can’t you just pick a different flavor or brand instead?”   I could go into my explanation…  » Read more
Shop Talk: Halloween Illusions LLC

Shop Talk: Halloween Illusions LLC

Spotlight on: Torrance, Calif.   A permanent presence of temporary stores   Although the Halloween Illusions stores Sean Alarid owns and operates are temporary, retail has been a permanent fixture in his life in one way or another for as long as he can remember.   Growing up his parents owned a retail tool store, arcades and operated a handful of Christmas tree lots each season until 1993 when Halloween Illusions LLC in Torrance, Calif., was founded. Dealing with customers for all those years prepared them for the ins and outs of doing business face-to-face with customers today.   “Our last year in the Christmas tree business was our first year in the Halloween business, and today Halloween and a new limousine business I started up again in 2011 called Limo4Rent.com are my main focus,” Alarid said. “We will be celebrating our 20th Halloween season…  » Read more
Cupid’s Little Helper

Cupid’s Little Helper

Become a one-stop shop for all their Valentine needs   According to the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association, Americans spent more than $13 billion on Valentine’s Day items last year, with the average consumer spending $116 and more than 180 million cards sent. Needless to say, this is an important holiday not only for those looking to express a loving feeling, but also for stores that can help fill that need.    Sweet Staples When it comes to general party goods, the strongest performers still include the iconic heart in the traditional holiday colors.    “The best part of our ‘Happy Heart Day’ pattern is that the use of hearts can span consumer needs,” said Allison Basham of Hallmark Party. “The trend forwardness of our design is the pattern of the hearts, the play on the small and large hearts and the use of small hearts…  » Read more
Superheroes: The Sequel

Superheroes: The Sequel

Reprising their role as retail giants   In our January issue, we gave you the scoop about the superhero costume trend that went on to sweep the nation. The good news is, it shows no sign of stopping, so any product that you have will still be relevant this year.   In fact, with the release of “Batman: The Dark Knight Rises” and “The Amazing Spider-Man” in July and blockbusters such as “Iron Man 3,” “Thor 2,” “Wolverine” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” in line for 2013, superhero costume sales look to be stronger than ever.   Super Sexy It’s not just kids that are looking to dress the part again this year either. Superheroes and strength are sexy in their own right, and adults want to become these personas when they dress up.   “Adults remain interested in superheroes because it allows them the…  » Read more
Wear It and Declare It

Wear It and Declare It

Help bachelorettes dress the part for the night   Trends come and go, but one thing that’s remained consistent is the fact that the wedding industry is still booming. Today’s bride-to-be is often willing to spend more money and celebrate longer to make that journey to the altar a memorable one, which means everything gets bigger and better — including bachelorette parties.    “Bachelorette parties are enjoying increasing popularity and there is virtually no place to buy these party items except in a party store or online,” said Warren Berkowitz of Forum Novelties. “Because it’s not readily available from the general retailer, party stores can enjoy a healthy mark-up.”   Terre Lantzy of sassigirl agreed, adding that if a party store has not created a bachelorette section, they are missing a great opportunity to cash in on a customer who will go elsewhere if they…  » Read more
Using Balloon Walls

Using Balloon Walls

Take it vertical to increase profits   By Steve Martin, Rainbow Balloons   Many party store retailers ask us, “How can I increase my balloon sales?”  The answer is simple: Display large shape inflated foil balloons in your store in the most impactful way — add a balloon wall!    When a customer walks into a party store a festive and fun environment will set the tone for their shopping experience. The goal, as always, is to sell your customer more merchandise than they originally came in for. Creating that party environment gives you your best chance to do that.  As we all know, it is not a party until you add balloons.    What is a Balloon Wall?  A balloon wall is a merchandising vehicle designed to maximize your balloon sales by displaying the most profitable balloons in the most impactful way. The wall…  » Read more

Love at First Sight

Use window displays to draw customers in   If you want to capitalize on one of the biggest gift-giving holidays of the year, then don’t forget one critical part of your marketing plan — your window display! As a retailer, this is how you make your initial impression. It may sound like a lot of pressure, but with some advance planning and attention to detail, you can use your display as an opportunity to make a first impression that lasts.   Evaluate Your Objectives The whole purpose of having a window display — or any in-store display —revolves around the simple fact that you’ll sell what you show. That’s why it’s so important to show inflated balloons and balloon designs at a variety of price points.   Before you begin creating your display, it might be helpful to take past experiences into consideration. Julie Jones,…  » Read more

The Store Room: What were the most popular graduation products this season?

Our monthly column is devoted to what works and what doesn’t — for our readers, from our readers   “What were the most popular graduation products this season?” Anne Tucker Create-A-Party Davenport, Iowa  The most popular graduation items in the store this year were personalized banners and yard signs. We had just added them to the store and they took off! We also added personalized mugs and water bottles and those flew off the shelves quicker than we could make them. This year’s trend led more in combined graduation parties, with two or three grads sharing in the expenses.   Lisa Myers Mt. Pleasant Rental Center Mt. Pleasant, Mich. We had a very busy graduation season this year. For the girls we have been doing a lot of bright colors and zebra and cheetah print items. The boys were more into the general graduation decorations and using their school colors. For…  » Read more