in Philadelphia


Jun 6, 2017 - ...

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T H E M A G A Z I N E O F T H E A M E R I C A N S P E C I A L T Y T O Y R E T A I L I N G A S S O C I A T I O N • J U N E 2 0 17

TOY TIMES MAGAZINE

in Philadelphia

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The Manhattan Toy Company® Minneapolis, MN 55401 www.manhattantoy.com 1.800.541.1345

Call your sales representative to learn more

MESSAGE From the Chair

Big Tip For Meeting Your Goals by Ann Kienzle, *play

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s I write this we’ve just wrapped up the ¿UVWTXDUWHURI 1HZ
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June 2017 • astratoy.org

Features MONEY MATTERS 12 The Facts About Factoring 14 EVM Credit Card Processing... It’s Easy! 16 The Truth About MAPP 18 How Did Unified Commerce Integration Make a Difference for Five Little Monkeys? TOY STORIES 20 Conversation, Not Competition 22 Diversity Day Celebrates Neighborhood’s Makeup 24 Autopsy of a Toy Store Closing TRENDING NOW 26 Toy Store Job Benefits: Joy and Fulfillment 30 Movies are Hot Commodities in 2017 34 Interns Can Give Fresh Perspective 36 Hiring Strategies for Attracting Good Talent 40 Benefits of Hiring U.S. Citizens on Welfare

6 June 2017 • astratoy.org

ASTRA NEWS 42 ASTRA’s Retailer Benchmarking Survey ASTRA’s Marketplace & Academy 44 It’s ’APPening! ASTRA Toy App Launch 46 Fun in Philadelphia! 48 See What’s New at Marketplace & Academy 49 Meet the Slate of Candidates for the Board of Directors 50 Schedule-At-A-Glance 54 He’s Been to the Mountaintops and He’s Coming to ASTRA! 56 Educational Sessions

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Departments 5 Message from the Chair 7 President’s Report 10 Store-Front Advocates 58 ASTRA Welcomes Its Newest Manufacturer Members 66 New Members 74 Index of Advertisers

ASTRA Toy Times Magazine Mission Statement Our mission is to act as a channel of communication for the general membership of ASTRA and to provide information about current happenings and future goals as decided upon by the board of directors, various committees, and ASTRA staff. We strive to provide useful and timely information and support for and about ASTRA members in accordance with the ASTRA mission statement. We are always looking for articles and input for the magazine. Letters to the editor are welcome. Please forward letters, comments, LGHDVHWFWRWKH$675$RI¿FHDWGPDUVGHQ# astratoy.org

PRESIDENT’S Report

Summer’s Launch = ASTRA Opportunities by Kimberly Mosley

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oor Mother Nature has been so confused this year. She gave us a lovely dose of warm weather in the middle of winter, and then dumped snow on a good portion of the country in early spring. Someone, please get her a calendar. As school bells become silent, this month and next mark the launch of summer. Parents are wondering how to keep children active, educated and occupied. Parents want to limit screen time and increase family time and ASTRA members are ready to help. This issue includes a look at trends found by ASTRA UHWDLOHUVDW7R\)DLUDQGDOLVWRIPRYLHVWKDWZLOOLQÀXHQFHWR\V this year. The industry has also seen some big changes. This issue contains an informative article – lessons learned by an experienced retailer who closed his store over the past few months. Members know that the best way to build a competitive advantage is by delivering a rich customer experience. As you think about the parents and children in your community, what new experiences will you offer? ASTRA’s Marketplace & $FDGHP\FDQKHOS\RX¿QGDQVZHUV-RLQXVLQ3KLODGHOSKLD -XQH±WRFRQQHFWZLWKIHOORZPHPEHUVZKRVKDUHVLPLODU challenges. Exhibitors are excited to bring you the latest products and special members-only offers. This year, you will see more WKDQ¿UVWWLPHYHQGRUV7KHUXPRUVDUHWUXH7KHWUDGHVKRZ LVWKUHHGD\VWKLV\HDU+RXUVDUHIURPDPWRSPRQ Monday and Tuesday, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday. You are not going to want to miss a single minute.  7KLV\HDU¶VNH\QRWHVSHDNHU-DPLH&ODUNHLVDUHQRZQHG Mount Everest adventurer and successful retail entrepreneur. He draws inspiration from his life as a self-styled “adventrepreneur” and points out how in elite mountain climbing, lives are at stake, but climbers have maps and high tech weather predictions and experienced guides. In the world of entrepreneurial business however, livelihoods are at stake, but businesses often have far fewer clear indicators to support their decisions.

Members know that today’s business environment requires a responsive approach to an ever-changing marketplace and fast-paced technology advances. At Marketplace & Academy, Brett Hall of Hall of Toys will share ways to capture more “webroomers” – customers who research a product online, then seek to purchase it in a brick-and-mortar store. Emily Guffey from The Toy Store will share the psychology of buying and selling with attendees. As staff members interact with customers, what tools do they need to deliver on your promise of customer service excellence? Do they have the right tools to “delight” the customer? Don’t miss Thomas Hudgin’s session on Achieving High Staff Performance. In this session, you will hear about providing IHHGEDFNÀH[LELOLW\DQGSURIHVVLRQDOGHYHORSPHQWVRWKDW\RX can capitalize on the special talents and work ethics of your staff and help them achieve a high level of performance. You know play is powerful, but can you explain why? $675$¶V&HUWL¿HG3OD\([SHUWZRUNVKRSJLYHV\RXWKHUHVHDUFK language, and tools to discuss the science behind play. For the ¿UVWWLPH\RXFDQEHFRPHD&HUWL¿HG3OD\([SHUWDW0DUNHWSODFH $FDGHP\2IIHUHG)ULGD\DQG6DWXUGD\-XQHDQGWKLV pre-conference workshop will elevate your expertise in just two days. Lastly, consider Marketplace & Academy as an opportunity for professional as well as personal renewal. Only 100 miles from 1HZ
astratoy.org • June 2017

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Contributors T here's a wealth of knowledge in the brains of ASTRA members, and ASTRA Toy Times Magazine is always willing to share that wealth among our readers. We look for topics that will be of interest to all or any segment of our membership - retailer, rep, manufacturer or affiliate. If you have an article idea or an issue you're willing to write about, please contact Dee Marsden, [email protected] Thank you to these contributors for this issue.

Ron Solomon is the CEO of MAPP Trap, a proprietary search engine that automatically monitors more than 100,000 online sellers to find MAPP, MRP, IP Rights, Unauthorized Distribution and other policy violations. For more information on MAPP Trap or a free consultation visit www.mapptrap.com or call 303-670-5111.

Justin Howe is a husband, father, and entrepreneur out of Portland, Oregon. He sells credit card processing for Heartland Payment Systems. When he's not changing the world one ASTRA member at a time, you can find him traveling with his family, or out enjoying local eats the Pacific Northwest has to offer. To learn more about EMV, the hows, the whys, and best practices contact him at 971-295-4579 or [email protected]

Susan Jenkins is account executive at Retail Dimensions in Beaverton, Oregon and an ASTRA Preferred Savings Partner. She can be reached at 971-222-9767 or at [email protected] com. At ASTRA Marketplace, visit Retail Dimensions in the Industry Service Pavilion, Booth ISP 2.

8 June 2017 • astratoy.org

Phil Wrzesinski is a retailer, author, speaker, and teacher helping independent retailers and local businesses compete and succeed. He ran the largest independent toy store in America before closing it last fall.

Vijay Prathap and his wife, Renju, founded Bears for Humanity with three missions: bears made of totally organic materials, their “Buy One - Give One” model that gives bears to kids in need, and hiring people in the CalWorks employment program.

Toy Times Magazine Editor Mary Sisson

Assistant Editor Dee Marsden

Graphic Artist Maia VanOrman

Board of Directors Chair Ann Kienzle

Treasurer Dee Farrell

Past Chair Dean May

Secretary Christine Blumberg

Chair-Elect Erik Quam

Directors Todd Andersen Nicole Bortnick Cynthia Compton Damien Crocker Anita Demetropoulos

Tami Murphy Christine Osborne Gwen Ottenberg Michelle Sahr

ASTRA Staff President Kimberly Mosley

Marketing and Communications Specialist Dee Marsden

Director of Member Relations Sue Warfield

Meetings and Exhibits Coordinator Laura Dann

Director, Meetings and Strategic Partnerships Amanda Zawad

Membership and Programs Coordinator Gina Anzalone

Director of Education and Training Ahren Hoffman

Office Administrator Maggie Bridger

The ASTRA Toy Times Magazine is published by the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association, 432 N Clark St., Suite 305, Chicago, IL 60654, 312-222-0984, [email protected], www.astratoy.org. Copyright © 2017 American Specialty Toy Retailing Association. All rights reserved. Advertisements are accepted. For more information, contact Fahy-Williams Publishing, 800-344-0559. All articles for the ASTRA Toy Times Magazine are supplied by ASTRA and its members, with Fahy-Williams assembling and editing the newsletter, and managing the advertising sales function. ASTRA reserves the right to accept, reject, or alter all editorial and advertising material submitted for publication. Advertising in ASTRA does not imply endorsement of products and services. Opinions expressed in articles contained herein are those of the authors, not necessarily of ASTRA or its individual members. The information has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable.

astratoy.org • June 2017

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READY,forSET, PLAY... Children With Disabilities

Store-Front Advocates by Kathryn H. Lavin, MSW, Executive Director of Lekotek and AblePlay

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MONEY Matters

The FACTS About

Factoring

by Mary Sisson, editor

A

n invoice arrives for toys purchased from the ABC Toy Company. But instead of paying the ABC Toy Company, you are instructed to send payment to the XYZ Biz Company. What’s going on?  ,W¶VFDOOHGIDFWRULQJD¿QDQFLDOWUDQVDFWLRQZKHUHDEXVLQHVV VHOOVLWVDFFRXQWVUHFHLYDEOH LQYRLFHV WRDWKLUGSDUW\ FDOOHG DIDFWRU DWDGLVFRXQW7KHUHWDLOHUWKHQSD\VWKHIDFWRU7KH manufacturer typically pays the factor 3 to 5, or even up to 8 SHUFHQWRIWKHGHEW

Why use a factor? Simply put, cash flow. “If I’m going to do a 5-percent factor deal, my other recourse is … I’m going to spend money on invoicing and credit card IHHV´H[SODLQHG5RQ6RORPRQ&(2RI7KH&UHGLWRU¶V1HWZRUN and MAPP Trap. Using a factor, “I get my money faster, and this DOORZVPHWRWXUQDURXQGDQGEX\LQYHQWRU\IDVWHU´  ,IDOOWKHEX\HUVDUHRQ1HWDQGDPDQXIDFWXUHU¶VIDFWRU\ H[SHFWVSD\PHQWIRUSURGXFWVXSIURQWDFRPSDQ\ZLWKRXW enough capital faces a serious delay on the next shipment. )DFWRULQJDOORZVLW DIDVWHUVRXUFHRIFDSLWDOZKLFKFDQVSHHGXS turnaround of product.  2XWVRXUFLQJGHEWWRDIDFWRULVQRWWKHVDPHDVRXWVRXUFLQJ GHEWWKDW¶VODWHWRDWKLUGSDUW\FROOHFWLRQV¿UP,QERWKFDVHV GHEWLVOHJDOO\WXUQHGRYHUWRWKHWKLUGSDUW\,QWKHFDVHRI FROOHFWLRQVWKHWKLUGSDUW\NHHSVWKHSD\PHQWPLQXVDSHUFHQWDJH  :LWKIDFWRULQJGHEWWKDWLVQRWRYHUGXHLVERXJKWE\WKH IDFWRULQJFRPSDQ\ZKLFKFKDUJHVDSHUFHQWDJHRIWKHGHEW6RPH EXVLQHVVHVGRWKLVZLWKLQGLYLGXDODFFRXQWVRUPRUHW\SLFDOO\WKH ZKROHSRUWIROLRLVVROG  7KHUHDUHWZRZD\VWRGRWKLV6RORPRQVDLG±UHFRXUVHDQG QRQUHFRXUVH³,ILW¶VUHFRXUVHWKH\FDQFDOOEDFNWKHPRQH\ IURPPH DVDPDQXIDFWXUHU ,ILW¶VQRQUHFRXUVHWKH\¶UHVWXFN

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for it.” The difference is the percentage paid up front. Just as KLJKHULQVXUDQFHSUHPLXPVXVXDOO\PHDQDORZHUGHGXFWLEOHD QRQUHFRXUVHWUDQVDFWLRQFRVWVPRUHEHFDXVHWKHIDFWRULV WDNLQJD JUHDWHUULVN

What happens if a retailer accidentally pays the manufacturer directly instead of paying the factor? 7KHPDQXIDFWXUHULVOHJDOO\REOLJDWHGWRWKHQSD\WKHIDFWRU 7KHGHOD\WKDWUHVXOWVPD\PDNHWKHSD\PHQWODWHDQGWKHIDFWRU LVOLNHO\WRFKDUJHWKHPDQXIDFWXUHUH[WUD Sometimes retailers accidentally pay the manufacturer EHFDXVHWKHDGGUHVVLVDOUHDG\VHWXSLQWKHLUERRNNHHSLQJRUWKH “remit to” address is not clear on the invoice.  ³3OHDVHGRQRWVWDPSRUSXWDVPDOOVWLFNHUDERXWIDFWRULQJ RQ DQLQYRLFHVLQFHLWFDQHDVLO\EHPLVVHG´UHFRPPHQGV1HULFH .HQGWHURZQHURI%XV\%HH7R\VLQ'R\OHVWRZQ3HQQV\OYDQLD ³&RQVLGHUVWDSOLQJDQH\HFDWFKLQJEULJKWO\FRORUHGQRWLFHRQWRS of the invoice instead.”  5LFKDUG%HODQJHURZQHURI6FDOOLZDJ7R\VLQ%HOOHYLOOH 2QWDULRDGGV³0DNHVXUHWKDWWKHIDFWRUDQGWKHFRPSDQ\ WKDW \RXDUHEX\LQJIURPDUHLQFRQWDFWZLWKHDFKRWKHUDQG XSGDWHWKHLU¿OHVUHJXODUO\)DFWRUVGRQRWDOZD\VFKHFNZLWK WKHPDQXIDFWXUHUWRVHHLIELOOVKDYHEHHQSDLG,WWRRNXVPDQ\ PRQWKVWRFRQYLQFHDFRPSDQ\DQGWKHIDFWRUWKDWWKHELOOKDG EHHQSDLG7KHFKHTXHKDGJRQHWRWKHFRPSDQ\LQVWHDGRIWKH IDFWRU(YHQWKRXJKWKHFKHTXHKDGEHHQFDVKHG´ Solomon has found that factors are good for detecting FRPSDQLHVWKDWDUHLQWURXEOHDVWKH\GRLQFUHGLEOHFUHGLW FKHFNLQJ  7KDWGRHVQ¶WPHDQDPDQXIDFWXUHUZKRXVHVDIDFWRULV VWUXJJOLQJ³,WMXVWPHDQV,ZDQWP\PRQH\IDVWHU´KHVDLG³,W¶V ASTRA just another form of capital.”

astratoy.org • June 2017

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MONEY Matters

EMV Credit Card Processing

It’s Easy! by Justin Howe, Heartland Payment Systems

W

hat Is EMV?

EMV – which stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa – is a global payment standard that provides a consistent cardholder experience worldwide. Most countries have already deployed this technology elsewhere, but as of October 1, 2015, the U.S. has rolled it out as well. EMV-enabled cards contain a computer chip that is activated and read when inserted in the card reader or tapped for contactless acceptance. The chip generates a unique security code IRUHYHU\WUDQVDFWLRQPDNLQJLWPRUHGLI¿FXOWIRUIUDXGVWHUVWR recreate data. The chip and terminal create dynamic information that is sent to the card issuer. This information allows the issuer to validate that the card is genuine, decreasing counterfeit fraud. EMV applies to retail transactions. Check with your provider to see what security they have in place for E-Commerce or Card-Not-Present transactions. They should be willing to openly provide you information.

Can I Currently Offer EMV? Many credit card processing platforms are enabled to accept EMV payment; all platforms were required to by October 1, 2015. The stragglers in the situation were either the payment gateways (middle between processor and POS software) or the POS software and hardware vendors, resulting in some retailers needing to notify customers that chip readers were not yet available. Payment terminals and POS terminals need to be FHUWL¿HGE\(09&R HPYFRFRP 

What If I Can’t Provide EMV? In the event that your POS software provider or credit card processor isn’t able to offer you EMV technology that is integrated together, it can sometimes weigh in your favor to run a standalone terminal next to your POS. Most POS companies will allow you to have an “External Credit Card” button on your layout, so you can record these sales more easily. This way you are secure and have an alternative solution until they fully complete EMV integrations.

Why Use EMV? EMV payment acceptance is not a law. It is, however, a good idea to consider avoiding costly counterfeit, lost and stolen card chargebacks or potential loss of business due to consumer payment preferences. With the liability shift having gone and passed, responsibility for those potential fraud charges falls to the party using the least secure card acceptance technology. If an EMV-ready terminal is not installed, this means that the liability could shift to you and your business. By swiping a card through a non-EMV-compatible terminal, you could be facing losses due to chargebacks associated with the fraudulent charge. All retailers, regardless of size, should consider the following when deciding whether or not to implement EMV-ready terminals. • What will customer perceptions be if I don’t offer chip acceptance? • What percentage of my transactions are card present? • What percentage of my transactions are PIN debit versus credit card? • What is my cost for upgrading, updating or replacing equipment for EMV? • What is my average ticket size?

14 June 2017 • astratoy.org

Cards Over the Phone/Online While EMV is not relevant to online orders or cards taken over the phone (referred to on your statements as “CNP,” card-not-present), there are still precautions you can take to increase your security. You can have your processor set up your DFFRXQWWRUHTXLUH]LSFRGH&99DQGDGGUHVVYHUL¿FDWLRQ7KHVH are layers of security that only the true card holder would know, decreasing the chances of fraud. You could also require that items you ship out require signatures upon receipt. This will help ZLWKYHUL¿FDWLRQDQGFDQSOD\LQ\RXUEHQH¿WLIDGLVSXWHZHUHWR happen. We live in an online-driven world, and money is moving faster than ever, but please take a few minutes to review some of your security best practices to make sure we protect your money.

Things to Watch Out For • Monthly EMV fees on your credit card statement (these have snuck onto statements since the change, but are not necessary). • Overpriced EMV equipment, which typically run $200-$1,000 per unit, don’t fall victim to leases for EMV terminals or pin pads. • Unclear responses from providers (it’s simple, they either offer EMV, and can do so on X equipment and with X POS or they can’t). Make sure to get your information from good, quality sources. ASTRA

MONEY Matters

The Truth About

MAPP

by Ron Solomon, MAPP Trap

I

n the four years since launching MAPP Trap in the toy industry, we’ve dealt with hundreds of manufacturers and retailers in a wide variety of markets (including toy, juvenile, pet, gift, automotive, power tools, and more). However, while the spread of hyper-discounting and its negative effects have moved at varying speeds in different industries, the confusions about Minimum Advertised Pricing Policies (aka MAPP) have remained constant. Although it would take far more than a short article to clarify these questions, this should serve as a good start to those who are interested in the topic.

MAPP is illegal. MOSTLY FALSE. Minimum Advertised Pricing Policies are not illegal. In its Leegin Creative Products, Inc. v. PSKS, Inc., 551 US 877 (2007) case, the U.S. Supreme Court overruled a century-old precedent and held that minimum resale price maintenance is not technically illegal under Section 1 of the Sherman Act. Rather than being “per se” illegal, the court ruled that this practice should instead be subject to the antitrust “rule of reason” (which requires a case-by-case analysis). That puts the onus on the brand owner to unilaterally create and uniformly enforce its policy.

MAPP is a price-fixing scheme. FALSE. 0$33KDVQRWKLQJWRGRZLWKSULFH¿[LQJ ZKLFKE\WKHZD\ if done properly is not illegal either!) A Minimum Advertised

16 June 2017 • astratoy.org

Pricing Policy has nothing to do with the selling price of a product. It is a unilaterally determined statement that tells retailers the price at which a manufacturer’s product(s) may be advertised. Once the product gets to the check-out page or the cash register, whatever discounts the retailer wants to apply may be applied.

Retailers can be sued for violating MAPP. FALSE. MAPPs are unilateral policies created by vendors in order to defend their brands from price erosion. As such, they are not laws. However, in their policies vendors set forth the “rules” by which a retailer must play in order to remain a customer. The enforcement aspects can include a myriad of actions for violations such as removing discounts, restoring freight allowances and, ultimately, revoking the right to purchase goods from the vendor or its distributors.

MAPP is an irrevocable document. MOSTLY FALSE. As a unilateral policy, a MAPP may be amended at any time by the vendor. Changes may include increases or decreases in allowed advertised price, changes to enforcement actions, blackout periods (days or periods of time during which there is a MAPP holiday), whether shipping costs are included, if “place in cart to see price” strategies are acceptable, etc. Note, however, that manufacturers need to take reasonable steps to ensure that all of their trading partners are aware of any policy changes.

MAPP is a contract. POSSIBLY TRUE. A Minimum Advertised Pricing strategy can be a policy or an agreement/contract (unlike a Minimum Retail Price Policy which can only be a policy). A MAP “Policy” is a unilateral statement that establishes a vendor’s rules. By purchasing the vendor’s

goods, retailers are tacitly accepting the terms of that policy. A MAP “Agreement” is a contract, the terms of which must be signed by both parties. The dangers of having a MAP Agreement are that any changes must be renegotiated and agreed to by all parties. Additionally, in the cases of certain states that hold MAP to be illegal, that statement refers to MAP “Agreements,” not Policies (see Section 1 of the Sherman Act).

Amazon helps vendors to enforce MAPP. FALSE. Amazon is a consumer-centric business and, therefore, puts their buyers in the driver’s seat by allowing any and every product listing discount. They offer absolutely no help to vendors when it comes to enforcement of their policies. This lack of cooperation extends to refusing to help identify merchants’ contact information, refusing to take down product listings of MAPP violators, sluggishness in removing scam sellers and more. In certain instances Amazon may agree to delist merchants who have been proven to sell counterfeit goods, or out-of-date vitamins and supplements, but those vendors must provide irrefutable proof of their claims. Getting that proof can be time-consuming and costly.

HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW YOUR CUSTOMERS? MONITOR... Amazon, eBay, GoogleShopping and hundreds of other ecommerce sites.

IDENTIFY... unknown sellers with DBAs, telephone, emails, addresses, websites and more.

ENFORCE... policies through customizable, automated email system.

Protect your brand!

www.creditorsnetwork.com, [email protected] or call 303-670-5111

Friendly Loom™ Products

MAPP is good for retailers. TRUE. By creating, monitoring and uniformly enforcing a MAPP, vendors are not only protecting their brands from extreme price erosion and product commoditization, but they are also protecting their brick-and-mortar retailers by creating a OHYHOSOD\LQJ¿HOGLQZKLFKDOOUHWDLOHUV FDQHQMR\DQDFFHSWDEOHSUR¿WPDUJLQ Unprotected brands risk a decrease in not only the retail cost of their goods but, ultimately, decreased distribution, GHÀDWLRQWRWKHLUZKROHVDOHSULFHVDQGD loss of margin such that quality of goods and customer service become impossible to maintain. In this writer’s opinion, MAPP is the best option available in today’s market given the effects of the ASTRA Amazon disruption.

Needlepoint Coaster Kit

Traditional Potholder Kit

Fish Rug Hooking Kit

LapLoom Kit

Harrisville Designs, Inc. O harrisville.com PO Box 806, Harrisville, New Hampshire 03450 1-800-338-9415

Fax: 603-827-3335

astratoy.org • June 2017

17

MONEY Matters

How Did Unified Commerce Integration

Make a Difference for Five Little Monkeys?

Stephanie Sala

by Susan Jenkins, Retail Dimensions

T

his year, Retail Dimensions had the pleasure of delivering DXQL¿HGFRPPHUFHVROXWLRQIRU)LYH/LWWOH0RQNH\VZLWK VWRUHVLQ&DOLIRUQLDLQFOXGLQJDQHZRQOLQHHFRPPHUFH VWRUHLQWHJUDWHGZLWKWKHLU5HWDLO3UR®UHWDLOPDQDJHPHQW326 6\VWHPLQDOOIRXUVWRUHORFDWLRQV7KHVWRUH¶VVWDII6WHSKDQLH 6DODDQG6KDQD2OVRQDUHZRQGHUIXOWRZRUNZLWKDQGLW¶VQR VXUSULVHWKDWWKH\UHFHLYHGWKH$675$7R\5HWDLOHURIWKH
18 June 2017 • astratoy.org

WKHLQIRUPDWLRQLVDFFHVVLEOHWRWKHFXVWRPHUDQGPHUFKDQW ZKHQHYHUZKHUHYHU  2WKHUEHQH¿WV)LYH/LWWOH0RQNH\VUHFHLYHGIURPWKHLU XQL¿HGFRPPHUFHVROXWLRQLQFOXGH

Inventory Visibility  :KHQVHOOLQJRQPXOWLSOHFKDQQHOV LQVWRUHGHVNWRS3& PRELOHGHYLFHWDEOHW LWLVFULWLFDOWKDWLQYHQWRU\TXDQWLWLHVDUH DOZD\VFRUUHFW1RPRUHRYHUVHOOLQJ«FXVWRPHUVKDYHSURGXFWV to buy!

Multiple Delivery Options  &XVWRPHUVZDQWDVHDPOHVVVKRSSLQJH[SHULHQFHZKHWKHU WKH\EX\IURP\RXRQOLQHRURIÀLQH:LWKDXQL¿HGFRPPHUFH VROXWLRQ)LYH/LWWOH0RQNH\VZDVDEOHWRLPSURYHLWVVHUYLFHV ZLWKRSWLRQVOLNHEX\RQOLQHSLFNXSLQVWRUHEX\RQOLQHUHWXUQ LQVWRUHDQGEX\RQOLQHDQGVKLSIURPVWRUH

Add-On and Upsell Opportunities  $UHVSRQVLYHZHEVLWHPHDQVWKDWRQOLQHVKRSSHUVFDQHDVLO\ ¿QGZKDWWKH\DUHORRNLQJIRUUHJDUGOHVVRIWKHGHYLFHWKH\DUH XVLQJ2QFHWKH\¿QGWKHLWHPWKH\DUHOLNHO\WRFRPSOHWHWKHLU SXUFKDVHLQWKHVWRUH7KLVEULQJVJUHDWHURSSRUWXQLWLHVIRUWKH VDOHVSHUVRQWRXSVHOODQGRIIHUDGGLWLRQDOLWHPVDVWKH\PDNHD ASTRA IDFHWRIDFHFRQQHFWLRQZLWKWKHLUFXVWRPHUV

TOY Stories ASTRA’s Foundation:

Conversation, Not Competition

by Mary Sisson, editor

L

olly Randall was involved with ASTRA almost from the beginning. The principal of Lolly & Company, a Seattle UHSJURXSMRLQHGZLWKLQWKH¿UVW\HDU³,WZDVWKH¿UVWWLPH really, that groups of retailers got together and shared information in a positive way,” she said.  6KHUHFDOOVKXJHFRPSHWLWLRQLQWKHWR\LQGXVWU\³$675$ really helped foster that camaraderie between everyone.” She’s seen in her own Northwest region how working together can EHQH¿WWKHZKROHJURXS  ,QVWHDGRIFRPSHWLWLRQ/ROO\KDVIRXQGWKDWFRQYHUVDWLRQ between people in the toy industry has been one of ASTRA’s

20 June 2017 • astratoy.org

Lolly Randall

ELJJHVWEHQH¿WV6KHPHQWLRQHGDQHDUO\FRQYHQWLRQLQ$UL]RQD with 200 attendees, where everyone gathered around the pool EHWZHHQPHHWLQJVDQGGLQQHU³(YHU\ERG\ZDVWDONLQJWR HYHU\ERG\´VKHVDLG³3RROWLPHZDVZKHQSHRSOHH[FKDQJHG ideas.”  7KDWH[FKDQJHFRQWLQXHGORQJDIWHUWKHFRQYHQWLRQ:HVW &RDVWPHPEHUVZRXOGOHDUQIURP(DVW&RDVWPHPEHUVDERXW WUHQGVWKDWZHUHGRLQJZHOO:KHQ3RNHPRQ¿UVWKLW³LWZDV UHGKRWRXWKHUH:HKDG(DVW&RDVWSHRSOHJRLQJµ:KDW¶VWKLV 3RNHDWKLQJ"¶´ More than following trends, though, ASTRA has sought

to give independent retailers a place in the industry, Lolly said, especially in the face of both big box and smaller toy store chains. “What could they do to be different and be valuable to their retail customer? And how could reps and vendors support that?” A rep in her group worked with the FRPPLWWHHWKDWZURWH$675$¶V¿UVWERRN on toys for kids with special needs, back when computer use was in its infancy. “This is a place where our stores can shine,” Lolly said. In fact, several of the stores in her territory were opened by SDUHQWVZKRKDGDKDUGWLPH¿QGLQJWR\V for their children with special needs. After the toy recalls of 2007, when Congress and state legislatures reacted with toy safety bills, Lolly was in the front lines, making sure the industry was heard. The Washington legislature was considering laws that were even stricter than Congress’ CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act), so Lolly called the Toy Industry Association, Mattel and Hasbro. “I said, ‘You’d better get out here for some of these states.’”  2QHFRPSDQ\VKHUHFDOOHGDW¿UVW said it could do without selling in the state of Washington. Lolly talked with legislators and journalists about the number of people who would lose their jobs in Washington if the legislation went through as proposed. Retailers and manufacturers alike organized to testify in Olympia and educate the public. “It was through my contacts at ASTRA that I knew who to call,” she said. She was there when Gov. Christine Gregoire signed the bill and remembers the governor saying it was the worst piece of legislation ever to cross her desk, but it was an election year and the bill had kids and safety in the title, so she had to approve it. As ASTRA heads to a convention where the Marketplace attracts more than 2,000 people, it’s strange to think that an early tenet of ASTRA was no trade shows because of the fear that shows would set up competition between vendors and between sales reps. “In the early days of ASTRA it was a forum where everyone worked together IRUWKHEHQH¿WRIWKHLQGXVWU\DVDZKROH´ Lolly said. Convention presentations were followed by discussion and the sharing of ideas. Usually during one session, vendors, reps and retailers would each

go to separate rooms to discuss what was going on in the industry and how they could improve. Lolly left ASTRA for a time. “The year I left was the year every single vendor on the board had gone to in-house UHSVDQG¿UHGDOOWKHLUUHSV,IHOWOLNH we really weren’t being listened to or respected.” She’s seen that change in recent years, especially with the addition of 6XH:DU¿HOGDVGLUHFWRURIPHPEHU relations. “She’s always such an

enthusiastic supporter of ASTRA. She’s helped bring back the unity of the three-legged stool.” Yet even during the years she wasn’t involved, every time she worked with a new store she’d tell the owners that one of the best things they could do for their store was to join ASTRA and go to the convention. “I think it’s a great organization from when it started out until now,” Lolly said. “Stores that don’t go to Marketplace & ASTRA Academy are really missing out.” astratoy.org • June 2017

21

TOY Stories

Diversity Day

Celebrates Neighborhood’s Makeup

S

ince opening Oodles 4 Kids four-and-a-half years ago, Carolyn Miye has celebrated Chinese New Year in her store every winter. But this year, looking at the diverse mix of neighbors in her neighborhood in Portland, Oregon, she decided to expand and throw a Diversity Day. “I felt that it was time to celebrate the fact that our country is made up of so many diverse cultures and that’s what makes our country so beautiful and multicultural,” she said. “I was helping to represent what our neighborhood’s perspective is.” The neighborhood responded with enthusiasm. She was surprised by how many people, when asked if they’d be interested in sharing their culture, were excited to do so. A dozen countries were represented, each with a food, a craft,

Abbasse Bodian teaches kids a game from his native Senegal.

22 June 2017 • astratoy.org

a game or a combination of those. A Lebanese man who had contacted her through LinkedIn on a whole different topic got his wife involved, sharing Lebanese food and tying hijabs on kids. The Pakistani proprietors of the UPS store down the street did henna tattoos. Sales rep Mary Morrison brought homemade shortbread and offered coloring and games to represent Scotland. One station featured Japanese mochi, a traditional treat made of pounded rice, soy sauce and sugar. Neighborhood kids taught others to do origami. A woman with a local tortilla company made homemade tortillas and quesadillas.

2RGOHV.LGVRZQHU&DURO\Q0L\HLVÀDQNHGE\HPSOR\HHV%REEL6HWWMHOHIW UHSUHVHQWLQJ'HQPDUNDQG&KULVWLQH*ULPP Someone representing American Indians taught rock painting, showing children how to make hieroglyphs and helping them create their own codes. An Israeli woman made greeting cards with children featuring the Hamsa hand design. A neighbor from Senegal played rock games with the young customers. An employee with Danish roots led a woven paper heart craft. Chinese New Year still had a presence, with kids using chopsticks to pull Safari Good Luck Minis from bowls of rice, and the store passing out traditional oranges and lai see, red HQYHORSHV¿OOHGZLWKJROG chocolate coins. Between 250 and 300 people came to Oodles 4 Kids for the event. “It was packed,” Miye said, noting that her Chinese New Year celebrations had topped out closer to 200. She’d started planning in November, with the aid of a friend who helps her organize events. The diversity event was in late January. They used that time to recruit, organize,

get supplies, and market through store handouts, emails, Facebook posts, and posters around the neighborhood. “I was helping to represent what our neighborhood’s perspective is, and focus on the fact that we all want to celebrate that diversity and

we really treasure what makes this country great,” she explained. “People all day long were commenting, saying how meaningful it was to them,” she said. “The shop is in a tight, cohesive neighborhood. This really created a lot of goodwill ASTRA for the store.”

Alexis Khoury, formerly of Lebanon, shows a neighborhood girl how to tie a hijab. astratoy.org • June 2017

23

TOY Stories tories

Marble Run

The Hubelino marble run offers unmatched gaming adventures and loads of fun. From simple structures to complex runs infinite variations can be built. A particular advantage of the connecting system is that nothing can slip or tip over and the marble always rolls to the ultimate goal. The little builders deal with gravity and acceleration in a playful way and sharpen their fine motor skills and logical thinking.

Educationally valuable from the Huge fun for children age of four other 100% compatible with interlocking brick toys supplements Wide range of sets + ASTRA´S 2017 y Marketplace & Academ PA Philadelphia, June 25-28, 2017 Booth Number: 1162 „meinbaukasten GmbH“

s!

Visit u

Made in Germany

Toy House and Baby Too

Autopsy of a

Toy Store Closing by Phil Wrzesinski, Phil’s Forum

T

hey say hindsight is 20/20. Doing an autopsy on Toy House and Baby Too, I see three tipping points in the past eight years where a different decision might have resulted in a different outcome.

Declining Births I teach a class for new and expectant daddies at our local hospital. That gives me access to birth numbers for our county. From 2001 to 2007 that number remained relatively unchanged, less than 3 percent difference from the norm over those seven years. In 2008, however, births plummeted by 25 percent.  $W¿UVW,WKRXJKWLWZDVDQDQRPDO\,ZDVZURQJ)ROORZLQJDQDWLRQDOWUHQGRI declining birthrates, that new number stayed consistent for 2009 through 2014. Seven straight years of having 25 percent fewer births than the previous seven years. The FXPXODWLYHHIIHFWZDVDVLJQL¿FDQWORVVLQP\SULPHSRSXODWLRQEDVH±FKLOGUHQ However, 2007 was a record year for us for topline sales, 2008 was only off a OLWWOHDQGZDVDUHFRUG\HDUIRUERWWRPOLQHSUR¿WV7KHUHFHVVLRQDQGWKHKRXVLQJ crisis would have been great excuses for radically downsizing the store to what the new economy would support. But we were not looking far enough ahead to see the effect of declining births.

Loss of the Line of Credit

www.hubelino.com

24 June 2017 • astratoy.org

In June 2011 our bank called in our line of credit. For 42 years we had a line of credit with no missed payments, and they wanted their money back ASAP. They were in the process of being sold to a larger bank and needed to clear all lines of credit. We were DEOHWRFRPHXSZLWKVRPHFUHDWLYH¿QDQFLQJWRFRYHUWKDWQRWHEXWLWZDVDKXJHEORZ WRRXUFDVKÀRZDQGDKXJHFKDQJHWRKRZZHKDGWRUXQRXUEXVLQHVV Keeping a store well-stocked with an average inventory over $500,000 at cost was tough enough. Without an LOC it was an incredible challenge. We needed a lighter and OHDQHULQYHQWRU\EXWZHGLGQ¶WDGMXVWIDVWHQRXJKFDXVLQJDORWRIFDVKÀRZKHDGDFKHV the next few years.

The December to Forget

Looking Back

In spite of the decline in population and sales, we started to see growth again in 2014. That fall was spectacular. Double-digit increases in sales September through November had us pumped for December. We projected a modest 5 percent growth. Instead of being up, we were down 13 percent for the month. It was the worst December since the 1970s. I still don’t know exactly why we had such a lousy Christmas. Our inventory and advertising and staff were no different than the previous three months. Was it Amazon? People shopping early? The looming construction projects planned for downtown? What I do know is that we had a ton of inventory and not a lot of cash in January 2015. Two months later the city started a huge project, tearing out the entire main downtown road for a nine-month construction project. We were on the north side of the downtown and were effectively shut off from the south parts of the city and county (where all the money lives). With the construction hampering WUDI¿FZHFRXOGQRWGLJRXWRIRXUFDVKÀRZKROH,QIDFWZLWK the construction continuing all through 2016, the more we dug, the deeper we got.

Our local economy was shrinking. Along with the population loss, average household income in the county was plummeting; dropping more than 20 percent since 2007. It was even worse inside the city limits. Average household income dropped to $27,342. Yes, almost poverty. Our market is now roughly half what it was in 2007. Our VWRUHQHHGHGWREHVLJQL¿FDQWO\VPDOOHUWKDQWKHVTXDUH foot building we were in, without becoming “this is not the Toy +RXVH,UHPHPEHU«´WREHSUR¿WDEOHLQWKLVHFRQRP\ We had three points where downsizing would have made perfect sense not only from a business standpoint, but from a community standpoint – in 2009 during the Great Recession, in 2011 when we lost the LOC, and after the 2014 December to Forget with the major construction projects looming. Would we still be in business had we made those changes then? Nothing is certain. A loss of 50 percent of your market is a tough challenge for anyone. But our chances of survival would have gone up dramatically. Change is inevitable. The truly visionary retailers are looking for reasons to change, even when times are good. Sometimes the tea leaves are hard to read, but if you are expecting change, you are more likely to see the triggering events as they happen. ASTRA

VISIT BOOTH #329 OR DE R TH ES E & 9 MO RE KITS CO MI NG TH IS FALL! LEGO® MAKE YOUR OWN MOVIE AVAILABLE JUNE 1ST!

LEGO, the LEGO logo, the Brick and Knob configurations and the Minifigure are trademarks of/sont des marques de commerce de the LEGO Group. ©2017 The LEGO Group. All rights reserved. Manufactured by Scholastic Inc. under license from the LEGO Group.

astratoy.org • June 2017

25

TRENDING Now

Joy

Toy Store Job Benefits and

Fulfillment Leah Pickering

by Mary Sisson, editor

M

om and pop stores can’t always compete in the workplace on WKHVDODU\RUEHQH¿WVODUJHU businesses provide. But they can offer HPSOR\HHVLQWDQJLEOHEHQH¿WVWKDWKDYH VWD\LQJSRZHU  $IHZ\HDUVDJRDWRXUWR\VWRUH .D]RRGOHV,LQWHUYLHZHGWZRZRPHQ IURPELJER[EDFNJURXQGVIRURQH PDQDJHU¶VSRVLWLRQ(DFKKDGVRPDQ\ RXWVWDQGLQJTXDOLWLHV,ZDQWHGWKHPERWK DQGFRQYLQFHGWKHPWRMREVKDUH,DOZD\V IHOWDSRORJHWLFWKDW,FRXOGQ¶WJLYHWKHP PRUHKRXUVRUKLJKHUZDJHV But they’ve made it clear they loved it at our store. They have both done LQFUHGLEOHZRUNZLWKDJHWLWGRQHHWKLF WKH\EURXJKWIURPPDQDJLQJDWWKHELJ ER[HV%XWWKH\ZHUHIUHHRIWKHELJER[ pressure cooker and felt part of the small

VWRUHIDPLO\ZKLFKLQFOXGHVERWKVWDII and customers. Both have admitted to WKHIUHHGRPRIEHLQJDEOHWRSXOOLQWRWKH SDUNLQJORWDQGQRWIHHODIUDLGIRUZKDWWKH GD\ZRXOGEULQJ  7KH\DUHQRWDORQHLQORYLQJWKH OHVVWDQJLEOHEHQH¿WVRIZRUNLQJLQDQ independent toy store. Here are the stories RI¿YHZRPHQIURPDFURVVWKHFRXQWU\ ZKR¿QGIXO¿OOPHQWEH\RQGWKHSD\FKHFN Full disclosure: One of them is Leah 3LFNHULQJPDQDJHUDWP\VWRUH

Loved in California  ,IVRPHRQHKDGWROG.HOO\%KLUGRLQ law school in 1987 that one day she would EHRSHUDWLRQVPDQDJHUDWDWR\VWRUHVKH¶G KDYHWKRXJKWWKH\ZHUHFRFNH\HG  %XWDIWHUOHDYLQJWKHGD\WRGD\ SUHVVXUHVRISUDFWLFLQJODZPHHWLQJWHQVH GHDGOLQHVDQGEHLQJDURXQGSHRSOHZKR WKLQNHYHU\WKLQJLVOLIHRUGHDWKVKHORYHV where she works and who she works with. At Cheeky Monkey Toys in Menlo 3DUN&DOLIRUQLDVKH¶VVHFRQGLQFRPPDQG

DIWHURZQHUV'H[WHUDQG$QQD&KRZ “When they aren’t here it falls in my ODS´VKHVDLG6FKHGXOLQJVKLSSLQJDQG UHFHLYLQJUHFRQFLOLQJELOOVWRRUGHUV UHFHLYHGDQGVRPHRIWKHEX\LQJDUHKHU duties all the time.  ³,ORYHLWDQG,WKLQNWKH\ORYHPH EHFDXVHWKH\NHHSPHKHUH´VKHVDLG³, IHHODSSUHFLDWHGZKLFKQRWHYHU\RQHFDQ VD\ZLWKUHJDUGWRWKHLUSURIHVVLRQ,IHHO, PDNHDGLIIHUHQFH´ Her career also included a few \HDUVPDQDJLQJD'LVQH\VWRUHZKLOHVKH ZDLWHGIRUKHUODZOLFHQVHDIWHUPRYLQJWR &DOLIRUQLD³,¶YHEHHQDEOHWRXVHWKDWRQ DVPDOOHUVFDOH,WKLQN´VKHVDLG³$OOWKH WKLQJVWKDW,ZDVPDGHWRLPSOHPHQWE\ WKHFRUSRUDWLRQ,FDQPDNHGHFLVLRQVRQ ,QVWHDGRIEHLQJDFRJLQWKHZKHHO,FDQ GULYHWKHWUDLQ´  2QHRIWKHJUHDWHVWWKLQJVDERXWKHU career choice is that the Chows understand WKHÀH[LELOLW\RIIDPLO\OLIHDQGRIKDYLQJ DOLIHVDLG%KLUGRPRWKHURIWKUHH ³:KHQDNLG¶VJRWDGHJUHHIHYHU WKH\XQGHUVWDQG7KH\KDYHNLGV´  6KHIHHOVDVHQVHRIDFFRPSOLVKPHQW HYHU\GD\³,QHYHUORRNDWWKHFORFN :KHQ,GRRKP\JRVK,¶YHJRWWDJR, KDYHNLGVWRSLFNXS´

26 June 2017 • astratoy.org

$IWHUWDNLQJFDUHRIVLFN UHODWLYHVDQGYROXQWHHULQJDWD KRVSLWDOFDUGLDFFDWKODE7UDF\ 'RXJKHUW\GHFLGHGLWZDVWLPH to move to the happier side of life. A former teacher and QRQSUR¿WGLUHFWRUVKHZHQW to work for Nerice Kendter at %XV\%HH7R\VLQ'R\OHVWRZQ Pennsylvania.

ougherty

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Happy in Pennsylvania

Making a Difference in Minnesota Bekki Pizana fell into the toy industry by mistake with a job WKDWODQGHGLQKHUODSDFRXSOHRI\HDUVDJR$QRI¿FHPDQDJHU for a construction company, she needed something different, fresh DQGLQFUHGLEOHVKHVDLG+HUMRE³KDGJRRGEHQH¿WVDQGDOOWKDW but it was eating away at the good parts of my soul.” The company apparently went under without telling anyone; one day the door was padlocked. About that time Toy Genius nearby in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, was opening a store and owners Maria and Jeff Singman needed a manager. “I very much loved my store,” Bekki said. The Singmans modeled values at work. And they expanded her education, taking her to Toy Fair.

When she moved to Minnesota to be closer to family, Todd Andersen of Hub Hobby was looking for a manager for his Little Canada location, and Bekki was hired. Comparing work in the toy world with her previous job is like night and day, she said. “The largest difference, those are people spending money and doing things they have to do rather than what they want to do … I feel like I’m making a difference for the good.” The hobby end is all new to her, but she loves seeing employees and customers light up with excitement, whether WKH\¶UH¿[LQJVRPHWKLQJWKH\DOUHDG\KDYHRUEX\LQJVRPHWKLQJ new. “It’s so cool to see people being out in the world doing stuff rather than on their phones,” she said. After experiencing Toy Fair, she said of the toy industry, “It’s a huge community but close knit. People know each other and treat each other well.”

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“I love the family atmosphere. I love that we are part of the community,” she said. “You get to know the customers. When you see them outside of the store, you remember them and they remember you.” She works weekends because she enjoys the busy days of customer interaction. “I love helping customers choose gifts, and I love wrapping presents because they’re for children.” She recalled a little girl who walked into the store recently, looked around and exclaimed, “YAY!” “It’s a happy place,” she said. “You go in happy and you leave happy.”

ki

Piz ana

astratoy.org • June 2017

27

Artistic in Illinois Olivia Saunders grew up in Oak Park, Illinois, and seven of her 26 years have been spent in Oak Park’s favorite toy store, Geppetto’s Toy Box. Now the manager, she said, “I work for people that I love, that I want to work for, that I stand behind.” Those people are Eric and Brandy Masoncup. Olivia has a special bond with their daughter, Trÿn, who is the same age as the store – 11. Olivia has babysat her since Trÿn was tiny. “The biggest part,” Olivia said, “is working for a company that I’ve grown up with, I know the ins and outs of – it’s really part of me.” Oak Park is full of young families who move from Chicago, and “to be the toy store in this community is really cool.” Olivia rarely goes anywhere without running into young customers. Coming from an artistic family, she’s been able to put her talents to use in Geppetto’s, painting murals, doing art events with kids, and merchandising product. “They give me free rein, XQOHVVLW¶VDELJÀRRUPRYH´

working graveyard if they needed her. It meant rushing to the store to help move millions of dollars’ worth of meat into a trailer when the generator went out during a power outage – and doing so with her small son in her grocery cart because she had no backup childcare. It even meant cutting short a long-awaited trip to New Orleans after 24 hours because another store needed her assistant and no RQHHOVHZDVIXOO\WUDLQHGWR¿OOLQ Big emergencies would come up, and salaried managers had to handle them. “It’s important and somebody needs to do that job, but it doesn’t have to be me right now.” Working at Kazoodles in Vancouver, Washington, for an hourly wage means less money, but more freedom. “While there’s the same level of accountability, I do not feel as though (the owners) own all of my time.” She likes being able to plan, not just vacations, but doctor’s appointments and excursions with her son and other homeschool families. At the big box, she’d look at people who were in the positions she was heading for, and she didn’t see pleasure or happiness in many of them. “My desire to be happy is greater than my desire to have money,” she said. She appreciates a mom-and-pop store’s genuine approach to customer service. “We treat everyone with respect. You can’t preach customer service and treat employees poorly. “There’s no emotional cost here. I feel like it’s all ASTRA emotional reward.”

Olivia Saunders

Feeling Free in Washington In 11 years at a big box store, mostly in management, /HDK3LFNHULQJGLVFRYHUHGWKDWWKH³ÀH[LEOHVFKHGXOH´VKH was promised meant being available all day, any day. It meant

Pomegranate’s mission is to invigorate, illuminate, and inspire through art.

Publisher of unique puzzles, games, coloring books, and so much more Looking forward to seeing you at ASTRA Marketplace!

Image from Jill Mayberg: Red Vines Floor Puzzle

www.pomegranate.com

28 June 2017 • astratoy.org

800 227 1428

Easy Weaving on the Go!

Visit us at Astra Marketplace Booth #700 TO ORDER:

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TRENDING Now

Movies are

Hot Commodities in 2017

I

f movie licenses seemed to prevail at Toy Fair this year, perhaps the reason LVWKHSOHWKRUDRIIDPLO\IULHQGO\¿OPV slated for release in 2017. Movie licensing is in the director’s chair at big boxes this year. The question for specialty retailers is how much of that licensing will create blockbusters in their stores. Here are some of 2017’s movies that toy sellers should keep an eye on, with or without popcorn.

“The LEGO Batman Movie” Released Feb. 10 from Warner Bros. Bruce Wayne must deal with the usual suspects as they plan to rule Gotham City, while discovering that he has accidentally adopted a teenage orphan who wishes to become his sidekick.

“Kong: Skull Island” Released March 10 from Warner Bros. A team of scientists explores an uncharted LVODQGLQWKH3DFL¿FYHQWXULQJLQWRWKH domain of the mighty Kong, and must ¿JKWWRHVFDSHDSULPDO(GHQ

“Beauty and the Beast”

“Spark: A Space Tail”

Released March 16 from Disney A monstrous-looking prince and a young woman fall in love in this fairy tale adaptation.

Released April 14 from ToonBox Entertainment Spark is a wisecracking teen living on an abandoned planet with his friends Chunk and Vix. The action-packed animated space odyssey is an epic adventure about becoming the hero you were born to become.

“Power Rangers” Released March 26 from Lionsgate A group of high school students, infused with unique superpowers, harness their abilities in order to save the world.

“The Boss Baby” Released March 31 from DreamWorks A suit-wearing, briefcase-carrying baby pairs up with his 7-year-old brother to stop WKHGDVWDUGO\SORWRIWKH&(2RI3XSS\ Co. It’s loosely based on the picture book of the same name by Maria Frazee.

“Smurfs: The Lost Village” Released April 7 from Sony Pictures In this animation, a mysterious map sets Smurfette and friends on a race through the Forbidden Forest, leading to the discovery of the biggest secret in Smurf history.

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” Released May 5 from Marvel Studios Volume 2 continues the team’s adventures as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage.

“King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” Released May 12 from Warner Bros. Robbed of his birthright, Arthur comes up the hard way in the back alleys of the city. But once he’s pulled the sword from the stone, he is forced to acknowledge his true legacy, whether he likes it or not.

“Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul” Released May 19 from 20th Century Fox $+HIÀH\IDPLO\URDGWULSWRDWWHQG Meemaw’s 90th birthday party goes hilariously off course thanks to Greg’s newest scheme to get to a video gaming convention.

“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” Releases May 26 from Disney Captain Jack Sparrow searches for the trident of Poseidon.

30 June 2017 • astratoy.org

astratoy.org • June 2017

31

“Wonder Woman”

Retailers See

Trends for 2017

Releases June 2 from Warner Bros. An Amazon princess leaves her island home to explore the world, and in doing so, becomes one of the world’s greatest heroes.

“Captain Underpants” Releases June 2 from DreamWorks This adaptation of Dav Pilkey’s books centers on two mischievous kids who hypnotize their mean high school principal and turn him into their kind-hearted, elastic-banded comic book creation.

The animated action-comedy sees a ninja WHDPLQJZLWKIHOORZWR\VWR¿JKWDQHYLO warlord, who also happens to be his father.

“My Little Pony: The Movie” Releases Oct. 6 from Lionsgate Hasbro’s magical horses hit the big screen.

“Thor: Ragnarok” Releases Nov. 3 from Marvel Studios and Disney Thor must face the Hulk in a gladiator match and save his people from the ruthless Hela.

“Cars 3” Releases June 16 from Disney Lightning McQueen sets out to prove to a new generation of racers that he’s still the best race car in the world.

“Transformers: The Last Knight” Releases June 23 from Paramount Humans and Transformers are at war, Optimus Prime is gone, and the key to saving the future lies buried in the secrets of the past, in the hidden history of Transformers on Earth.

“Despicable Me 3” Fidgets and slime. Fairies and mermaids. Rainbows and unicorns. These are some of the trends ASTRA retailers reported seeing all over Toy Fair 2017.

Releases June 30 from Illumination Entertainment Balthazar Bratt, a child star from the 1980s, hatches a scheme for world domination.

“STEM toys are still going strong, but CODING is the new word on every package,” commented Cynthia Compton of 4 Kids Books & Toys in Indiana.

Spider-Man: Homecoming

“Cats,” said Kate Noreen of MudPuddles Toys & Books in Oregon. Those range from Sushi Cats to Pusheen, Pom Pom Kitties, Pop Sockets art Caticorns and more. She also mentioned blind boxes, superheroes, scented items and food characters as must-haves for the year. “Tassels are coming,” predicted Brandy Masoncup of Geppetto’s Toy Box in Illinois, and so are “orangey colors (coral and persimmon) and yellow. Llamas are coming, as is cactus.”

Releases July 6 from Marvel Studios and Columbia Pictures Following the events of “Captain America: Civil War” (2016), Peter Parker attempts to balance his life in high school with his career as the web-slinging superhero.

“The Emoji Movie” Releases July 28 from Columbia Pictures Gene, a multi-expressional emoji, sets out on an animated journey to become a normal emoji.

“Blazing Samurai” Releases Aug. 4 from Open Road Films A dog dreams of becoming a great warrior and saving the gown of Kakamucho from becoming the litter box of a nefarious feline warlord.

“The LEGO Ninjago Movie” Releases Sept. 22 from Warner Bros.

32 June 2017 • astratoy.org

“Justice League” Releases Nov. 17 from Warner Bros. Fueled by his restored faith in humanity DQGLQVSLUHGE\6XSHUPDQ¶VVHOÀHVV act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy.

“The Little Mermaid” Releases Nov. 17 from Disney A young reporter and his niece discover a beautiful and enchanting creature they believe to be the real mermaid in this OLYHDFWLRQ¿OP

“Ferdinand” Releases Dec. 15 from Blue Sky Studies and 20th Century Fox After Ferdinand, a bull with a big heart, is mistaken for a dangerous beast, he is captured and torn from his home. Determined to return to his family, he rallies DPLV¿WWHDPWRWKHXOWLPDWHDGYHQWXUH

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” Releases Dec. 15 from Disney +DYLQJWDNHQKHU¿UVWVWHSVLQWRDODUJHU world in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Rey continues her epic journey in the next chapter of the saga.

“The Croods 2” Releases Dec. 22 from DreamWorks A sequel to the 2013 movie, “The Croods 2” follows a family of cavemen as they hunt for a new house in the midst of their neighbors dying off.

“Cruella” Releases Dec. 22 from Disney This is based on the steely and well-appointed villainess Cruella de Vil ASTRA from 101 Dalmatians.

TRENDING Now

Interns Can Give

Fresh Perspective

L

ooking to hire an intern this summer? Internship programs are a smart recruitment strategy for small businesses, allowing you to get extra help for the summer and possibly train a future hire. But an internship is a professional development opportunity for the student, not just low-cost help for the employer. You shouldn’t seek out an intern if you just need a part-time staffer. An intern, however, can help you identify a future store manager and give your current managers a resource with newly trained business practices and a fresh perspective on operations. The best internships provide a structured training and evaluation program overseen by a manager or store owner. It will take several weeks to recruit and hire an intern, so the further in advance you plan, the better. Here are six tips to help guide you through the process of setting up an internship program.

Review Your Needs Remember, an intern will be looking for good experience, so be sure your needs match those of the intern’s. Ask yourself the following questions. • How can an intern help you with your business goals? • Do you have enough work to support an intern? Think about short-term and long-term assignments. • What ramp-up and ongoing training can you provide? • What about seasonal highs and lows? Could you use an intern beyond the summer months?

Some internship programs have a defined evaluation process that you will complete. Select a start date and end date for the program.

The Recruitment Process Post the position on job boards. Also, many schools and colleges operate internship programs through their career services RI¿FHVLQH[FKDQJHIRUVWXGHQWFUHGLWV&RQWDFWORFDOVFKRROV to learn more about any programs they offer. You can also seek references for your business from college professors or staff members. It is often useful to approach colleges that you know or have attended.

Paying Interns While there are a few exceptions to the rule, the Fair Labor 6WDQGDUGV$FW )/6$ GH¿QHVWKHWHUP³HPSOR\´YHU\EURDGO\ and interns are most often viewed as employed. Therefore, interns must be paid at least the minimum wage and overtime compensation for hours worked over 40 in a workweek. In addition, many of the labor laws that apply to employees, such as workplace discrimination laws, also apply to interns. You must also ensure you comply with workplace health and safety laws. Some states also require that you carry workers’ compensation insurance for interns. Don’t let the overhead of starting an internship program be a deterrent. Follow the steps to start an internship and your EXVLQHVVZLOOEHEHQH¿WWLQJIURPWKHH[WUDVHWVRIKDQGV±DQG IUHVKSHUVSHFWLYHV±LQQRWLPH ASTRA

Define the Program Similar to hiring a full-time employee, you’ll need to prepare DMREGHVFULSWLRQZLWKGH¿QHGUHVSRQVLELOLWLHVDQGOHDUQLQJ objectives. The program you design should have at least one project that will be assigned to the intern with long-term goals. You’ll want to consider who will supervise the intern (manager, store owner). Make sure the proposed supervisor has time to effectively manage the participant. Define how the intern will be evaluated at the end of their assignment.

34 June 2017 • astratoy.org

• https://www.sba.gov/blogs/how-set-internship-programyour-small-business?leavingSBA=http://www.naceweb.org/ Press/Releases/Intern_Hiring_Up_8_5_Percent.aspx • https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/234138 • https://www.internships.com/employer/resources/ setup/12steps

astratoy.org • June 2017

35

TRENDING Now

Hiring Strategies for Attracting

Good

Talent

I

f customer experience is the secret sauce to successful retailing, people are the sauce’s key ingredient. The retail industry must transform its approach to lure new talent into the store. That was the message in the opening keynote panel at the National Retail Federation’s “Big Show” in New York in January. Retail talent can play a pivotal role in driving sales, and the industry must make retail exciting to job seekers, reported Judy Mott in the Small Business Administration article, “Retail Customer Experience.” “I believe retail is the most exciting and dynamic industry in the U.S.,” the article quotes Kip Tindell, chairman of The Container Store. “It’s the nation’s top employer and key driver of growth and a pillar of the local community. Great people make great business.” The largest private sector employer in the country, retail is expected to add another million jobs by 2022, according to NRF. Yet the Big Show panelists said retail isn’t viewed as an attractive career, and retailers need to boost training and career advancement opportunities in order to recruit and retain capable workers.  ³3HRSOHDUHWKHVHFUHWZKHWKHULW¶VUHGH¿QLQJWKHLQVWRUH experience or creating the customer experience for the 21st century,” Tindell said. “People are shaping what’s ahead in retail. There is a misconception about retail jobs, yet no other job opportunity offers so many chances to touch people’s lives.” The Container Store invests heavily in its staff. While the retail industry training standard is eight hours, The Container 6WRUHLQYHVWVIRUPDOWUDLQLQJKRXUVIRUIXOOWLPHVWDII Department store Macy’s offers leadership programs for employees completing one year on the job.

36 June 2017 • astratoy.org

Wooing Millennials If people are the secret sauce, recognizing how to attract and train millennials is part of the recipe. A new Deloitte survey, an aggregation of nearly 8,000 interviews with millennials in 30 countries, shows that what this group wants in the workplace has changed in the last year, according to a February article in Associations Now. While a year ago many young professionals were planning to move on, the survey found that after 12 months of political and social upheaval, those ambitions have been tempered. Here are three conclusions from the survey for businesses looking to recruit and retain millennials. 1. Underscore your stability, the article says. The majority of PLOOHQQLDOVSUHIHUIXOOWLPHSHUPDQHQWSRVLWLRQVUDWKHUWKDQ IUHHODQFHRUFRQVXOWDQWMREV-REVHFXULW\DQG¿[HGLQFRPHDUH the reasons. 2. )RFXVRQÀH[LELOLW\ While telecommuting doesn’t work for UHWDLOVDOHVMREVEHLQJÀH[LEOHZLWKVFKHGXOHVRURWKHUQHHGV can retain millennials and keep them healthier and happier. 3. (PSKDVL]H\RXUPLVVLRQ Nearly 80 percent of those surveyed DUHLQYROYHGZLWKFKDULWLHVRUQRQSUR¿WVWRGRWKHLUSDUWWR make the world a better place. And millennials believe the workplace can be a great platform for making that difference. Helping families raise healthy, productive children and aiding families whose kids have special needs can be just the reward ASTRA an employee is looking for. • “Three Ways to Woo Millennials to Your Workplace” by Emily Bratcher, Associations Now, Feb. 7, 2017 • “Customer Service is All About People” by Judy Mott, Retail Customer Experience, Feb. 3, 2017

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2017

#220

Booth #220 Come see

what's new

Vehicles

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What makes Sago Mini special? 1'(%$"!/*()%#'('+! 1'#%*$!)( 1'!+,.(%'.%*'*()%#'( 1 (!$%'(&!").

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TRENDING Now

Benefits of

Hiring U.S. Citizens on Welfare

by Vijay Prathap, Bears for Humanity

Dear ASTRA Community,

M

y name is Vijay Prathap, chief giver and founder at Bears for Humanity. We are a social commerce company based in California. We manufacture VDIHSHUFHQWFHUWL¿HGRUJDQLFSURGXFWVFUHDWHMREVIRU Americans, and give back to children in need through our Buy One Give One program. I am writing this open letter to the ASTRA community to VKDUHWKHEHQH¿WVWR\RXUFRPSDQ\DQGRXUFRXQWU\RIKLULQJ U.S. citizens who are on welfare. At Bears for Humanity, we hire women, men and at-risk mothers and fathers through a program called CalWORKS, a welfare-to-work program in California. As of today, we have successfully hired, trained and retained more than 15 full-time employees from the welfare-to-work program. By the end of 2017, we will hire more than 30 full-time employees, moving U.S. citizens from economic dependence to independence. We are a company that believes in creating jobs for fellow Americans. This is one of three pillars of our mission. In DGGLWLRQWRVHUYLQJRXUPLVVLRQWKHUHDUHWKH¿QDQFLDO EHQH¿WVRIKLULQJTXDOL¿HGDQGZLOOLQJ$PHULFDQVIURP ZHOIDUH$VDFRPSDQ\ZHUHFHLYHIHGHUDOWD[EHQH¿WVDQG work subsidies. The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a Federal tax credit available to employers for hiring individuals from certain target groups (e.g. unemployed veterans or supplemental security income recipients) who have FRQVLVWHQWO\IDFHGVLJQL¿FDQWEDUULHUVWRHPSOR\PHQW

40 June 2017 • astratoy.org

• Employers can receive a tax credit up to 40 percent of qualified wages paid in federal income taxes. • For some target groups, employers can receive wage reimbursement for the first six months. The WOTC works with many community partners. Visit www.doleta.gov/business/incentives/opptax/ to learn more. Hiring from a welfare-to-work program is not complicated. Nearly every state, city and/or county has human services departments responsible for administering welfare-to-work programs. Google “welfare-to-work” and the name of your VWDWHWR¿QGPRUHLQIRUPDWLRQ Yet, even greater than the tax incentive, these programs help ZRUNHUVPRYHIURPHFRQRPLFGHSHQGHQFHWRVHOIVXI¿FLHQF\ At Bears for Humanity, our employees are proud Americans who wanted an opportunity to make a good living, live with respect as taxpaying U.S. citizens, and create a path for success for their children. Many of the employees we have hired are pursuing their dreams and, I am proud to say, their new life began at Bears for Humanity. I hope to inspire you by sharing my personal hiring H[SHULHQFH
News

ASTRA’s Retailer

Benchmarking Survey

by Sue Warfield, director of member relations

I

ndependence! To our ASTRA retailers it’s a wonderfully free feeling, but it can also be lonely. You leave the corporate world to follow your passion and it’s a celebration. Then reality hits. Who do you ask to determine if you are going in the right direction with inventory levels, sales per square foot, rent, employee costs — the list is nearly endless and you are totally responsible. Where do you go to determine how you can improve and how you stack up against some of the most successful stores? Where do you get the statistics you need for growing your business and negotiating lease terms and bank loans? Benchmarking can help! Benchmarking is comparing one’s business processes and performance metrics to industry bests and best practices from other companies. Though there are many benchmarking surveys done of retail businesses, the cost of purchasing one of these reports, for any business model, is always in the hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. While the information gained from WKHVHVXUYH\UHSRUWVLVEHQH¿FLDOLWLVQRW VSHFL¿FWRWKH$675$LQGHSHQGHQWUHWDLO model. What if you could get a report, not only of our industry as a whole, but also an individualized report on your own statistics alongside the appropriate industry comparatives (such as total UHYHQXHVTXDUHIRRWDJHVWDI¿QJFRVWV etc.)? What if you could get this for free, just by completing a form with your data ²VHQWGLUHFWO\WRDQRXWVLGH¿UPWKDW specializes in business analytics?

42 June 2017 • astratoy.org

Dean May, Toys Unique, Dallas, Texas: "I used the results of ASTRA’s Benchmarking Survey while negotiating a 5-year extension on our store lease. I was able to show my landlord how the rental rate he was seeking simply didn’t compute from a percentage of sales relative to similar specialty toy retailers. He ultimately agreed and proposed a lesser rent increase. Over the 5-year term we saved tens of thousands of dollars....all because of the ASTRA Survey."

Mary Sisson, Kazoodles, Vancouver, Washington: "I just love, love, love it when I have facts to back up what I’m telling my landlord. She wanted us to renew our lease for five years and I whipped out the survey to show her that we pay too much in rent compared to the average ASTRA retailer. This isn’t a gut feeling; it’s right there in black-and-white. When the opportunity comes to take the survey, please take it! You’ll be giving valuable information to all of us. We won’t know your particulars, but all that information combined paints a picture we can’t get anywhere else."

Linda Hays, Hopscotch Toys, McMinnville, Oregon: "Your individual information is completely confidential. No one in the ASTRA community ever sees it. The ASTRA office sees the industry numbers, not the individual numbers. Those are for you only. You will get your analysis back as well as a side-by-side comparison to the rest of the industry broken down by volume and profitability. So valuable! If you have a POS that does reports, you should be able to fill out the survey really easily. If you don’t have a POS It’s still well worth the effort. The information that you will receive regarding the strengths and weaknesses of your business can pinpoint places that you are literally bleeding out the life blood of your business, and the places you can create transfusions. It is worth hundreds if not thousands of dollars and takes half an hour to a couple hours of your time. I have participated every year that it has been in existence, and the story it told me just last January when I put all of those numbers together has helped me re-direct my business in ways that are already showing huge impacts."

A dream? No! This is exactly what you can get by participating in ASTRA’s upcoming Retail Benchmarking Survey.  :HKDYHKLUHGDQHZ¿UP,QGXVWU\ ,QVLJKWVWRFRQGXFWRXUVXUYH\WKLV\HDU With the retail environment changing as quickly as it has over the past few years, it is even more crucial to be on top of your game. ,QGXVWU\,QVLJKWVKDVGRQHDQGFRQWLQXHVWR do surveys for The Toy Association and the World Pet Association among others, many of which relate directly to our industry or to our retail model.  7KLVLVRQHRIWKHJUHDWHVWEHQH¿WV of your ASTRA membership. All the information you provide is completely

FRQ¿GHQWLDO±VHHQRQO\E\,QGXVWU\ ,QVLJKWV+HUHLVZKDWSDVWSDUWLFLSDWLQJ ASTRA Retailers say about how they have EHQH¿WHGIURPWKHUHVXOWV  ,I\RXHYHUKRSHWRH[SDQGKDYLQJ those numbers for a bank loan is invaluable. The survey has already gone out to RXUUHWDLOPHPEHUVYLDHPDLO,I\RXGLG not see it or missed it, please contact Sue :DU¿HOGYLDHPDLODWVZDU¿HOG#DVWUDWR\ org or via phone at 312-955-9043 and she will send it to you. The deadline for completion is June 30. Just do it. You’ll be so happy ASTRA you did!

Meet the new slate of candidates for the

Board of Directors

Amy Saldanha

(Retailer) is founder and CEO of kiddywampus, a specialty toy retailer and destination for families in the Twin Cities. Prior to founding and running kiddywampus in 2006, Amy practiced law as a civil litigator in Chicago, followed by stints in operations and talent management at several digital start-ups. Amy graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College with a bachelor’s degree in political science and speech communications. She also holds a social sciences degree in political philosophy from the University of Kent in Canterbury, England. She earned her JD from Valparaiso School of Law. Amy also serves on the Board of Trustees at The Blake School, and the Boards of ResourceWest and Hopkins Business & Civic Association. She and her husband, Kenneth, have three children, all of whom are active at kiddywampus.

Kevin McGrath (Manufacturer) has spent close to 30 years in the specialty toy business. As the former president of the James Galt Company Inc. (Galt Toys), in

1997 he founded the specialty toy company Galt America which in 2008 became The Original Toy Company – founded by Kevin and his wife Susan. Kevin has truly been a die-hard supporter an advocate for the specialty toy trade and industry all of his business career within the toy industry. He has been active with ASTRA since its original foundation and creation and has been specialty supporter and friend

to his sales representatives and retail customers throughout the years. Kevin has been quoted to say many times, “We are all living in an ever-changing retail world; if we are to survive we all must work together to secure, support and build an industry that will offer a secure future for all those who work and make a living within the specialty toy trade.’’ ASTRA astratoy.org • June 2017

43

Marketplace & Academy June 25-28

It’s ’APPening! ASTRA Toy App Launch

W

e have some big news! ASTRA is launching an app. The ASTRA Toy app will launch just before our arrival in Philadelphia to bring you faster, easier access to all things Marketplace & Academy while you’re at the show. Ditch the traditional Show Guide and immerse yourself in our all-inclusive ASTRA Toy app – plus, it’s the green way to go! :HWKLQN\RXZLOO¿QGWKHDSSWREHDSHUIHFWFRPSDQLRQDV\RX learn, explore, network and shop at Marketplace & Academy. All the information you need is one tap away!  7KH$675$7R\DSSZLOODOORZ\RXDFFHVVWRWKHÀRRUSODQ show specials, a live newsfeed, education scheduler and much more. The app will be updated throughout the show to keep you up-to-date and in-the-know.

It will include these exciting features. • Show Guide – Search an up-to-date directory of all exhibiting companies, available sessions and speakers and other events happening at Marketplace & Academy. • Appointment Scheduler – Create and manage appointments RQDQGRIIWKHVKRZÀRRUGHVLJQLQJDFRXUVHRIDFWLRQIRU the show.

44 June 2017 • astratoy.org

• Agenda Builder – Create an itinerary of education sessions and review the descriptions and speaker information. • Notes – Add notes regarding exhibiting companies. • Automated Matching – Connect with exhibitors based upon demographic information and search for exhibitors by company name or product category. • Floor Map±1DYLJDWHWKHVKRZÀRRUZLWKHDVH • Express Registration Barcode – Access your registration barcode easily so that you can pick up your badge at any Express Registration counter at the show. • Scan Exhibitors – Scan your favorite exhibitors’ QR codes to add them to your “myExhibitors” list. • Reminders – Schedule reminders so you never miss an appointment or session again. • New Product Showcase – View new products submitted by exhibitors in the new product zone of ASTRA’s Marketplace. • Social Media – Stay up-to-date with the latest show news via access to ASTRA’s social media accounts right from the app. Are you ready to download the ASTRA Toy app? The app will be available for both iOS and Android users ASTRA by May 15!

ASTRA’S MARKETPLACE & ACADEMY

ASTRA in Philly!

Local Tips from Crazy Aaron’s PuttyWorld, sponsor of ASTRA’s Philly Ambassador Program

P

hiladelphia is Crazy Aaron’s KRPHWRZQVRLWRQO\¿JXUHVWKDW KHVKRXOGEH$675$¶V3KLOO\ DPEDVVDGRU+H¶VSXWWLQJWRJHWKHUDOLVW RI3KLOO\IDYRULWHVDORQJZLWKDIHZRIKLV RZQVXJJHVWLRQVIRUDFUD]LHUWDNHRQWKH &LW\RI%URWKHUO\/RYH+HUH¶VD VQHDNSHHN

Sightseeing COOL %HRQWKHORRNRXWIRU:LOOLDP3HQQRQFH \RXJHWQHDUWKHLFRQLF&LW\+DOODW%URDG DQG0DUNHW+HUH¶VDKLQWORRNXS 6661 Germantown Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19107 CRAZY COOL &KHFNRXW3KLOO\¶VXQRI¿FLDO PDVFRW5RFN\%DOERDDQG UHFUHDWHKLVIDPRXVWUDLQLQJUXQXSWKH VWDLUVDWWKH3KLODGHOSKLD0XVHXPRI$UW 2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy. Philadelphia, PA 19130

Noshing LUNCH COOL *UDEOXQFKDWWKH5HDGLQJ7HUPLQDO 0DUNHWZLWKSOHQW\RITXLFNIRRGRSWLRQV ULJKWQH[WWRWKH&RQYHQWLRQ&HQWHU )DYRULWHVDUHWK6WUHHW&DQWLQD%HLOHU¶V 'RQXWVDQG)O\LQJ0RQNH\%DNHU\ 51 N. 12th St. Philadelphia, PA 19107 CRAZY COOL *RDOIUHVFD&KHFNRXW3KLOO\¶V ³XUEDQEHDFK´DW6SUXFH 6WUHHW+DUERU3DUN,WIHDWXUHVFRORUIXO KDPPRFNVÀRDWLQJJDUGHQVDQGEHDXWLIXO OLJKWVDORQJZLWKDPD]LQJIRRGDQGGULQNV IURPSRSXODU3KLOO\UHVWDXUDQWV 301 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd. Philadelphia, PA 19106

46 June 2017 • astratoy.org

CHEESESTEAKS COOL 7HVWRXWWKHLQIDPRXVULYDOVLQ 3KLODGHOSKLD¶VRQJRLQJFKHHVHVWHDNZDU² 3DW¶VYV*HQR¶V²DQGGHFLGHZKR¶V UHDOO\WRSV Pat’s: 1237 E Passyunk Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19147 Geno’s: 1237 E Passyunk Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19147 CRAZY COOL 6KK&KHFNRXW-LP¶V6WHDNVRQ DINNER 6RXWK6WUHHWIRUWKHUHDOZLQQHU COOL DQGFDWFKVRPHORFDOFRORURQRQHRI 7KHUH¶VQRVKRUWDJHRIJRRGIRRGLQ3KLOO\ 3KLOO\¶VPRVWIDPRXVVWUHHWV 6RPHDGYHQWXURXVIDYRULWHVLQFOXGH7DSDV 400 South St. Philadelphia, PA 19147 DW-DPRQHUD$VLDQDW'LP6XP*DUGHQ DQGWRSQRWFK,VUDHOLIRRGDW=DKDY,QWKH PRRGIRUPRUHVWDQGDUG$PHULFDQIDUH" COOL +LWXS6PRNLQ¶%HWW\¶VRUWKH.K\EHU3DVV &KHFNRXWWKHEUDQGQHZ0XVHXPRI 3XEIRUJUHDW%%4DQGPRUH WKH$PHULFDQ5HYROXWLRQDPXVWVHHIRU Jamonera: KLVWRU\EXIIVDQGDQDZHVRPHH[SHULHQFH 105 S. 13th St. Philadelphia, PA 19107 LQWKHKHDUWRIKLVWRULF3KLODGHOSKLD Dim Sum Garden: 101 South Third St. Philadelphia, 1020 Race St. Philadelphia, PA 19107 PA 19106 237 St. James Pl. Philadelphia, PA 19106 Smokin’ Betty’s: CRAZY COOL 116 S. 11th St. Philadelphia, PA 19107 7KH0WWHU0XVHXPKHOSVWKH Khyber Pass Pub: SXEOLFDSSUHFLDWHWKHP\VWHULHV 56 S. 2nd St. Philadelphia, PA 19106 DQGEHDXW\RIWKHKXPDQERG\ZKLOH XQGHUVWDQGLQJWKHKLVWRU\RIGLDJQRVLV CRAZY COOL DQGWUHDWPHQWRIGLVHDVH,W¶VZRQGHUIXOO\ )RUXQLTXH$VLDQIRRG\RX FUHHS\ ZRQ¶WVRRQIRUJHWFKHFNRXW 19 S. 22nd St. Philadelphia, PA 19103 WKHÀDJVKLS+DQ'\QDVW\LQ2OG&LW\ DQGDVNIRUWKH'DQ'DQ1RRGOHV )RU Stay tuned for more crazy cool DPHPRUDEOHPHDO DQGVRPHRIWKHEHVW suggestions from Crazy Aaron. 0HGLWHUUDQHDQIRRG\RX¶OOHYHUHDW \RX Thank you to Crazy Aaron's PuttyWorld, ZRQ¶WZDQWWRPLVV.DQHOOD6RXWK ador ASTRA's Philly Ambassador HAN Dynasty: 123 Chestnut St. Program Sponsor. Philadelphia, PA 19106 Kanella South: 757 S. Front St. Philadelphia, PA 19147 ASTRA

Culture

ASTRA’S MARKETPLACEE & ACADEM ACADEMY

See

What’s New

at Marketplace & Academy

W

e’ve expanded our attendee offerings at Marketplace & Academy to help you make the most of your time at the show and take DGYDQWDJHRIWKHUHVRXUFHVDQGEHQH¿WV ASTRA offers. Here’s what’s new!

Industry Service Pavilion Retailers, manufacturers and reps alike should make it a priority to stop by the Industry Service Pavilion for the latest tools, technologies and resources to streamline their specialty toy businesses. This new pavilion features complimentary all-day beverages, conversational seating and a collection of business-boosting exhibitors to help your business thrive. Enjoy a beverage break and recharge both your electronics and your soul. While some of the booths will feature ASTRA Preferred Savings Partners such as Retail Dimensions, others – including Hobby Town Corporate and ShopToys365 – will offer options to consider for adding value to your everyday operational needs. Check out the full list of participant booths on the ASTRA website. For an example of exhibitors, check RXWWKHDUWLFOHRQXQL¿HGFRPPHUFHRQ page 18.

Neighborhood Toy Store Day Experience Experience the magic and excitement of Neighborhood Toy Store Day (NTSD) OLYHRQWKHVKRZÀRRULQRXULQWHUDFWLYH toy store. That’s right, we’re building a WR\VWRUHRQWKHVKRZÀRRU complete

with hands-on product demonstrations, enthusiastic staff, giveaways and more!  :DONLQVLGHDQG\RX¶OO¿QG complimentary planning resources, hot products and special offers from specialty-focused manufacturers committed to making your business a success. Discover the wealth of complimentary resources at your disposal and meet specialty-focused manufacturers committed to making your Neighborhood Toy Store Day the best yet. The fun doesn’t stop there! On your way out, pledge to participate and be entered to win $500 towards your Neighborhood Toy Store Day celebration. %2186EHRQHRIWKH¿UVWUHWDLOHUVWR walk through the experience and receive a complimentary swag bag of goodies. You’ll come away with BIG ideas and best practices to kick-start your fourth-quarter sales. Pledge to participate and join our community of retailers who make play their business on the second Saturday of November.

New Product Nook Looking for new products and new vendors? Then look no further than our New Product Nook, a collection of the latest toys, games and children’s products on the market. No glass-enclosed cases here! Our showcase allows you to see, touch and explore new, never-before-seen products out of the box and all in one place. Be sure to jot down your favorites, look for them in the aisles, and stock up on your next best sellers! ASTRA

Fun facts about Neighborhood Toy Store Day 2016 • 24% of participating retailers saw 5-10% sales increase. • 28% of participating retailers saw between 15-30%. • 20% of participating retailers reported a sales increase of 50% or more (some as much as 400%). 48 June 2017 • astratoy.org

ASTRA’s Marketplace & Academy is generously sponsored by the following companies Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors

Bronze Sponsors

astratoy.org • June 2017

49

ASTRA’S MARKETPLACE & ACADEMY

Schedule-At-A-Glance All events will be held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center unless listed otherwise.

FRIDAY, JUNE 23

2:00pm – 2:15pm Smart Break Sponsored by

10:00am – 5:00pm CPE Workshop Day 1

SATURDAY, JUNE 24 8:00am – 5:00pm CPE Workshop Day 2 9:00am – 5:00pm Registration Open 6:00pm – 8:00pm Meet and Greet Circ Bar at Philadelphia, Marriott Downtown

SUNDAY, JUNE 25 7:30am – 5:00pm Registration 8:00am – 9:00am New Member and First-Time Attendee Breakfast B Sponsored by

8:00am – 9:00am Continental Breakfast 9:15am – 10:00am Opening Ceremonyy Sponsored by

3:30pm – 5:30pm Kit Session Sponsored by

5:45pm-6:45pm Exhibit Hall Sneak Peek (invitation only) Sponsored by

7:00pm – 10:00pm Opening Block Party The Field House and Filbert Street Join your industry friends and colleagues for a neighborhood block party in the heart of downtown Philly. We’re shutting down Filbert Street for an evening of live music, games and activities. Come hungry and sample the best of Philly cuisine inspired by the famous Reading Terminal Market. Wear your pretzel necklace with pride and visit our beer truck to choose from over 40 draft beers on tap at the show’s kick-off party. (Entry is included as part of Full Conference registration) Sponsored by

MONDAY, JUNE 26 7:00am – 6:00pm Registration Open 7:30am – 8:00am Breakfast Buffet

Sponsored by

8:00am – 9:30am Annual Business Meeting & Awards Presentation

10:15am – 11:45am Morning Workshops

9:30am – 5:00pm Trade Show Open

11:45am – 12:45pm Networking Lunch

9:30am – 5:00pm Headshot Photo Booth

10:00am – 10:15am Smart Break

Sponsored by

1:00pm – 5:00pm Afternoon Workshops/Breakout Sessions

Sponsored by

9:30am – 5:00pm My ASTRA Center Membership has its benefits! Stop by during trade show floor hours to relax, use the free Wi-Fi,

50 June 2017 • astratoy.org

charge your phone, or grab some water. Be sure to see the full gallery of product finalists in the running to be named one of the 2017 Best Toys for Kids and vote for your top picks. Voting is open to ASTRA retailers only.

9:30am – 5:00pm Neighborhood Toy Store Day Experience Experience the magic and excitement of Neighborhood Toy Store Day (NTSD) live on the show floor in our interactive toy store.

9:30am – 5:00pm Industry Service Pavilion This new pavilion features complimentary all-day beverages, conversational seating and a collection of business-boosting exhibitors.

9:30am – 5:00pm New Product Nook Are you looking for new products and new vendors? Then look no further than this new area on the show floor that features a collection of the latest toys, games and children’s products on the market.

11:30am – 1:30pm Lunch on the Trade Show Floor 2:30pm – 3:00pm Ice Cream Break Sponsored by

5:00pm – 6:00pm Game Night Reception 6:00pm – 8:30pm Game Night Sponsored by

TUESDAY, JUNE 27 7:30am – 5:00pm Registration Open 8:00am – 8:30am Continental Breakfast 8:30am – 9:30am Breakout Sessions continued on page 52

ASTRA’S MARKETPLACE & ACADEMY

Schedule-At-A-Glance 9:30am – 5:00pm Trade Show Open 9:30am – 5:00pm Headshot Photo Booth Sponsored by

9:30am – 5:00pm My ASTRA Center !$" /`b 5OZZS`g

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Membership has its benefits! Stop by during trade show floor hours to relax, use the free Wi-Fi, charge your phone, or grab some water. Be sure to see the full gallery of product finalists in the running to be named one of the 2017 Best Toys for Kids and vote for your top picks. Voting is open to ASTRA retailers only.

9:30am – 5:00pm Neighborhood Toy Store Day Experience Experience the magic and excitement of Neighborhood Toy Store Day (NTSD) live on the show floor in our interactive toy store. See NTSD specials in action with live demos from our sponsors Ann Williams, Blue Orange Games, Crazy Aaron's PuttyWorld, Green Toys, HABA USA, Mindware Wholesale, Neat Oh!, International LLC, Orb Toys, Thames & Kosmos

9:30am – 5:00pm Industry Service Pavilion This new pavilion features complimentary all-day beverages, conversational seating and a collection of business-boosting exhibitors.

9:30am – 5:00pm New Product Nook

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52 June 2017 • astratoy.org

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 28 7:30am – 12:00pm Registration Open 8:00am – 8:30am Continental Breakfast 8:30am – 10:00am Keynote Speaker: Above All Else: The Power of Passion Jamie Clarke, Adventrepreneur and Owner of Out There Adventure Centre and LiveOutThere.com com Sponsored by

10:00am – 4:00pm Trade Show Open 10:00am – 4:00pm My ASTRA Center Membership has its benefits! Stop by during trade show floor hours to relax, use the free Wi-Fi, charge your phone, or grab some water. Be sure to see the full gallery of product finalists in the running to be named one of the 2017 Best Toys for Kids and vote for your top picks. Voting is open to ASTRA retailers only.

10:00am – 4:00pm Neighborhood Toy Store Day Experience Experience the magic and excitement of Neighborhood Toy Store Day (NTSD) live on the show floor in our interactive toy store.

Are you looking for new products and new vendors? Then look no further than this new area on the show floor that features a collection of the latest toys, games and children’s products on the market.

10:00am – 4:00pm Industry Service Pavilion

11:30am – 1:30pm Lunch on the Trade Show Floor

10:00am – 4:00pm New Product Nook

2:30pm – 3:00pm Cotton Candyy Break Sponsored by

4:00pm – 5:00pm Happy Hour (cash bar) !"  A^`W\YZS 2]ba

(continued from page 50)

To register for ASTRA’s Marketplace & Academy visit

www.astramarketplace.org

This new pavilion features complimentary all-day beverages, conversational seating and a collection of business-boosting exhibitors.

Are you looking for new products and new vendors? Then look no further than this new area on the show floor that features a collection of the latest toys, games and children’s products on the market.

11:30am – 1:30pm Lunch on the Trade Show Floor 3:00pm – 3:30pm Raffle Prize Drawing (on the show floor!)

ASTRA’S MARKETPLACE & ACADEMY

He’s Been to the Mountaintops

And He’s Coming to ASTRA by Mary Sisson, editor

H

e’s been to the top of Mt. Everest – twice. He’s climbed the highest peaks on all seven continents. But when Jamie Clarke gives the keynote address at ASTRA Marketplace & Academy in Philadelphia next month, he’ll be speaking on the same level as most of the audience – as a retailer passionate about getting people into an active lifestyle, not unlike toy store owners getting children into active play.  7KH&DQDGLDQDGYHQWXUHUDXWKRU¿OPPDNHULQVSLUDWLRQDO speaker, and CEO and cofounder of LiveOutThere.com, an outdoor gear store with a presence online and in an 8,000-square-foot retail space in Calgary, Alberta, will be the keynote speaker Wednesday morning, June 28. “The heart of the adventurer is the same beast as that of the entrepreneur,” he said. “On the side of a mountain when you’re leading an expedition, people’s lives are at stake. Running a retail store, people’s livelihoods are at stake.” In either case, you’re dealing with a lot of unknowns and a lot that’s beyond your control. Conditions change on the mountain, and the climbers have to dig into their resources and training to adjust. So do retailers, when items take off in popularity or market conditions shift and the retailer has to adapt. “There isn’t a day that goes by running a retail store that I don’t lean upon what I learned running my expeditions,” Clarke said. Mountain climbing isn’t the only adventure in his story. He headed a team of three crossing the Empty Quarter of Arabia by FDPHOWKH¿UVW:HVWHUQHUVWRGRVRLQIRXUGHFDGHVWUDFLQJWKH route of British explorer Sir Wilfred Thesiger. This yielded a ERRNDQGD1DWLRQDO*HRJUDSKLF¿OPRQWKHH[SHGLWLRQDQGWKH land. He has explored many nations in the eastern Mediterranean and Eastern Africa, plus shorter adventure journeys in other parts of the world, including Tibet, Borneo, Sarawak, the Peruvian Andes and the Himalayas. Clarke is the author of two books on expeditions he has led – “Everest to Arabia” (2001) and “Above All Else” (2005), which KHODWHUSURGXFHGLQ¿OP This heart for adventure had its roots in a childhood of imagination and backyard adventures. His older brother and two younger sisters were inherently a good team to play with, he said. Their mother stayed home while their father taught math and science in Calgary. Clarke would create vacations and go off on exotic trips in the backyard, with the garage as base camp and the chimney as the summit of a Himalayan peak. “I’d have to get to the kitchen ZLWKRXWWRXFKLQJWKHÀRRUEHFDXVHLWZDVPDGHRIODYD´KHVDLG

54 June 2017 • astratoy.org

As a big Star Wars fan, he’d pick up on the themes of the PRYLHVFUHDWLQJLQWHUJDODFWLFEDWWOHVZLWKKLV6WDU:DUV¿JXUHV “Our house wasn’t loaded to the rafters with plastic toys,” he recalled. “We had good toys, well-made, smart, well-thought-out toys.” He played with toys his grandfather had made for his father; toys intended to be passed down to future generations of children. He compared a kid getting his hands on a toy that’s been around for 40 years to putting a good ice ax in a climber’s hand. “It connects to a universal sense of wonder.” Like a climber tracking an avalanche, he recognizes that the digital landscape has changed retail and it’s “never going to go away – we need to join it.” Consumers’ decision-making process involves research. “If they walk through your door, they’ve made a decision to tap into your expertise.” While showrooming is an issue in his store, he said, “We have an enormous opportunity Amazon will never have and that is to build a relationship with (the customer). Amazon brings a great price and they are big and powerful, and they are beatable.” The more we embrace digital existence, he said, “the more we can appreciate analog experience – real life, human to human. It’s an important place for the toy industry and toy retailer.” He likens expedition planning to retail planning. By focusing on thousands of details ahead of time, you’re freed up to look at the goal and commit a sense of urgency to daily tactics. “It’s in the details that much opportunity can be had,” he said. His business intersects science and business, with spreadsheets, tracking and analyzing every detail, even using a heat map to see where customers move in the store and compare that to the sell-through of each area. “It doesn’t replace your gut,” ASTRA he said. “It complements that.”

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ASTRA’S MARKETPLACE & ACADEMY

Education Sessions SUNDAY, JUNE 25 Workshops 10:15am-11:45am Navigating the Wily Waters of ASTRA Marketplace Track: Business Operations Speakers: Kate Noreen, MudPuddles Toys & Books and Gaetana Schueckler, The TreeHouse Inc. Games: The Impact on Society Track: Children & Play Speaker: Mark Hauser, Top Trumps Inc. Retail Math 101: The Numbers Game Track: Financial Management Speaker: Phil Wrzesinski, Phil’s Forum Publishing, LLC The Next Disruptions: Understanding Online Impacts Within Our Industry Track: Industry Trends & Relations Moderator: Roger Bildsten, Hip Hooray, LLC Panelists: TBA Can I Give You a Lyft? Lessons Learned from the Sharing Economy Track: Sales & Marketing Speaker: Thom Singer, The Conference Catalyst Celebrate Community: Plan Your 2017 Neighborhood Toy Store Day Track: Sales & Marketing Speakers: Cassandra Forcier, Building Blocks Toys, Amy Saldanha, kiddywampus & Rob Pickering, Snapdoodle Toys Beyond Time Management: How to Get Twice the Work Done in Half the Time! Track: Business Operations Speaker: Ron Rosenberg, QualityTalk, Inc.

Breakout Sessions 1:00pm-2:00pm Hiring & Retaining Key Employees: Creating a Self-Motivated Work Environment Track: Business Operations Speaker: Thomas Hudgin, Wilmington Quality Associates Play as a Path: Emotional Intelligence from the Inside Out Track: Children & Play Speaker: Jean Bailey, National Lekotek Center former director and Dee Farrell, Neat Oh! International LLC Do You Have Assets Outside of Your Business to Fund Retirement? Track: Financial Management  6SHDNHUV$QGUHZ6WDU¿HOG -RVHSK0XUUD\))*3ULYDWH Business Client Group Trend Forecasting: Insights, Ideas & the Next Big Thing Track: Industry Trends & Relations  6SHDNHU6WHYH6WDURELQVN\'LYHUVH,QVLJKWV Low Cost Marketing Strategies: How to Make More Money & Keep It! Track: Sales & Marketing Speaker: Katherine McHenry, Building Blocks Toys

56 June 2017 • astratoy.org

Leasing a Space? Maximize Your Safety & Profit with Little-Known Lease Tips Track: Business Operations Speaker: Craig Melby, LeaseSmart, LLC

Breakout Sessions 2:15pm-3:15pm Right Brain Red: 7 Ideas for Creative Success Track: Business Operations Speaker: Tim Walsh, Getta1Games Exploring the Link Between Childhood Obesity & Child Development Track: Children & Play  6SHDNHU.LULO$OH[DQGURY*RULOOD*\P Cash is King & You are the Advisor Track: Financial Management Speaker: Phil Wrzesinski, Phil’s Forum Publishing, LLC Toy State: Industry Health & Direction Track: Industry Trends & Relations Speaker: Ron Solomon, MAPP Trap/The Creditors Network Share Your Store’s Play on Social Media Everyday! Track: Sales & Marketing Speaker: Zoë Sadler & Brian Ewing, SnapRetail Achieving High Performance Levels with the Millennial Generation Track: Industry Trends & Relations Speaker: Thomas Hudgin, Wilmington Quality Associates Why We Buy: Psychology of Buying & Selling Track: Sales & Marketing Speaker: Emily Guffey, The Toy Store

Workshops 3:30pm-5:00pm Outlook Secrets for Sales Reps Track: Business Operations  6SHDNHUV/LOOLDQ'DYLV'LYHUVH0DUNHWLQJ Game On! Using Game Design to Engage Students & Customers Track: Children & Play Speakers: Brian Turtle, Endless Games and Mariah 5RPDQLQVN\'UH[HO8QLYHUVLW\ Using LinkedIn to Build Brand, Generate Leads & Win Business Track: Industry Trends & Relations Speaker: J.D. Gershbein, Owlish Communications Posting, Tweeting & Snapping, OH MY! Track: Sales & Marketing Speakers: Marie Bonaccorse, Kinetic Vision Stand Out...or Step Aside! Track: Business Operations Speakers: Larry Mersereau, PromoPower LLC

TUESDAY, JUNE 27 Breakout Sessions 8:30am-9:30am Sales Rep Checklist: Best Practices for Manufacturers Track: Business Operations Moderators: Lillian Davis, Diverse Marketing and Donna Cregger, McManemin Companies Panelists: TBA

Publicity That Counts!

Cooperative Significance: Being an Influential Leader at Work (and Beyond) Track: Business Operations Speaker: Thom Singer, The Conference Catalyst Breaking Down Gender Stereotypes Track: Children & Play Speaker: Alice Brooks & Laurel Wider, PlayMonster Don’t Kill Your Golden Goose: Succession Plan Strategies Track: Financial Management Speaker: Larry Oxenham, American Society for Asset Protection The Internet is Not Your Enemy: Showrooming, Webrooming & You! Track: Industry Trends & Relations Speakers: Brett Hall, Hall of Toys

We us arehow the only approved Agency Ask our 22 years ofPRexperience Savings can be Preferred game-changing for Partner your business. Ask about our special ASTRA member discounts!

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How Small Toy & Game Companies Can Compete in an Amazon World Track: Sales & Marketing Speakers: Lisa Orman, KidStuff PR Management Roundtable: Proven Techniques & Practices Track: Sales & Marketing Speaker: Nick Guffey, The Toy Store How to Leverage Being a Woman in Business Track: Business Operations Moderator: Deb de Sherbinin, Women in Toys Panelists: Marcia Haut, SmartNoggin Toys; Laurie Peterson, Build & Imagine; Hilary Key, The Toy Chest & Anita Demetropoulos, Island Treasure Toys

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 28 Keynote Speaker: Jamie Clarke 8:30am-10:00am Jamie Clarke is a mountain climber, as well as the CEO and cofounder of The Out There Adventure Centre store in Calgary, and e-commerce company LiveOutThere.com. It is ranked one RI&DQDGD¶VIDVWHVWJURZLQJFRPSDQLHVE\3UR¿W*XLGH and is a Canada Post National Innovation Award nominee. His insight comes from the top of the world and the peaks of business success. IBM, Audi, Kraft and The Wall Street Journal have all EHQH¿WHGIURPKLVLQVLJKWRQSHUVHYHUDQFHOHDGHUVKLSDQGWHDP building. He inspires and informs audiences, and challenges individuals to consider their own Everest as he offers actionable ASTRA strategies for successfully reaching one’s summit. astratoy.org • June 2017

57

Welcomes Its Newest Manufacturer Members 4B&B LLC www.princesswillow.com Lago Vista, TX Princess Willow & the Magic Fairy Brush is an award-winning children’s book and light-up hairbrush set that turns dreaded into delightful, stubbornness into gladness and messy hair into well-groomed hair. Best of all, it teaches girls that TRUE beauty comes from within and makes brushing hair fun for everyone!

Arcadia Publishing www.arcadiapublishing.com Mount Pleasant, SC This May, Arcadia Publishing, the largest U.S. publisher of local and regional content, will add two new series for children ages 4-7 to their Arcadia Kids imprint: The Lucky to Live in… series and The Wise Animal Handbook series. These 41 state-based books are meant to foster intergenerational connections.

AvailTek LLC Carmel, IN The Kin-to-Kid Connection Child Safety Cards are a fun way to connect with the children in your life. They can be used as normal playing cards, double as a dice replacement, and each contain a CDC or AAP safety tip. Enjoy time together and learn ways to keep kids safe.

Batteroo Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Did you know billions of batteries that are thrown away have only used roughly 20 percent of their battery energy? What if you could instantly tap into the other 80 percent still trapped inside? Now you can with Batteroo Boost – a patented reusable stainless steel with electronics that goes over a new or used battery and extends the battery life by tapping into the 80 percent energy that is usually thrown away.

Beyond Screen Limited www.beyondscreen.com Daly City, CA %H\RQG7DEOHWLVWKHZRUOG¶V¿UVWLQWHUDFWLYHJDPHERDUGSODWIRUP targeting the educational toy market. Beyond Tablet is a large smart tablet without a display screen where children and families play JDPHVXVLQJSK\VLFDOJDPHPDSVFDUGVEORFNVDQG¿JXULQHVSODFHG on top of the object sensing and recognition surface.

blue kite Inc. dba sigikid www.sigikid-usa.com Moraga, CA Sigikid is a family-owned company from Germany, founded in 1968. We manufacture playfully different plush toys for all ages, ranging from organic baby toys to our designer plush line called Beaststown. All our baby and kids’ toys are machine washable and meet both American and European toy safety standards. www. sigikid-usa.com/pages/wholesale

Brooklyn Owl www.brooklynowl.com Brooklyn, NY Brooklyn Owl is a fashion accessory company founded by Annie Bruce as a way to make the world more colorful and cute, one accessory at a time. Annie and her daughter, Bee, designed the unicorn horns together when Bee was only 4.

Brybelly www.brybelly.com Greenfield, IN In Sub Shop, the game of competitive sandwich construction, players XVHHLJKWLQJUHGLHQWVWREXLOGXQLTXHVDQGZLFKHVWR¿OOWKHSLFN\ and particular orders of nine zany customers! The game is played on a real linen tablecloth game board, and when a player completes an order, he or she rings the real kitchen service bell. Ages 6+. Sub Shop is a product in the Imagination Generation from brybelly.

Cate and Levi www.cateandlevi.com Toronto, ON, Canada Cate and Levi is proudly handmade from premium reclaimed materials by a family-owned business.

Creative Brainworks LLC www.creativebrainworks.com Sparta, NJ As seen on “LIVE with Kelly,” Bean Bag Bucketz is the newest outdoor/indoor social toss game. B3 is the ultimate party game – it gets people up and involved, “Living it rather than watching it.” It draws friends, family and newcomers into wildly fun rivalries. Join the B3 movement today!

EnvisionkiDZ www.envisionkidz.com Littleton, CO Created by two fathers from Colorado, The Helper Hare™ is a fun character that can be helpful throughout the year. This box set includes The Helper Hare plush toy and An Easter Tradition storybook. This character and tradition will create unforgettable moments, while teaching valuable skills and encouraging your children to be helpful and good!

58 June 2017 • astratoy.org

New Manufacturer Members Extend a Holiday LLC www.ohnewyearstree.com Westmont, IL Extend a Holiday LLC presents Oh! New Year’s Tree. Eighty percent of families stay home for New Year’s Eve. Give them something special to do while they wait for the ball to drop! Turn your Christmas tree into a New Year’s Tree and wish upon the New Year! Easy, fun and unexpectedly beautiful for family and friends.

Floss & Rock flossandrock.co.uk Blackpool, United Kingdom Proudly launched at the NY Now show during August 2016, Floss & Rock is an exciting new British brand for the U.S. children’s gift and toy market. The company specializes in creating exclusive collections for boys and girls aged 10 and under. In England, “Floss” is cotton candy and “Rock” is rock candy!

Flype www.flype.com Paris, France FLYPE is the multi-award-winning physical skill toy that incredibly VSLQVDW\RXU¿QJHUWLS)/<3(HQFRXUDJHVPRYLQJDURXQGDQG develops concentration skills. It’s pocket-sized and collectible with more than 100 designs (three in a pack). Experience the FLYPE wow effect and invent your own tricks!

GaiaTree LLC www.omgaiatree.com Haiku, HI Gaia Tree LLC is committed to making the healthiest products in the eco-friendliest way. Our treexies natural rubber dolls are hand crafted, BPA, PVC, BPS, and Phthalate free. They are soft, 100-percent nontoxic, biodegradable and painted using food grade paint.

Jaq Jaq bird www.jaqjaqbird.com Mount Pleasant, SC Creativity unplugged – Jaq Jaq Bird specializes in innovative, reusable, easy-to-clean Butterstix products, a Zero Dust Chalk™. From coloring books to placemats, from the whimsical to the historical, our designs appeal to all ages. Ultimately, we seek to instill creativity and joy in the hearts of children … while keeping it unplugged.

KidsGoods LLC www.kids-goods.com Houston, TX Kids Goods LLC distributes reputable and innovative high-quality brands and lines of educational and outdoor toys and products, sourced mostly from Australia and Europe. Our brands include “Discoveroo” Educational Wooden Toys, “Twigz” Gardening Toys/ Tools specially developed for kids, and the unique “Boccadrilli” Puppet Play gloves.

Maze-O

Hear the Difference

Westco sets new higher standards for quality, safety, value, and musicality.

WESTCOED.COM HOME OF:

60 June 2017 • astratoy.org

www.maze-o.com Lino Lakes, MN Maze-O is The Mighty Maze Maker! Maze-O gets kids thinking and playing for hours as they create amazing mazes. Maze-O’s innovative shape with no clicking parts allows little engineers to be successful in building beautiful complex mazes every time they play. Maze-O supports STEM by introducing children to strategy, spatial reasoning, critical thinking, and problem solving.

Noel Shuffle www.noelshuffle.com Wilmington, NC ,W¶VDERRNLW¶VDJDPHLW¶VIDPLO\IXQ1RHO6KXIÀHLVDFKLOGUHQ¶V book and holiday game which brings families together during the Christmas season. Divide your family into two teams, choose your WHDPQDPHDQGVKXIÀHWKURXJKWKHKROLGD\V)LQGRXWPRUHDQGVHH WKHJDPHSOD\HGDWZZZQRHOVKXIÀHFRP

Orange Line Games www.statesmarts.com/about-us Arlington, VA State Smarts™ is a fun new card game from Orange Line Games LLC that educates children about the United States. State Smarts is a competitive rummy style game in which a child could easily beat an adult, making State Smarts an ideal family game. Appropriate for inquisitive minds ages 8 and up.

where imagination is limitless! Pacific Play Tents, Inc. | 2801 E. 12th Street, Los Angeles CA 90023 Check us out online: pacificplaytents.com | To l l F r e e 8 7 7. 7 2 2 . 0 0 8 3 | M a i n L i n e 3 2 3 . 2 6 9 . 0 4 3 1 We have a NEW blog! blog.pacificplaytents.com WE’RE SHOWING OFF SO MUCH NEW STUFF AT ASTRA! COME CHECK US OUT AT BOOTH #1328

New Manufacturer Members Powerup www.poweruptoys.com Lyndhurst, OH PowerUp lets consumers of all ages expand their sense of play and experimentation by adding power to familiar paper airplanes. PowerUp brings homemade paper toys into the future by adding next generation mobile controls, propulsion and tools to take imagination to new heights.

Seedling USA Inc. www.seedling.com Los Angeles, CA Loved by children and trusted by parents, Seedling develops creative activity kits that give kids the materials to craft and design their own toys, costumes, and beyond! Our award-winning products encourage kids to make their own creations that can be played with again and again. Visionaries aren’t born, they’re nurtured!

Simplay3 www.simplay3.com Streetsboro, OH Simplay3 is a new American company founded in 2016 by toy pioneer Tom Murdough, founder of Little Tikes and Step2. Simplay3 playthings are designed to spark a child’s imagination as well as provide play patterns to help build muscles DQG¿QHWXQHPRWRUVNLOOV$QGWKHLUSDUHQWV appreciate that they are built to last using a rotational molding process for unsurpassed durability and years of high energy fun!

PBS Publishing www.pbs-publishing.com Perrysburg, OH Learn the alphabet and letter sounds! The 6-foot by 7-inch Jumbo Floor Puzzle features 27 large, sturdy laminated die-cut pieces that coordinate with “The Animal Alphabet” song featured on the music CD. Sing along and learn the alphabet, consonant and vowel sounds, and more. Bonus! Print the activity ERRN¿OOHGZLWKDUWDFWLYLWLHVZRUNVKHHWV learning games, writing practice, and lyrics from the CD.

62 June 2017 • astratoy.org

Petiole Games (pronounced Pity-Oh-Lee, soft on the Lee). www.petiolegames.com Salem, MA As the Petiole connects the leaf to the stem, our goal is to connect developing minds to the real world. We develop and manufacture games that teach science, technology, engineering and math as integrated subjects with super-fun creativity!

Sleeping Bear Press www.sleepingbearpress.com Ann Arbor, MI From board books for toddlers, to thrillers for tweens, books by Sleeping Bear Press go great with any toy. With a book for each state and so much more, there is something for everyone! Stop by Booth 254 at ASTRA Marketplace to see how well books and toys play together!

Square Panda

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www.squarepanda.com Sunnyvale, CA Square Panda is a complete phonics learning system with multisensory play. Designed for ages 2-plus, the playset blends physical smart letters with a library of age-appropriate learning games grounded in research-based curriculum. Every play session guides children as they explore the alphabet, letter sounds, discover rhymes, build vocabulary and more.

Sukis MGT LLC New Providence, NJ Modern Cuddle/swatch-eeze. Luxurious/simply adorable collections. Tactile, lovable, sensory and comforting. Plush animals and lovies, plush playmat/ blankets, baby gifts and tactile sensory toys.

The Piggy Box www.thepiggybox.com Los Angeles, CA The Piggy Box is a fun and engaging bank to help kids become money smart and generous. Our easy-to-use drawer system helps children learn how to spend, save or give (donate) money, organize and arrange money, be responsible for earnings, chores, and purchases, and track spending with the free included app.

able Avail ! Now

www.tilttextiles.com New York, NY TILT Textiles Inc is a smart home textile company focused on seamlessly integrating technology into textiles to create meaningful H[SHULHQFHVIRUIDPLOLHV,WV¿UVWEUDQG6SLQ7DOHVLVWKHQH[W revolution in storytelling. SpinTales combines beautiful home textiles with an interactive augmented reality app to create magical storytelling experiences. It offers a unique, dynamic and playful experience for children and parents, with a focus on creative storytelling and educational activities.

Timex Group USA www.timex.com Middlebury, CT Learn to tell time with Timex Time Machines, a collection of watches made just for kids. Easy-to-read dials, 30M water resistance, minute markers, and adjustable elastic bands are only some of its kid-friendly features. Plus, all watches are covered with a 100-percent Worry Free Replacement Plan. Learn more at www. timex.com/timemachines

DIY E SLIM

Visit us at ASTRA Booth #400

7ROO)UHHȏ7ROO)UHH)D[ RUGHUV#RUEWR\VFRPȏwww.orbtoys.com

astratoy.org • June 2017

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New Manufacturer Members

Toy Vey Toys www.toyveytoys.com Philadelphia, PA Toy Vey Toys manufacturers and distributes holiday-themed products that promote family traditions for everyone. Our product lines contain fun, educational and family engaging activities for everyone of all ages to enjoy. Our award-winning products include Maccabee’s Hanukkah Story, the Christmas Pickle Tradition and Sam the Dancing Matzo Man.

Traveling Animals Inc www.traveling-animals.com Evergreen, CO Traveling Animals is a wildlife board game for family fun and learning using strategy and knowledge with three simultaneous levels of play. Trek actual global migration paths with spectacular artwork collecting animal cards. Players make choices for crossing migration routes; bonus and hazard spaces make the game exciting and fun.

Treehouse Fairies www.treehousefairies.com Cleveland, TN Treehouse Fairies mingles imagination and outdoor fun with an original fairy tale. Our boxed set includes a book and wooden “fairy house” for decorating. Our 4-inch fairy dolls are perfect renditions of favorite characters from the story. Treehouse Fairies is a delightful gift for fairy-lovers of any age!

Turkey on the Table www.turkeyonthetable.com Alamo, CA Turkey on the Table® is a Thanksgiving decoration and family activity that encourages the daily habit of gratitude, while also teaching the importance of giving back. Our partnership with Feeding America ensures that 10 meals are donated to people in need with every turkey sold. Start a Tradition, Give Thanks & Give Back!

Ukidz LLC d.b.a. UGears US www.ugears.us Wheeling, IL UGears are amazing and unique 3D, no-glue, self-assembly mechanical model kits that are fun to assemble as well as educational. They can also serve as decorative pieces. Although the kits come with clear step-by-step instruction, they can also be called puzzles as the challenge is always present.

Wow Toys Ltd www.wowtoys.com Isleworth, United Kingdom WOW Toys is a British brand of educative toys for preschoolers. Our range of vehicles and characters from construction, farming, fantasy and adventure comprise bright colors, exciting sounds and motorized features – all without batteries. Designed and tested to be super safe, WOW toys exceed US safety standards. No PVC, no toxic ASTRA paint, no phthalates and no small parts.

64 June 2017 • astratoy.org

New Members If any of the information below is incorrect, ASTRA truly apologizes. Please contact us immediately at [email protected]

AFFILIATE Rain Retail Software Brian King 1238 N 750 W Ste. 100 Springville, UT 84663 (801) 841-4012 [email protected] www.rainpos.com York-Jersey Underwriters Jason Welch 185 Newman Springs Rd. Tinton Falls, NJ 77224 (732) 842-2012 EXT 331 [email protected] www.toy-insurance.com

MANUFACTURERS 19 Martiens Xavier Senemaud 23-25 rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau 75001 Paris, France (336) 076-05116 www.flype.com 4B&B,LLC Bundy Renfro PO Box 5529 Lago Vista, TX 78645 (817) 739-3606 [email protected] www.princesswillow.com Arcadia Publishing Sam Joseph 420 Wando Park Blvd. Mount Pleasant, SC 29464 (843) 853-2070 EXT 171 [email protected] www.arcadiapublishing.com AvailTek LLC Terri Bogue 106 Jordan Ct. Carmel, IN 46032 (317) 572-5310 [email protected] Batteroo Inc Lakshmi Narasimhan 310 De Guine Dr. Sunnyvale, CA 94085 (510) 857-3359

Beyond Screen Limited Richard-Martin Dickinson 448 Citrus Ave. Daly City, CA 94014 (408) 712-6638 [email protected] www.beyondscreen.com

Candylab Toys Madison Cerda 2320 Elmwood Dr. SE Grand Rapids, MI 49506 (616) 252-9674 [email protected] www.candylabtoys.com

Dash Robotics Diana Helmuth 3942 Trust Way Hayward, CA 94545 (415) 373-2386 [email protected] www.kamigamirobots.com

Big Belly Banks LLC John Chesnut PO Box 218 Elizabethtown, NY 12912 (603) 504-4106 [email protected]

Cate and Levi Josh Title 136 Geary Ave. Unit 215 Toronto, ON M6H 4H1 Canada (310) 649-0936 www.cateandlevi.com

DGL Toys Daniel Dayan 195 Raritan Center Pkwy. Edison, NJ 08837 (732) 692-5159 www.dgltoys.com

Bling2o Palma Reyes 525 Broadhollow Rd. Melville, NY 11747 (516) 223-5020 [email protected]

Child’s Play Mr. Joe Gardner 250 Minot Ave. Auburn, ME 04210 (800) 639-6404 www.childsplayusa.com

E3 Publishing Meg Maguire 135 Island Estates Pkwy. Palm Coast, FL 32137 (386) 597-2099 [email protected]

blue kite Inc. dba sigikid Eva Frecea 460 Center St. 6066 Moraga, CA 94556 (925) 592-0943 [email protected] www.sigikid-usa.com

Choo Choo Shoes Bob Grubba 9 E Tower Cir. Ormond Beach, FL 32174 (386) 673-8900 Ext. 104 [email protected] www.choochooshoes.com

Edge Innovations Group, LLC Nicole Mendicino 8297 Champions Gate Blvd. Ste. 530 Champions Gate, FL 33896 (724) 331-6778 bottlefl[email protected] www.bottleflipthegame.com

Brain Games USA LLC Egils Grasmanis 19 W. 34th St. Ste. 1018 New York, NY 10001-3006 (929) 420-5477 [email protected] www.brain-games.com

CaaOcho Toys Olek Zhylin 355-4974 Kingsway Vancouver, BC V5H4M9 Canada (888) 887-8228 EXT 801 [email protected] www.caaocho.com

Envision Kidz Dzifa Glymin PO Box 601863 Littleton, CO 80163 (303) 222-0037 www.envisionkidz.com

Brooklyn Owl Annie Bruce 62 18th St. 3rd Floor Brooklyn, NY 11215 United States (347) 587-9241 [email protected] www.brooklynowl.com

Cos Dome Industries LLC Xiaoping Sun 1303 Red Tip Allen, TX 75002 (949) 371-9366 [email protected] www.cosdome.com

Extend a Holiday LLC Angela Sartori 4 East Ogden Ave. #130 Westmont, IL 60559 (630) 709-7202 [email protected] www.OhNewYearsTree.com

Brybelly William Schildman 7284 W 200 N Greenfield, IN 46140 (317) 898-4229 Ext. 118 [email protected] www.brybelly.com

Creative Brainworks LLC Philipp Elliott 77 Tomahawk Trail Sparta, NJ 07871 (973) 862-9485 www.creativebrainworks.com

Fin Fun Mermaid Megan Luthy 2018 N Holmes Ave. Idaho Falls, ID 83401 (208) 390-6695 [email protected]finfun.com

66 June 2017 • astratoy.org

Fine Family Fidgets Shari Fine PO Box 28 Greenvale, NY 11548 (516) 395-8068 [email protected]finefidgets.com

Floss & Rock Tim Hislop 7 Olympic Ct. Blackpool, FY4 4GU UK +44 01253831500 [email protected] GaiaTree LLC Tracy Bryce PO Box 81570 655 N Honokala Rd. Haiku, HI 96708 (808) 442-2486 [email protected] www.gaiatreetoys.com Gem Center USA Marcos Carrillo 4100 Alameda Ave. El Paso, TX 79905 (877) 533-7153 [email protected] www.gemcenterusa.com Haffy, LLC Maria A Yuste 333 Arthur Godfrey Rd. Ste 613 Miami Beach, FL 33140 (786) 286-1786 [email protected] www.haffykids.com Heebie Jeebies Edward Thorp 26 Garema Circuit Kingsgrove, NSW 2203 Australia (043) 961-9625 [email protected] HeyBuddyHey Pal Investments LLC Scott Houdashell 3611 S Soncy Ste. 6B Amarillo, TX 79119 (806) 584-5440 [email protected] www.eggmazing.com Imagination Starters Anne Cork 4075 Cedar Commercial Dr. NE Decar Spring, MI 49319 (866) 886-9901 [email protected] imaginationstarters.com

Infinity Product Group Drake Taylor 5502 Walsh Ln. Ste. 201 Rogers, AR 72758 [email protected]finitypg.com www.mycomfycritters.com

Kidz Games Matt Hussong 432 Val Ln. Marion, IN 46952 (762) 205-0219 www.kapitgame.com

Innovation Media Products Karen Smith 3200 NE 6th Dr. Boca Raton, FL 33431 (561) 441-1655 [email protected] products.com

Legacy Wood Works LLC Mark Donohoe 7205 Dorset Ave. St Louis, MO 63130 (314) 599-2206 [email protected]

Insight Editions Robbie Schmidt 800 A Street San Rafael, CA 94901 (415) 426-1377 [email protected] Jaq Jaq Bird Grace Paik 416 Barbadian Way Mount Pleasant, SC 29464 (224) 381-5887 [email protected] www.jaqjaqbird.com Jumboo Toys & Crafts LLP Subhashish Sen B/42, Corporate House Nr. Judges Bungalow Rd. Ahmedabad, GJ 380054 India 9.1982502704e+11 [email protected] www.jumboo.in Kevco Products, LLC Kevin McKnight 129 Grandview Rd. Springfield, PA 19064 (610) 509-6669 [email protected] www.barrelballgame.com KidsGoods LLC Dani Harpaz 2100 West Loop S Ste. 900 Houston, TX 77027 (512) 870-9717 [email protected] www.kids-goods.com

DRESS UPS FOR EVERY DAY PLAY! WASHABLE COMFORTABLE GUARANTEED

M&M Sales Enterprises Catherine Marty 7425 Chavenelle Rd., Ste 200 Dubuque, IA 52002 (563) 503-5900 [email protected] www.mandmsalesinc.com

little adventures 1/2 V 4C

Mad Pax 2.0 Tina Huber 7502 E Sage Dr. Scottsdale, AZ 85250 (602) 795-8225 [email protected] Magical Microbes Keegan Cooke 730 Roble Ave. Ste. 1 Menlo Park, CA 94025 (617) 852-6524 Maze-O Jessica Friedman 6497 Killdeer Dr. Lino Lakes, MN 55014 (952) 454-3927 [email protected] www.maze-o.com Meekins Corp Susan Meekins 221 E 35th St. Ste 3FE New York, NY 10016 (646) 791-5600 [email protected] meinbaukasten Kristian Juelich Schillerstr. 107 Berlin, 10625 Germany +49 30 33006350 [email protected]

Visit us at the ASTRA Show - Booth #1237 littleadventureswholesale.com

Melon Rind Jean Mehran 1305 Mills Ave. Burlingame, CA 9410 (650) 579-0128 [email protected] www.melonrind.com

Moderno LLC Alex Podolskiy 95a Inip Dr. Inwood, NY 11096 (858) 256-7890 [email protected] modernokids.com

Noel Shuffle Jane Rogers 5006 Randall Parkway WIlmington, NC 28403 (910) 616-9997 [email protected]fle.com www.noelshuffle.com

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67

NXT Generation Becky Nedelka 225 W Bartges St. Akron, OH 044307 (216) 938-9056 Ext. 205 [email protected] www.nxtgentoys.com

Proto.toys Tanner Yarro 2057 W 700 S Ste. 200 Springville, UT 84663 (801) 368-4650 tann[email protected] www.proto.toys

Square Panda Katie Kirsch 935 Benecia Ave. Sunnyvale, CA 94085 (650) 810-7044 [email protected] www.squarepanda.com

The Piggy Box Esther Diaz 842 S Sierra Bonita Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90036 (323) 938-0061 [email protected] www.thepiggybox.com

Ukidz LLC d.b.a. UGears US Dmitriy Zverev 148 Wilshire Dr. Wheeling, IL 60090 (847) 609-3462 [email protected] www.ugears.us

Orange Line Games Steven King 1050 N Taylor St. Unit #606 Arlington, VA 22201 (703) 371-9044 www.statesmarts.com

PunkinFutz Lisa Radcliffe 241 Waverly Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11205 (347) 577-9977 [email protected] www.punkinfutz.com

Step UP Pets, LLC Adam Schechtman 7482 Grand Lake DR Seven Valleys, PA 17360 (443) 552-5600 [email protected] www.stepuppets.com

TILT Qaizar Hassonjee 295 5th Ave., Ste. 1101 New York, NY 10016 (302) 218-9583 [email protected] www.TiltTextiles.com

UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation Scott Otto 9700 Health Care Ln. Minnetonka, MN 55343 (952) 432-1636 [email protected]

Rak Rabbit Terry Ratzell 621 Ferrell Rd. Mullica Hill, NJ 08062 (856) 725-8278 [email protected]

Stick-Lets Christina Kazakia PO Box 41044 Philadelphia, PA 19127 (215) 350-0352 www.stick-lets.com

Timex Group USA Andrea Hughes 555 Christian Rd. Middlebury, CT 06762 (469) 795-6977 [email protected] www.timex.com

Wackee Six Marc Robinson 163 S 1525 W Farmington, UT 84025 (314) 914-0009 [email protected]

Robotics Unlimited Sebastein Cotton 415 N Tarragonna Ste. A Pensacola, FL 34141 (850) 490-0063 www.robotics-unlimited.com

Suki’s Todd Rivkees 1049 Springfield Ave. New Providence, NJ 07974 (908) 790-1040 [email protected]

Santa’s Little Helper Ellie Visser 6501 E Greenway Pkwy. #103-128 Scottsdale, AZ 85254 (480) 442-7065 [email protected] www.ihelpedsanta.com

Sunny Toys, Inc Michael Eichner 7920 Stage Hills Blvd. Bartlett, TN 38133 (901) 451-7171 [email protected] www.sunnytoys.com

Palmetto Puzzle Works Daniel Diehl 8603 Kennestone Ln. Charleston, SC 29420 (843) 452-7044 [email protected] www.palmettopuzzleworks.net Petiole Games Hope Carpenter 6 Ames St. Salem, MA 01970 (978) 810-0452 [email protected] petiloegames.com PBS Publishing Liz Mullen 487 J Street Perrysburg, OH 43551 (419) 661-8700 www.pbs-publishing.com Perry Teri Toys LLC Perry Kaye 4735 Orange Dr. Davie, FL 33314 (920) 543-5055 PerryTeriToys.com Plastwood Italia srl Bernardetta Tusacciu Via Sabotino Calangianus, SS 7023 Italy 39079671460 [email protected] www.plastwood.com Powerup Shai Goitein 2201 Acacia Park Dr. Ste. 619 Lyndhurst, OH 44124 (786) 600-1752 [email protected]

Seedling USA, Inc. Katerina Burkes 923 E 3rd St. Unit 115 Los Angeles, CA 90013 (949) 556-9260 www.seedling.com Simplay3 Brian McDonald 9450 Rosemont Dr. Streetsboro, OH 44241 (330) 676-5200 [email protected] www.simplay3.com Sleeping Bear Press Audrey Mitnick 2395 South Huron Parkway #200 Ann Arbor, MI 48104 (732) 619-6221 [email protected] press.com www.sleepingbearpress.com

68 June 2017 • astratoy.org

Team A Toys, LLC Ricky Aryeh 171 Great Neck Rd.Suite 4D Great Neck, NY 11021 (917) 797-9911 Teddykompaniet Sarah Perilli 6815 Biscayne Blvd. 299 Miami, FL 33138 (786) 565-7119 [email protected] teddykompanietusa.com The Happy Puzzle Company Aron Lazarus Unit 1 Lismirrane Industrial Park Elstree RD Elstree, WD6 3EE United Kingdom 4.4208953448e+11 www.happypuzzle-global.com

Toy Vey Toys Eli Kowalski 1420 Locust St. Ste. 10F Philadelphia, PA 19102 (267) 847-9018 www.toyveytoys.com TOYosity Bill Hohns 4157 Seaboard Rd. Orlando, FL 32808 (407) 876-4595 [email protected] www.surferdudes.com Traveling Animals, Inc Donna Kautzman PO Box 592 Evergreen, CO 80437-0592 (303) 670-3481 [email protected] www.traveling-animals.com Treehouse Fairies Carol Hoops PO Box 2486 Cleveland, TN 37320-2486 (423) 596-9153 [email protected] www.treehousefairies.com Turkey on the Table April George 3000 F Danville Blvd., #247 Alamo, CA 94507 (925) 708-8034 [email protected]

WeCool Toys, Inc Ross Alber 19 N Lakeside Dr. W Medford, NJ 08055 (856) 296-9766 [email protected] Wise Lion Trading Kostya Rolin 1333 Old Span Trail, Ste. G364 Houston, TX 77054 (346) 303-2897 [email protected] www.wiseelk.us Wow Toys Ltd Peter Smith Victory Business Centre Unit 5 Isleworth TW7 6DB United Kingdom +44 (0)20 7471 0980 www.wowtoys.com [email protected] Yookidoo Yaniv Yankovich 14963 N 103rd Way Scottsdale, AZ 85255-8501 (602) 717-0757 [email protected] www.yookidoo.com ZoZbot Ken Miller 7960B Soquel Dr. Ste. 410 Aptos, CA 95003-3999 (831) 332-4363 [email protected] www.zozbot.com

RETAILERS Amix Inc. Steven See 306 S Los Angeles St Los Angeles, CA 90013 (626) 265-9555 [email protected] www.toyflakes.com Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum Alice Klute 220 E Ann Ann Arbor, MI 48104 (734) 995-5439 [email protected] www.aahom.org Big Top Raj Kapur 650 Lee Blvd. Yorktown Hts, NY 10598 (914) 393-1897 Bloomsbury Lane Toy Shoppe Crystal Newman 1 W Main St. Lancaster, NY 14086 (716) 609-2002 [email protected] gmail.com www.bloomsburylanetoys.com Cedarburg Toy Company Natasha Loos W62N583 Washington Ave. Cedarburg, WI 53012 (262) 377-7224 [email protected] Church Street Shoppe Toys Kites & More Grady Cunningham 14117 8th St. Dade City, FL 33525 (352) 521-5482 EXT [email protected] Critter Carton LLC Beverley BevenFlorez 18100 Von Karman Ave. Irvine, CA 92612 (800) 683-5358 www.critterarton.com

CSM Trading Company Stephanie Mauro 17 Heather Ct. Middle Island, NY 11953 (631) 480-5327 [email protected] Dancing Bear Michelle Boltz 13 N. 3rd Ave. Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235 Debaca Corp. dba Cliff’s Variety Terry Asten Bennett 479 Castro St. San Francisco, CA 94114 (415) 431-5365 www.cliffvariety.com Dino Dollar, LLC Glenn de Peralta 14500 Roscoe Blvd., 4th Fl. Panorama City, CA 91402 (818) 808-8704 [email protected] www.dinodollar.com Euro Gifts Inc, Richard Langlois 504 Main St. Acushnet, MA 02743 (508) 965-7503 [email protected] unpluggedtoysgifts.com Family Fun Hobbies, L.L.C. Robert Placer 731 Highway 33 Suite 3 Hamilton, NJ 08619 (609) 838-2049 [email protected] www.familyfunhobbies.com Fort Magic, LLC Erika Pope-Gusev 1748 Independence Blvd. C-1 Sarasota, FL 34234 (888) 796-7856 [email protected] www.fortmagic.com Gadgets & Gizmos Eddie Davis 482 Broadway Mall Hicksville, NY 11801 (516) 932-4342 [email protected]

70 June 2017 • astratoy.org

Game On Cody Dame 220 Westview Plaza McCook, NE 69001 (308) 345-8888 [email protected] www.gameongames.com

Ju-Ju Monkey, Inc Sara Moore 4755 W Tilghman St. Allentown, PA 18104 (484)809-9662 [email protected] www.ju-jumonkey.com

Montshire Museum of Science Barbara Mathewson One Montshire Rd. Norwich, VT 05055 (802) 649-2200 EXT 241 [email protected]

Games Unlimited Steve Banducci 810 Sycamore Valley Rd. Danville, CA 94528 (925) 838-6358 [email protected]

Kappa Toys Elizabeth Newsome 707 Fremont St. #1170 Las Vegas, NV 89101 (702) 302-9363 [email protected] kappatoys.com

My Braindom Joanne Giang 205 Basetdale Ave. La Puente, CA 91746 (626) 758-2680 [email protected]

Growing Up Melane Nelson 689 Dr MLK St. N Saint Petersburg, FL 33701 (727) 894-4769 [email protected] www.growingupstpete.com Gus’ Toys Connie Hart PO Box 250 Paola, KS 66071 (913) 259-3346 [email protected] HobbyTown Scott Hill 5429 Johnston St. Lafayette, LA 70503 (337) 981-7259 [email protected] Hopscotch Mountain Angie Molina 4108 86th St. Lubbock, TX 79423 (806) 549-1112 [email protected] Humphreys' Apparel & Toys Janet Lozo 1900 Memorial Hwy. Ste 11 Shavertown, PA 18708 (570) 674-3377 [email protected] Humphreysapparelandtoys.com Jack & Jill Barbara Vininsky 5330 Queen Mary Rd. Montreal, QCH3X 1T7 Canada

Knightstown Toys and Treasures Kevin Zeller 39 N. Washington St. Knightstown, IN 46148 (317) 409-5109 [email protected] gmail.com Lift Bridge Book Shop John E. Bonczyk 45 Main St. Brockport, NY 14420 (585) 637-2260 [email protected] Little Medical School Todd Allen 707 N. New Ballas Rd. Creve Coeur, MO 63141 (314) 724-0838 [email protected] www.littlemedicalschool.com Little Treasures Toy & Gift Suzanne Bantien 100 Cayuga St. Bellaire, MI 49615 (231) 533-6559 [email protected] www.bellairetoys.com Mind Benders puzzles & games Joel & Amy Bender 1438 119th St. Whiting, IN 46394 (219) 237-4386 [email protected] www.mindbenders.biz

Oliver’s Toys Bogdan Rogalski 2002 Central St. Evanston, IL 60201 (847) 424-1940 [email protected] www.oliverstoys.net Online Selling Dudes John Chappell 25 River Rock Way Franklinton, NC 27525 (919) 830-9170 [email protected] OTG Games Shelley Sanders 741 10th St. Santa Monica, CA 90402 (925) 386-0134 freemethegame.com Petrie’s Family Games Cameron Crawford 7681 N Union Blvd. Colorado Springs, CO 80920 (719) 522-1099 [email protected] www.petriesgames.com POSH Gifts and More Kevin Morrison 905 U S Highway 1 Ste. J L Lake Park, FL 33403 (561) 510-1278 [email protected] www.poshgiftsandmore.com Rayloco dba The Canteen Lori Stern 9 Robert Dr. Short Hills, NJ 07078 (973) 218-9099 [email protected] www.thecanteenonline.com

Red Wagon Heidi Stoltzfus 225 Harrison St. Ste. 306 Shipshewana, IN 46565 (260) 768-3090 [email protected] Sanrio Topanga Kay Seo 6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd. #1011 Canoga Park, CA 91303 (818) 704-9953 [email protected] Schoolcraft, Inc. Wilson McClellan 717 Church St. Huntsville, AL 35801 (256) 533-7070 [email protected] www.schoolcraftonline.com Sport and Hound Regina Bataille 1202 Valley Rd. Stirling, NJ 07980 (908) 580-1188 [email protected] www.sportandhound.com

Stanley Swains, Inc. Karl Wiest 537 N Glendale Ave. Glendale, CA 91206 (818) 243-3129 Star Kids Toys LLC Hiam Zhaim 586 West Hillcrest Dr. Thousand Oaks, CA 91360 (805) 379-1922 [email protected] Stevenson’s Toys & Games Roy Stevenson 69 Jobs Ln. Southampton, NY 11968 (631) 283-2111 www.stevensonstoys.com Sweet Dreams Gary Gendel 2921 College Ave. Berkeley, CA 94705 (510) 548-1050 [email protected]

Teach Right, LLC Marian Hodge 586 S Columbia Ave. Unit 11 Rincon, GA 31326 (912) 826-1681 [email protected] www.teachrightstore.com The Animal Kingdom Children’s Store Lindsay Williamson 103 S Allen St. State College, PA 16801 (814) 237-2402 [email protected] www.theanimalkingdom.com The Dock Panther Molly Laudenbach 25390 S Main St. Nisswa, MN 56468 (218) 961-1010 [email protected] The Toy Nation David Engelhard 157 Bridgeton Pike Suite 306 Mullica Hill, NJ 08062 (609) 876-9649 [email protected] www.thetoynation.com

The Wishing Well Stephanie Benavidez 6723 Greenleaf Ave. Whittier, CA 90601 (562) 464-9474 [email protected]

Toys In The Attic Christine Reddick 1 Courthouse Sq., Ste. 8 Crown Point IN 46307 (219) 262-7529 [email protected]

The Wood Shop Kevin Rieke 719 Front St. Leavenworth, WA 98826 (509) 548-4442 [email protected] www.hatshopwoodshop.com

Toytown Shari Bricks 1754 Avenue Rd. Toronto, ON M5M 3Y9 Canada (416) 783-8073 [email protected] www.fb.com/toytowntoronto

Time 4 Toys Bethany Mathis 4804 Lakeland Dr. Flowood, MS 39202 (769) 208-8667 [email protected] www.time4toysms.com

Trieberg LLC Samuel Trieger 1572 61st St. Brooklyn, NY 11219 (718) 450-3200 [email protected]

Toys & Fun at Salzburg Square Jacqueline Goohs 292 Route 101 Amherst, NH 03031 (603) 471-3820 [email protected]

Uncle’s Games, Puzzles, and More! Hans Isaacson 203 N. Washington St. Ste 200A Spokane, WA 99201 (509) 838-6242

The perfect recipe for delicious FUN!

VISIT US!

BOOTH #607 AND THE NTSD Experience INTERACTIVE ZONE

72 June 2017 • astratoy.org

www.blueorangegames.com

415.252.0372

Whistle Stop Toys Fay Harris 1132 4th St. Estevan, SK S4A 0W7 Canada (306) 634-8100 [email protected]

Unique Toys Mike & Virginia Nowak 7820 Hillside Rd. Ste 200 Amarillo, TX 79119 (806) 418-6186 facebook.com/Uniquetoysof amarillo

Why Not Toys Laura Roldan 319 Gentry Spring. TX 77373 (281) 288-9181 [email protected]

VIR Ventures Inc. Rupesh Sanghavi 19840 FM 1093 RD Ste G4 Richmond, TX 77407 (281) 249-5566 [email protected] toytooth.com

World of Toys Olga Kozhevnikova 115 N. Main St. Berlin, MD 21811 (410) 641-0601 [email protected]

Vraj Imports, LLC Kinnari Patel 4201 Tonnelle Ave North Bergen, NJ 07047 (201) 880-7533 www.whatamericabuys.com

Zaozy Shirley Joung 4495 Runway St. Simi Valley, CA 93063 (213) 550-9330 [email protected]

Wee Ones Reruns Inc Kathleen McCrady 2450 James St. Bellingham, WA 98225 (360) 733-6794 [email protected] weeonesreruns.net

SALES REPRESENATIVES Action Group Sales Lee Leibold 3210 Hill Dale Highland Village, TX 75077 (214) 760-8408 [email protected] www.actiongroupsales.com Charles Zadeh Enterprises Charles Zadeh PO Box 41 Glen Head, NY 11545 (516) 759-8479 Dukes Group, Inc. Ron Dukes 1555 Flat Mountain Rd. Fairbanks, AK 99712 (907) 457-5717 East Coast Customs Shawn Arlauckas 3000 Village Run Rd. Unit 103 #222 Wexford, PA 15090 (908) 216-3257

J. Cooper Group, LLC David Drake 25261 East Glasgow Pl. Aurora, CO 80016 (913) 669-4031 [email protected] Javilyn Sales, INC Erin Lynch 633 S. La Grange Rd. Ste # 8 La Grange, IL 60525 (708) 482-3310 [email protected] www.javilynsales.com LaFrancis Marketing Group Tim LaFrancis 213 High St. Acton, MA 001720 (781) 799-0543 www.lafrancis.com Paul Kestlinger Inc Paul Kestlinger 2 Revock Rd. East Brunswick, NJ 08816 (732) 672-9895

Petroff Sales Tanya Petroff GX Building 13301868 Glen Dr. Vancouver, BC Canada (604) 637-7878 Rep Force One, Inc. Mark Lynch PO Box 845 Oak Ridge, NC 27310 (336) 665-9999 [email protected] www.rfotoys.com SLG Sales Company LLC Susan Libby Gordon 306 Argosy Dr. Gaitherburg, MD 20878 (301) 921-9110 Stortz Toys Inc. Josh Diament 1-155 Martin Ross Ave. Toronto, ON M3J 2L9 Canada (866) 747-4191 [email protected] www.stortz.ca

Marble Run The Hubelino marble run offers unmatched gaming adventures and loads of fun. From simple structures to complex runs infinite variations can be built. A particular advantage of the connecting system is that nothing can slip or tip over and the marble always rolls to the ultimate goal. The little builders deal with gravity and acceleration in a playful way and sharpen their fine motor skills and logical thinking.

Made in Germany

100%

Educationally valuable m Huge fun for children fro the age of four other 100% compatible with s toy ck bri g interlockin plements Wide range of sets + sup

www.hubelino.com astratoy.org • June 2017

73

Toy Times Magazine, June 2017

Index of Advertisers Adora.................................................................adoraplay.com............................................45

Sago Sago Toys.............................................sagomini.com.......................................38-39

ALEX Brands...................................................alexbrands.com..................................29, 76

SentoSphere USA........................................sentosphereusa.com...............................23

American Educational Products..........amep.com.....................................................64

SmartNoggin Toys.......................................smartnoggintoys.com.............................64

Asmodee North America........................asmodee.com............2, 13, 33, 41, 53, 65

Sophia’s............................................................shopsophias.com......................................43

Baby Jack & Company...............................babyjackandcompany.com.................48

TEDCO Toys....................................................tedcosciencetoys.com............................27

Blue Orange Games...................................blueorangegames.com..........................72

Thames & Kosmos......................................thamesandkosmos.com........................11

Creditors Network......................................creditorsnetwork.com..................... 17, 49

Toy Collection / CSI Inc............................toycollectionretailer.com......................49

Delano/EPI......................................................delanoservice.com...................................30

The Toy Association..................................shoptoys365.com.....................................15

Douglas Company......................................douglastoys.com.......................................71

Toysmith..........................................................toysmith.com...............................................59

edplay magazine.........................................edplay.com...................................................74

USAopoly Inc.................................................usaopoly.com..............................................37

Fat Brain............................................................fatbraintoyco.com....................................61

Watchitude LLC............................................watchitude.com.........................................52

The Good Toy Group.................................goodtoygroup.com...................................57

Westco Educational Products...............westcoed.com.............................................60

HABA / Habermaass Corp......................HABAusa.com.............................................55

Wikki Stix.........................................................wikkistix.com................................................. 9

Harrisville Designs......................................harrisville.com............................................ 17

Winning Moves............................................winning-moves.com................................19

Haywire Group.............................................haywiregroup.com...................................69 Jax Ltd., Inc......................................................jaxgames.com.............................................51 KidStuff PR......................................................kidstuffpr.com.............................................57 Klutz...................................................................klutz.com.......................................................25 Lee Publications..........................................leemagicpen.com......................................20 Light Stax-Lazy Dog Co.............................lightstax.com.................................................. 8 Little Adventures.........................................littleadventureswholesale.com........67 Magformers....................................................magformers.com.......................................47 Manhattan Toy..............................................manhattantoy.com...................................... 3 MegaFun USA................................................megafunusa.com......................................35 meinbeukasten............................................hubelino.com.......................................24, 73

6 ISSUES 7,200+ RETAILERS a NUMBER of WAYS to

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