Friday, November 14, 2014

2000 Pounds of Candy, oh yeah!

Here's an incredible day for you!!
Imagine receiving about 2000 pounds of candy in one day....boxes all over the store, no place to hide them and no place to store all the extra candy and gifts in the back room.
That is the scenerio for a small-ish retail store when almost all the candy ordered for the holidays, as well as the ingredients for making candy all come in on the same day.
This is a yeoman's job and I have to say that our staff took care of all of this in 2 days time, while at the same time, answering the phone, waiting on customers, making sure the candy section was clean and tidy and eating their lunches as quickly as they could
New staff are always amazed at the amount of boxes which come in at Christmas time.  When the delivery truck opened his back door and we saw an 8 foot tower of candy boxes on his truck, eyes were opened in amazement, while we all took a deep breath.  That pallet of boxes was only one of three we received that day.
When you walk down the promenade in an indoor mall, you get so accustomed to seeing little corridors breaking off the main one, you simply don't think about what is going on down that-a-way.  I can tell you that the UPS and the FedEx trucks, not to mention other delivery services are pulling up to those outside doors, ready to unload tons of merchandise.
There are no little magical fairies who come out at night to unload, price, restock and back stock all that stuff.  A person working in retail learns quickly how to juggle multiple tasks at the same time.
At Sweet Tooth, all of our staff are no longer rookies.  It only takes one holiday season to eliminate the mystery of how things get done in a retail store.
We are stocked.  We are ready.  We have smaller and smaller aisles in the store and the shelves are almost up to the ceiling with all that candy.  On the "gift side" Jeff has hauled box upon box of decorations, accessories, glass plates and ornaments, etc. from our garage to the store and with extreme and dedicated effort, it is all ready for the holiday shopper.
Will we see you soon?  We hope so. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

How To Make a 30 Second Commercial

Want to know how 30 second commercials are made here at Sweet Tooth?  Want to know how Jeff has become the celebrity of 30 second commercials?  Here goes.
In September we finally put a date on the calendar for videotaping our new ad for t.v.  Our producer and videographer, Diane and Davis Ward presented us with 2 scripts...take offs on the really popular t.v. show
MAD MEN.  They asked us to pick one of the scripts, we did and we were off and running.
Thanks to our hairdresser Erica, we had make up and hair mapped out.  Thanks to Christa at the T.U. Costume Department, we had 1960's style dresses for our actresses, Lyle and Kayley.  And thanks to Lyle and Kayley, who agreed to be poked and prodded, hair colored, wearing false eyelashes which can be very irritating, standing occasionally in high heels and re-taking each of the scenes several times, we had the pieces of the ad in the cannister.
Then along comes Sabrina, who has been the voice of all our ads except one, who went to the studio and recorded the voice over for the ad.
Let's not leave out Jeff, who had his hair and eyebrows colored, who had to eat several candy cigarettes, who stood in front of the green wall and pretended to be falling down and finally had to appear as Don Draper on a show that, frankly, he has never watched.
The entire filming process, except for a couple of pieces in Davis' studio, was videotaped in our store,  That involved about 5 hours of getting ready and then doing the filming.  Davis had to set up the exact lighting, there was lots of moving around of displays in the store and of course the obligatory standing around, kibbitzing, laughing, with hands on hips and several opportunities to give our opinion to Davis, who is very good at politely ignoring our intrusions.
Davis' final effort was to find just the right music to go along with the MAD MEN idea.  That was a bit of a longer process.
The day came when Jeff and I went over to Davis' studio to see the finished product.  Each time we do this we bring M & Ms to's tradition.  Of course we had to see the 30 second ad over and over to catch all the nuances and we gave it a big thumbs up.
Now it is your turn.  The ad begins running on various cable shows November 1.  Don't fast forward through the is a lot of fun.

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Little Bit of Candy Trivia

I really love the ShopSmart magazine (part of Consumers Report); however I really hate the fact that this magazine from which I get so much information, encourages its readers to shop on line. 
Now shopping online is something I occasionally do as well, although by now you know that I absolutely insist that people shop locally if the item they are searching for is available in town.
You may think that I am simply saying these things because I own an independent retail store....well, you are partly right!!  Nonetheless, I shop locally because I want to see the item, touch the item, determine if it is the size, the color, the shape, the whatever that I will truly be satisfied with.  I can't do that online with most products and I actually would not want to box something up, get a call tag, or try to find out how much postage would be to send it back.  I do enough of that at work....I wouldn't want to do it with personal purchases.  And of course I want immediate action, something that even the internet can't do at this time.
All of that said, ShopSmart did have a few fun "Treat Trivia" which I have to pass on to all readers.
We carry the Oh Henry chocolate bar.  ShopSmart tells me that the name came from an office boy who flirted with the women making candy.  When the women needed something, they were constantly calling out, "Oh, Henry!"  You can't pass up that name for a good ole nostalgia candy bar!
As for candy corn, which I have been selling for 22 plus years, I found out from ShopSmart that originally candy corn was called "chicken feed".  I'm not sure if it is the shape of the candy corn or the fact that it looked like the feed for chickens.  Back in the 1880's when candy corn was first made, someone gave it that name.
Now candy corn is a mellow creme....and ask Jeff what happens if you eat too many pieces in one sitting!!
Of course you should know that PEZ dispensers were originally invented as a breath mint.  "Pez" got its name from the German word for peppermint:  "pfefferminz."  Remember that when you are dispensing chocolate PEZ candy....obviously PEZ has branched out with its flavors.
4th quarter....that's what retailers call October-November-December.  Interest in candy goes way up and it is fun to hear about Candy Trivia. 
Stay tuned.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Sweet Tooth: a Tulsa Wedding Merchant

Last night 4 Sweet Tooth staffers attended the Tulsa Wedding Merchants meeting at Philbrook Museum.  The gathering was attended by approximately 35-40 merchants in the Tulsa area whose businesses connect with people planning a wedding.  We are talking about prospective brides, prospective grooms, moms of bride and groom as well as wedding planners.
Sweet Tooth has been a member of this group for a number of years.  We are also participants at the Tulsa Wedding Show planned by expert Vicki Taylor and her staff each year in January and August.  Most recently the show has been at the Renaissance Hotel.
Currently our staff member Jesse Wilson is serving as our primary consultant to those folks who are planning a Candy Buffet for their wedding, or for birthday and anniversary parties, corporate events, fundraisers, etc.  Personalty and customer service are 2 of the outstanding qualifications required to work with our clients, along with creativity and the ability to visualize the Candy Buffet as it stands at an event.
All staff at Sweet Tooth are trained to take initial information from prospective Candy Buffet clients.  And we are all good at it!  It is our job to ferret out information on what the client is wanting, thinking and budgeting for the Candy Buffet.  Armed with our information sheet, if Jesse isn't at work, we all begin the process of obtaining information so that Jesse can follow through with the client.
After 22 years in business, Candy Buffets have entered the scene and taken up a good part of our candy sales.  We purchased gorgeous glass containers to rent for this purpose; we keep up to date on colors and styles and trends for this part of the candy industry.  We advertise our service, particularly the fact that we are perhaps the only place in town where a client can actually see the candy we have available rather than ordering online or depending on another in-home business to do just that.
Our Candy Buffet brochure outlines the various services we offer:  for Do It Yourself clients as well as full serve clients.
Being a part of the Tulsa Wedding Merchants has introduced us to all sorts of businesses and people who provide wedding services.  Weddings are an important part of our economy, with some people spending at least $20,000.00 on a wedding and many spending more.  Hotels, bridal shops, lighting companies, entertainers, photographers, novelty businesses, printers, caterers, bakeries, calligraphers,  travel agents, rental businesses and of course, Sweet Tooth are working together to make every special occasion memorable.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Brooms Do More Than Sweep

Every once in a while I get the itch to do something related to retail, yet challenging all of us to do something creative with the talent we have among our staff.
When OSU Poets and Writers under the leadership of Teresa Miller brought the novelist  Khaled Housseini, author of The Kite Runner to Tulsa, I got the urge for all of our staff to take a plain kite and decorate it in any manner they wished.  Occasionally, when approached by one of my ideas,  there are a few sighs among the group; nonetheless everyone got to work and brought in some of the cleverest kites ever made.
When Teresa visited our store, she was thrilled to see that we had 6 or 8 kites flying from the ceiling of the store. We giggled and smiled and were glad that we took the time to turn Teresa's wonderful program into a creative project for our store.
With Halloween on the way, I thought it might be fun to take brooms and turn them into characters or themes inspired by our staff.
You will have to come by the store and see what we have done.  Each of us took the challenge and put together some of the cutest brooms even made.
Alyssa is a big Sooner fan.  Her broom is a horse head cut out and stitched by Alyssa herself, wearing a OU scarf.  Broomer Sooner, Alyssa!!  Jesse, distracted by bling, created a broom which is truly a Disco Work of Art.
We laughed the entire afternoon at the desert humor of Lisa's  Broom With a View.  Doris is always full of color and owls.  Her Death by Candy broom will brighten up your day.
Olivia, our young free spirited T.U. nursing student created the best representation of pink and cute.
Sabrina has taken the challenge of creating a Weeping Broom.  This broom is totally in the spirit of the Halloween season.
Jeff, our T.V. star of 30 second commercials, has taken one of his alter egos and turned it into Sweeper Man.
And lastly, my broom is inspired by candy and Groucho Marx.  I never knew what Hot Glue was all about until I glued some licorice wheels and wax lips onto a broom.  By the way, Hot Glue melts chocolate.
What are you waiting for?  Get out your glue, scissors, beads and things, put on your creative top hat and have the most fun ever being silly and clever and totally talented.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Annual Halloween Candy Concerns

The upcoming candy holiday of Halloween presents several annual concerns.  Here's one:  What does black candy taste like?  People generally avoid candy which is black because they think that it will have a bitter taste.  The same goes for black icing on cookies and cakes. 
The retail lesson for today is this:  why would candy manufacturers or cake and cookie bakers use an icing or color which is bitter tasting?  Talk about a nose drive in sales, huh?
Get the word out:  black candy is normally a berry flavored candy and tastes quite sweet, never bitter.  And how could we have Halloween candy without the color black?
The second annual candy question for Halloween:  why can't I buy the Giant Candy Corn in the red and white color only?
The answer is:  I don't know, you just can't.  Giant Candy Corn comes in an assortment and as assortments go, we cannot separate one flavor (in this case, it is cinnamon) from the other flavors.
Our best advice is to find 2 friends who like the other 2 flavors, candy corn original and chocolate.  That way you can buy 3 times the amount of Giant Candy Corn, separate out the flavors for you and your 2 friends and Problem Solved!!
Here's my favorite question:  why does Jelly Belly company make the gummi rats in orange, red and other such colors?  Rats are not orange or red.  Our customers are pretty darn savvy; they actually get it.  The correct color for rats is black or white or grey.  Grey is not such a great color for candy, so why not just stick with white and black? 
And finally, what ever happened to the wax whistle which used to be a part of Halloween candy and had that taste sort of like teaberry?  I really did love that whistle and when we first bought Sweet Tooth, we could order it for Halloween.  Bring back the teaberry whistle!!  My motto for Halloween season.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Happy 22nd Anniversary to Sweet Tooth

Today, September 1, is the 22nd anniversary of our owning Sweet Tooth Candy & Gift Co.  On this day in 1992, we stepped into the store at the Farm Shopping Center to take possession of Sweet Tooth from the previous owner whose husband was transferred to Houston, forcing her to sell the store.
On that day my sister Shirley, husband Willie (our business partners at the time), my Mom and Dad and our friend and attorney Richard all gathered to sign the papers and beginning looking at the store with new eyes.
How did we get there?  Along with Shirley and Willie, we already owned 2 laundromats and a cleaners.  Shirley thought that we should get into another business and through the classifieds in the Tulsa World, she found Sweet Tooth, which was less than a mile from where we all lived.
We had never been in retail and really knew nothing about this business.  It sounded fun, it was close to where we lived and we just did it!
The store was a bit "Farm-like" and the previous owner was a gourmet cook, so along with candy, she had a section of gourmet cookware....long before the Food Channel or any other cookware licenses from well known chefs.
The next summer in our Sidewalk Sale, we sold all the cookware and began searching for giftware which we could add to the store.  Many Sweet Tooth customers know that our first big category was Mary Engelbreit cards and other products.  Some people even referred to us as "The Mary Engelbreit Store".
A move across the parking lot landed us in a larger store and our last move to our current location on Harvard about 14 years ago put us in Mid-town and in a purple haven of gifts, jewelry and candy.  Although the walls have been recently painted a sea foam green and Mary Engelbreit is no longer the focus of our gift side, we are still in our Happy Place.
We are taking a big risk posting a photo of Jeff and me outside our first Sweet Tooth store on our Facebook you will soon notice, Fashion was not a big part of our presentation.
So Happy Anniversary to us, to all the staff who have worked with us, to my family which has always supported us and to the thousands of customers who have made it possible for us to spend most of our time in our Happy Place.

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