Entries tagged with: Profiles

Steadying Structure

Balloon It centerpiece system aims to make life easier for consumers, retailers By Zeke Jennings | Managing Editor The Wilke family had always included balloons for family celebrations — they have four children — but as the kids began graduating the parties got bigger and moved outdoors, patriarch David Wilke decided balloons weren’t worth it anymore. In 2012, getting the necessary helium was starting to become a hassle, and even then, the finished balloon centerpieces weren’t…  » Read more

Peer Perspective: Best of ...

Party & Halloween Retailer often checks in with party and costume retailers to find out about their businesses, successes and challenges. Here are a few of our favorite responses.  What is your biggest challenge?  “The challenges I have in my stores are, getting good employees, advertising and competition from online sales. I would say the biggest challenge of those is the employee factor. Lately it seems that I can find employees, but they aren't interested in giving…  » Read more

Peer Perspective: Joette Giardina,

Joette Giardina Owner/Founder, Lakeland, Florida pretty much says it all. But how did Joette Giardina become the Balloon Coach? She tells us the story and all about her upcoming Promotions & Profits retreat in Orlando.   Could you share a little bit on what drew you to balloons and why you got into instructing others? I got a taste of balloon décor back in 2001 when I was at a 1-800-PARTYSHOP convention. We…  » Read more

Peer Perspective: Kathryn Holloway, Lovebird Paper Co.

Kathryn Holloway Owner/Designer, Lovebird Paper Co. Jackson, Wyoming   “Sassy, bold and vulgar” is her self-described style. Kathryn Holloway’s Lovebird Paper Co. produces cool products, such as stationery, gifts, tote bags and drinkware, for those with a similar sense of humor.   Tell us about how Lovebird Paper came to be.   The story of Lovebird Paper starts where many paper companies stories start: my own wedding. But before that, I graduated from the journalism…  » Read more

Peer Perspective: Mary Billings, Love of Character

Mary Billings Owner, Love of Character Wichita, Kansas Billings’ Love of Character grew into a brick-and-mortar store and event center out of a side gig Mary Billings did just because she enjoyed art and planning parties. Now the 1,900-square-foot corner shop is a Wichita hot spot. What services do you offer? Party planning, balloon design, party setup, DIFY (Do It For You) crafting, help with invitations, help with wedding invitations & products (day of materials,…  » Read more

Spotlight On: Party Out the Box

After years climbing the corporate ladder, the Tates are having a blast with their second careers By Zeke Jennings | After 25 years of climbing other people’s corporate ladders, Bruce and Daphne Tate decided it was about time they built a ladder of their own. In 2015, the Tates retired from corporate life — Bruce as an IT specialist and Daphne as a human resources manager for a banking company — and opened a party…  » Read more

Peer Perspective: Daphne Tate, Party Out the Box

Daphne Tate Owner, Party Out the Box Conyers, Georgia Before opening Party Out the Box, Daphne Tate spent 25 years in human resources for a banking corporation. She’s been on the interviewing side of more than a few job interviews. Tate’s advice to her fellow party retailers: Look for soft skills. How large is your staff? Currently, we have four. We’re hiring up for graduation. I had a larger staff at Halloween, when we have…  » Read more

Peer Perspective: Sharon McClellan, A Super Party

Sharon McClellan Owner, A Super Party  Kingsport, Tennessee After transitioning from dental hygienist to party storeowner, Sharon McClellan has gone from maintaining smiles to creating them. With just over a year under her belt as owner of a balloon-centric party store, McClellan reflects on her leap of faith. What is the backbone of A Super Party? Balloons are our main focus at our store. I would say they make up close to half of our…  » Read more

Spotlight On: Magic Mirror Costume Shop

(click image for more photos) New store owners catering to new markets as well as traditional ones By Zeke Jennings | Managing Editor Costuming isn’t the same as it was 20 years ago, and Kathy Foote surely isn’t running her costume shop as if that were the case. Just prior to Halloween 2016, Kathy Foote and her husband, Frank, bought the Magic Mirror Costume Shop in Traverse City, Michigan, which has been in business for…  » Read more

Peer Perspective: Lisa Gouveia, Party America Billings

Lisa Gouveia, owner Party America (three locations) Billings, Montana Lisa Gouveia got a good piece of advice to keep a closer eye on sales per square foot. Doing so has helped her capitalize on her bestsellers.   Why did you become a party retailer?  My husband, Greg, and I were just finishing college and a party store opened in our hometown of Bismarck, North Dakota. We thought that looked like a fun business and the franchise fee…  » Read more

Behind the Scares

(Click image for full photo gallery) Going behind the scenes at haunted attraction  By Zeke Jennings | Leslie is a quiet rural community in mid-Michigan that could suffice as a setting for a future “Children of the Corn” reboot. It’s isolated enough to stay calm and peaceful, yet easily drivable from medium-sized cities Lansing and Jackson. In other words, Leslie is a good spot for a haunted attraction. Rob Robinson thought his property on…  » Read more

Peer Perspective: Kathy Foote, Magic Mirror Costume Shop

(Kathy Foote enjoys a laugh with her son, Devin, at the Magic Mirror in Traverse City, Michigan) Kathy Foote Owner, Magic Mirror Costume Shop Traverse City, Michigan Although not a newbie to the costuming world, Kathy Foote is still a new retailer, having purchased the Magic Mirror in September 2016. Foote’s vision for the Magic Mirror is as the go-to for costumers, Cosplayers, LARPers and theater troupes, and she’s having a great time making it…  » Read more

Peer Perspective: Brian McVay, Awaken Haunted Attraction

Brian McVay Awaken Haunted Attraction Leslie, Michigan Brian McVay is a graphic designer by weekday and haunter by night and weekend, at least during September and October. The rest of the year, he’s on the lookout for props and products to make his haunted attraction, Awaken, stand out. PHR: What is your haunt background? McVay: I worked at another haunt for about seven years and doing makeup all the marketing. Pretty much, I did the makeup.…  » Read more

Peer Perspective: Dean Salakas, The Party People

Dean Salakas Co-owner, The Party People Sydney, Australia There are many avenues to get exposure for today’s retailer that weren’t available for retailers of previous generations. Dean Salakas is a firm believer in using all of them. The Party People, the largest party retailer in Australia, has been recognized for its social media efforts and was named the Australian Retail Awards’ Independent Retailer of the Year in August. PPR: Which social media platforms do you…  » Read more

Spotlight On: Go Party Decoration

(Click image for a full photo gallery) Spotlight On: Charlotte, North Carolina Go Party Decoration Owning party store provides sense of community belonging to Castillos By Zeke Jennings | Janet and Jose Luis Castillo moved to the United States from Venezuela in 1994 and officially became U.S. citizens eight years later. Jose Luis, an architect, and Janet, who has a 30-year history in communications and advertising, have lived in various places around the country. It…  » Read more

Peer Perspective: Tiffany Morrisett, CTI Industries

Tiffany Morrisett Project Manager, CTI Industries Barrington, Illinois As a big fan of art and a painter in her own right, Tiffany Morrisett takes an artistic approach when creating a balloon column. Her approach is to put balloons in unconventional positions and then let them guide her. PPR: How long have you been with CTI? I have been with CTI Industries for just over two years. When I was looking into the company, CTI seemed…  » Read more

Spotlight On: Cappel’s

A key shop in Cincinnati remains relevant, even in changing times By Sam Ujvary |   As is the case with most cities of just about any size, sprinkled throughout Cincinnati are places that ooze nostalgia. Whether they be parks, buildings or smells emitting from shops, memories from long ago are elicited when you stumble upon them. For Queen City residents, Cappel’s is the embodiment of that sentiment. As a Cincinnati native myself, I…  » Read more

Peer Perspective: Ray Cappel, Cappel’s of Cincinnati

Ray Cappel Co-owner, Cappel’s Cincinnati, Ohio If you can’t find it at Cappel’s, you can’t find it anywhere. That line of thinking has made Cappel’s a Cincinnati staple since 1945. Cousins Ray and Rich Cappel scour the country looking for unique items. That’s so their loyal customers never need to go anywhere else. What makes Cappel’s so unique? I don’t care how many Party City (shops) they put in Cincinnati. The biggest reason why, and…  » Read more

Peer Perspective: Nicole Leinbach Reyhle, Retail Minded

Nicole Leinbach Reyhle Retail Minded founder and editorial director Denver Reyhle’s Retail Minded, a print and online resource for independent retailers, is enjoying its 10-year anniversary. Reyhle shares thoughts on the question she hears most often, mistakes retailers make and offers advice for those looking to add ecommerce to their operation. What drew you to retail? I have always been fascinated with retail and began working retail at the age of 15. My first job…  » Read more

Peer Perspective: Michele Biordi, Halloween Industry Association (HIA)

Michele Biordi Executive Director, Halloween Industry Association Mt. Laurel, New Jersey “What exactly does HIA do?” That’s the question Michele Biordi hears most often. As its executive director, a title Biordi has held since 2009, she is the best person to answer it. During her tenure, HIA has partnered with Urban Expositions to acquire the Halloween & Party Expo. Could you tell us a little about your background? I have been working with not-for-profit associations…  » Read more

Fledging New England Party Supplies store featured by Taunton Gazette

Tristan Michael-Savage’s story of starting his own balloon and party store is a feel-good one, but also one of caution. Michael-Savage’s store, New England Party Supplies, is located in Silver City Galleria mall in Taunton, Massachusetts. It opened in November 2016, although Michael-Savage’s history as a budding retailer started when he was 10 years old, when he used to buy cases of candy from a local iParty store and sell it to kids in the…  » Read more

Peer Perspective: Jelle Van Der Zwet, OppoSuits

Director and co-founder, OppoSuits Amsterdam Jelle Van Der Zwet and his friends were seeking festive garb to wear during the 2010 World Cup, but the response they got quickly hatched an idea — OppoSuits. Their colorful, coordinated ensembles wear and feel like everyday suits, but they look like anything but. Where did the idea for OppoSuits come from? The idea came about when one of my business partners, Jasper Castelein, and I were traveling in…  » Read more

Peer Perspective: Diane Delorier, Carolina Party

Diane Delorier Owner, Carolina Party Inc. Swansboro, North Carolina Diane Delorier opened Carolina Party in 2001. Over the past 15 years, she’s become a seasoned and savvy party storeowner and buyer. One of her biggest pieces of advice for fellow retailers: Think about exactly why the world needs your business. How were your Halloween sales in 2016? Our Halloween was not as great as last year. I was very satisfied with our numbers in 2015. Our store…  » Read more

Spotlight On: The Costumer

Longtime owner celebrates The Costumer’s 100th anniversary by passing baton to next generation  By Zeke Jennings | (Click on image for photo gallery) When seamstress Anna White started her Schenectady, New York costume-making business in 1917, she didn’t even have the right to vote. This is something Kathe Sheehan — longtime owner of The Costumer, the very business White started — likes to point out to put the shop’s longevity in perspective. The Costumer will celebrate…  » Read more

Peer Perspective: Amy Dufour, Urban Expositions

Amy Dufour Marketing Manager, Urban Expositions Kennesaw, Georgia We asked Amy Dufour, a marketing manager for Urban Expositions — administrator of the Halloween & Party Expo — what the most common mistake she sees companies in the field make. Her answer was two-fold, but both involve the internet. What is your professional background? I have 14 years of public relations and marketing experience serving the trade show, sporting and entertainment industries. What is the most…  » Read more

Spotlight On: Williams Costume Company

After 60 years in business in Sin City, Nancy Williams has seen it all By Zeke Jennings | (click image above for photo gallery) Nancy Williams spoke with a wry smile of her early days in Las Vegas, reminiscing about the late 1940s in great detail as if it were yesterday. She arrived in Sin City in 1948 as an 18-year-old dancer, thinking her stint would be a short two-week job at the El…  » Read more

Focus On: Partycraft Alaska

It's been a long and winding road for Kim and Greg Hunt (Click on photo to see photo gallery of Partycraft) By Zeke Jennings | The story of Greg and Kim Hunt is part fairy tale, part soap opera and 100 percent unpredictable. Even though they met and married nearly 40 years ago, the Hunts becoming co-owners of two Anchorage, Alaska party-supply stores would have seemed improbable, even to them, as recently as a…  » Read more

Peer Perspective: Nancy Williams, Williams Costume Co.

Nancy Williams Owner, Williams Costume Co. Las Vegas PPR: Where did you grow up? My dad was in the Navy, so we were here and there, but I was born in San Diego. We lived in Washington D.C., and we lived in the Philippines and different places like you do when you’re in the Navy. (The family was in the Philippines in 1940, just prior to the start of World War II.) My mother and…  » Read more

Peer Perspective: Karen Rosales, Maple City Rubber

Karen Rosales Receptionist and Customer Service Rep, Maple City Rubber Norwalk, Ohio PPR: Could you describe what your job entails?  I am on the phone for a good part of my day, taking orders, processing orders, answering questions and providing information on orders to be shipped, orders that have been shipped and providing tracking information. I also invoice and try to lend a hand where needed. PPR: What do you enjoy most about it?  I really…  » Read more

Focus On: Doolin’s

Originally an equipment rental company, Chicago business has evolved over its 54 years in operation By Zeke Jennings | Almost from day one, things didn’t go as planned for John Doolin as a business owner. In 1962, Doolin purchased the amusement supply company he managed, officially renaming it Doolin Amusement Supply Co. Shortly thereafter, Doolin’s wife, Helen, died unexpectedly, making him a widower and single father. “It was kind of rough on him,” Dan…  » Read more

Peer Perspective: Donna Petracca, Dreamgirl Costumes

Donna Petracca Design Director, Dreamgirl Costumes Los Angeles PPR: What does your job entail? I design all of the women’s and men’s costumes and accessories for the Dreamgirl Costume Collection. I do the design direction for the catalogue and write the descriptions and copy. My job also includes fitting the line and working with key customers in selling the line. PPR: What do you enjoy most about it? I love the people that I work…  » Read more

Peer Perspective: Best of ...

What is the best retail advice you have received or could offer? Jennifer Davis, Balloons or Bust, Hudsonville, Michigan Customer service is essential to the success of any business. I try to go above and beyond my customers’ expectations. Responding to questions and inquiries quickly is a top priority for me, as well as following up with customers to make sure they were completely satisfied and, most of all, happy. Mark Specht, Balloons Galore and Gifts, Dayton, Ohio One thing…  » Read more

Focus On: The Ballooney Bin

It’s all about balloons and the blues for Cindy Fuller By Zeke Jennings | Cindy Fuller’s first career was dedicated to helping people. The dual career she enjoys now just helps people smile. A former social worker, Fuller rather abruptly left the field 10 years ago to open The Ballooney Bin in Jackson, Michigan, which consists of a brick-and-mortar retail store and a balloon design and delivery business. Fuller also doubles as the lead…  » Read more

Spotlight On: Louis Wittenburg Halloween & Party Supplies

Louis Wittenburg at forefront of growing European Halloween tradition By Zeke Jennings | With 115 years of history and just four owners, the Louis Wittenburg party store in Amsterdam has established longevity and stability. However, when Francesco Tijnagel bought the store in 1988, he wasn’t afraid to take it in a new direction based what he saw as a coming trend. “In the first year of owning the business, I was talking to some…  » Read more

Industry Profile: Diana Clements, July 2016

Diana Clements, president, Princess Paradise Fort Collins, Colorado PPR: What drew you to the costume industry?  Customers asking for what was missing in the market. PPR: What do you enjoy most about your job?  Designing and working with our customers. PPR: Where do you seek inspiration for new costumes?  The fabric and other markets, trend and other searches, shopping, media and research.     PPR: Do you get much feedback from customers?  Yes, and we…  » Read more

Industry Profile: Francesco Tijnagel, June 2016

Francesco Tijnagel Owner, Louis Wittenburg Halloween & Party Supplies Amsterdam, The Netherlands PPR: How long have you been in business? The store was founded in 1901. I brought the store in 1988, and I’m the fourth owner. PPR: When did you develop a fascination with Halloween and costumes? In the first year of owning the business, I was talking to some U.S. costumers who couldn’t find anything for Halloween. That was my trigger point. PPR:…  » Read more

Spotlight On: Shindigs & Celebrations

Purchase of longtime party business brings family closer together By Zeke Jennings | As the old saying goes, a family that works together stays together. Well, maybe that’s not quite the adage, but quality, productive time spent with loved ones is almost always a good thing. That’s certainly been the case for the Vaught family of Nashville. Sandra and Wayne Vaught have found enjoyable, albeit demanding, second careers as the owners of Shindigs &…  » Read more

Party People: Kelley Vaught, Shindigs & Celebrations

Kelley Vaught Employee, Shindigs & Celebrations Nashville, Tennessee Q: What drew you to this business? I attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and chose to major in communications. Fortunately for me, this major proved to be an umbrella of many things I enjoyed studying. I was able to take classes in Public Relations and Web Design and intern with event planners and marketing coordinators at the Doubletree Hotel, Alexian Brothers Health Systems and Parkridge…  » Read more

Manager’s Corner: Shawne Sheldon, Washington Park Zoo

Volunteering at the local zoo has blossomed into a career for Shawne Sheldon. Ten years ago, Sheldon began volunteering her time at the Washington Park Zoo in Michigan City, Indiana, which, at that time, didn’t even have a gift shop, but rather a gift cart. Sheldon eventually got a job working the cart, and when the zoo entrance was expanded and a gift shop was added, Sheldon, with little retail experience, was tabbed to run…  » Read more

Quick Q&A with Korynn Knight of Party Heaven

Korynn Knight’s role as manager of Party Heaven in Berkeley, California, combines several of her passions: small “mom-and-pop” businesses, creativity and comics. Knight has been with Party Heaven for nearly 10 years after previously running a small gift shop in Yosemite National Park. As Knight put it, she “loves small businesses best.” PPR: Have you always had a passion for costumes? I have always been really interested in building costumes. I am definitely a crafty…  » Read more

Industry Profile: Paula Federici, April 2016

Paula Federici Executive Buyer, Paper First Affiliates Brookline, Massachusetts Paula Federici’s time in retail dates back to college, when she started as a part-time employee at The Big Party!’s first store. Now 22 years later, Federici has held several buying positions, including as an executive buyer for Paper First Affiliates for the past nine months. Q: What are your responsibilities at Paper First Affiliates? To strengthen PFA’s merchandising position, product programs, member and vendor relationships,…  » Read more