Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Lion and the Lamb

Time has really been rushing by.  Here we are, already in the 4th quarter and just past Black Friday, Shop Local and almost Cyber Monday.

Many local retailers are a bit nervous about this year.  Shopping online has grown, according to one source, 4% more people on Black Friday than last year.  Macy's online was so busy that it actually crashed.  I happened to go to one store on Black Friday and was very surprised that there was no line at the register.  On the news Wednesday evening, there was only 1 lady camped outside of Best Buy.  What is going on?

This year we may see lots of "predictions" about sales, however the recent Presidential election has taught us all that predictions aren't always correct.

After 25 years of being in the retail business, you would think we would have the ability to know what will happen in the 4th quarter.  Actually, we don't.

And because we have to order so many holiday candy and gift items earlier in the year, it is simply one big guess as to what we will be able to sell.

Nonetheless, 4th quarter has its own excitement and its own beauty.  The streets are filling with houses all lit up.  Stores are dressed for the grand ball and filled with all sorts of wonderful merchandise.  It is simply impossible not to feel energetic and happy.

Both of our Big Chocolate Turkeys (3-1.2 pounds of chocolate) sold before Thanksgiving.  I choose to see that as a positive sign that folks are not discouraged about the economy, the election, or any other negative force.  People want to be happy and we all work against the odds to keep our spirits bright.

My current observation is that people are gearing up for giving and for decorating.  Folks may be a little later this year in making that happen; however it will happen.

And guess what?  A few years ago Thanksgiving and Chanukah happened on the same day.  This year Christmas Eve and the First Night Of Chanukah are both happening on December 24.  That looks a little bit like the lion and the lamb lying down together, peacefully.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

I am back.....looking forward to seeing you.

I have almost run through October without anything to say.  And you ask:  How could that be?

I am about to rescue myself from this lifeless month by letting you know about up coming events at our store.

First I want to introduce you to Seattle Chocolate bars....a chocolate company run by women!!  I have no idea if this is a First; however it is a BIG DEAL in the candy world.  We have received 8 different Seattle Chocolate candy bars and every one looks as yummy as the next.  2 of the bars are specifically wrapped to say Happy Birthday and Thanks.  Inside the darling wrapper is a Milk Chocolate Truffle Bar.  That alone says it all.

Second we've been receiving new merchandise and in a week or so we will have our initial Christmas candy and gift items out in the store.

Speaking of the Holidays, this year we are partnering with 4 other stores right here on Harvard for a blow out Holiday Party.  Joining with Summer Snow, Kiddlestix, Toni's Flowers and Inviting Place, we will all be open on Sunday afternoon, November 13 for a Ho Ho Harvard party.

Visit all 5 stores and you can enter a drawing for a $50 gift basket.  We are giving away 5 of those gifts.  At Sweet Tooth, we will have other drawings, a few of our sales reps and other fun things.  It's not DOWNTOWN, it's MIDTOWN!!

On November 5 we are hosting a Troll know, those little Troll dolls which have been completely Modernized in a new movie coming out on November 4.  Games, Face Painting, Coloring and charge....for kids ages 3-12.

Sunday November 20 we will welcome Santa to Sweet Tooth.  Come by between 1-3 p.m. and get your photo taken with Santa....FREE.  We had an early visit from Santa in was a lot of fun.  Thanks to Party Pro for lending Santa a throne to sit in.

Okay.  So now you know why you haven't heard from me in a while.  I am gearing up for a very special holiday season and I will do my best to keep you up to date on other events at Sweet Tooth.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Something New In The Air

I can feel it.  There is something different in the air and it happens just about this time for the last 25 years.

What is it, you ask?  It is 4th QUARTER.  And that means we are gearing up for the most active, the most fun, the most exciting and interesting time of the year.  Our aisles in the store get smaller and smaller as we incorporate more merchandise and candy.

We see more people, we work with more customers to produce gift baskets, special orders, new combinations which we are challenged to create.  We make wishes come true and in the process probably gain a few pounds tasting new candies and chocolates.

Ah, it is sort of like believing we can fly with Peter Pan....we just take off and enjoy the journey.

In my last blog, I spoke about a new line of scarves which we were preparing to place in the store.  Today was the day we put out 18 individually made, one of a kind knitted scarves by our friend, Eva Unterman.  What seems to be happening at Sweet Tooth is that we are growing our local artists group and Eva is the latest to join us.

She has put so much thought, so much time and effort into each scarf and we are jazzed about each one.  Come take a look.

On Saturday, October 8 we are presenting a number of local artists in a Stop and Chat with Julie Buchheim (Ionic jewelry), Angie Layton (sterling silver charms featuring Oklahoma icons), Jamie Townsend (her book on the Brady Theatre), Hat & Field (our new line of collegiate and Oklahoma t-shirts), Bobbie Whaling (her 2016 ornament featuring a location here in Tulsa) and Eva Unterman (one of a kind scarves).

It is so satisfying to support and highlight some of the artists right here in our own city.  Although we love going to the Gift Market, our own backyard is filled with very special artistic people.

Beyond that, our November project is Ho Ho Harvard.  We are partnering with other retailers right here on Harvard Avenue and throwing a really big Holiday Party.  We can't wait to reveal all the details, but think:  Toni's Flowers, Kiddlestix, Summer Snow, Sweet Tooth and Inviting Place, together on Sunday November 13.

SAVE THE DATES:  October 8 and November 13 and celebrate local artists, holiday fun and the latest "strip"...Harvard Avenue.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

It's All About NEW at Sweet Tooth!!

Here's what's happening at Sweet Tooth as we prepare for end of summer, holiday season, etc.

First, we plan to have more in-store parties this year.  On Saturday, August 27 we are having a BACK TO SCHOOL party for kids 3 years to 12 years.  There will be cookie decorating, face painting, games and of course, a favor.

In November we are having a TROLL PARTY.  Remember those odd little dolls?  They are back and a movie featuring Trolls will be coming out in November.  We have already begun plans for Trolls.  Check out YouTube for preview videos.

In November as well, we will have our HOLIDAY PARTY.  That is always a bunch of fun, with a discount on all purchases that day and goodies to sample.

We are involved in tasting and planning for new candies.  In addition to seasonal candy which is always a great deal of fun, we will be bringing in a line of caramels (Annie's), Seattle Chocolates which are totally delicious (and the company is run by women!!), another candy company, South Bend Chocolate which is getting rave reviews in the trade magazines, as well as Pocky and Pejoy, Candy Coated Sunflower seeds, more Hammond's chocolates and hard candies....more and more.

On the Gift Side of the store, there is new SCOUT totes and storage pieces and we are going to offer monogramming on SCOUT.  Then there is new Trollbeads and Kameleon collections, new FRED (so much fun...belly laughing fun!), Donkeys and Elephant Dammit Dolls (don't you just feel like slapping the ground with a Dammit Doll?), new greeting cards, fused glass plates and Chala purses.

We will be hosting several trunk shows this fall for our jewelry addition to Trollbeads and Kameleon, there will be Obsidian jewelry, Forever in My Heart lockets and Ionic beaded jewelry.

Sneak Preview:  a new line of hand made, one of a kind scarves knitted by someone here in Tulsa that many of you already know.

Do I sound excited?  Hope so, cuz I am.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


The truthiness is out.  Snacking, especially by millennials is IN and by IN I mean that according to some statistics more than 80% of millennials are willing to drop a few extra coins in specialty stores selling upscale and a tad-more-expensive-than-a-Hershey-bar snacks and chocolates.

Of course that kind of attitude warms our hearts.  We enjoy hearing that people value quality over quantity (or cost) and are more selective in their choices for consumption.

Yes, we know that healthy food is in.  So is healthy recipes for chocolates and snacks.  We are hearing more often the importance of organic chocolates, natural chocolates, as well snacks which are full of healthy ingredients.

Sweet Tooth is researching new brands of candies and chocolates in order to fill the request for these sorts of snacks.  We are adding new items and eliminating most candies which are simply sugary.  We normally avoid snacks and candies which are sold in groceries and in/out stores.  We know that those stores do not make certain that the temperature, the light and moisture which destroy the quality of the candy and snacks are kept within the bounds of what is recommended for freshness.

Often those stores do not rotate their candy and snacks.  Therefore the customer cannot be certain that the candy and snacks are as fresh as they should be.

"Blooming" on chocolate is often mistaken for mold.  However blooming is not is the separation of the cream, butter and chocolate which naturally occurs if the candy is aged or not kept in the correct environment.

Do I cringe when I see people dispensing their own candy in a grocery store?  Do I want to run away from those barrels of candy when I see a store employee loading candy on top of what is in the barrel, rather than rotate the candy?

Yes.  I have to admit that after 24 years these things make me a little annoyed.  No matter the cost, the truth is that the savings isn't worth the possibility that these precious chocolates and snacks are not worth eating .

Thursday, July 7, 2016

What Sidewalk Sales Are All About

It is probably 110 Heat Index outside right now.   And we are preparing for our Annual Sidewalk Sale.  Let me say, that years ago we smartened up and put our Sidewalk Sale indoors where the cool a/c made all the difference in the world.

We started Sidewalk Sales when we were in our first location at the Farm Shopping Center.  We joined in with other retailers to take the mid-summer opportunity to offer left over merchandise at 50% or 75% off the retail price.  Everyone liked it so much, that even when we moved to the Harvard address where we are now, we continued the Sidewalk Sale.

Jeff was especially enthusiastic.  He bought 2 canvas awnings, set them up outside, got out the old boom box and a bunch of Christmas CDS (probably cassette tapes when we first started), pulled out 2 box fans and a canvas Director's chair and he was set to go.

Of course over 23 years, we have had all sorts of weather, from blistering hot to rain, wind and cool temps. 

We all took turns sitting outside with our merchandise and we just didn't know better.

Fast forward to our Harvard store where we first realized (DUH!) that we could do all of this inside and wouldn't have to sparkle (sweat) anymore.

Sidewalk Sales are full of bargains.  Holiday merchandise and everyday items at deeply discounted prices.  Most retailers love Sidewalk Sales because those days help us to send lots of good merchandise home with folks, clear out space for 4th quarter goodies, gives us the opportunity to see that "once a year shopper" who is probably also hitting garage sales on the same weekend.

Jeff's theory is that people like to rummage through boxes and crowded tables.  I was not convinced at first but have since seen evidence that Jeff was right on target.  There is always a surprise or 2 at the bottom of the box.

There is definitely a psychology to shoppers who enjoy Sidewalk Sales and we really depend on that psychology to help us through the dog days of summer.

What do we do with any leftover Sidewalk Sale items?  We box them up and donate them to schools and other organizations in town which can benefit from getting free stuff to use for their programming.

Hope to see you at Sweet Tooth July 8 and 9...this year we'll dress up the Sale with a snack table and our own fun personalities.

On to ordering for the 4th quarter.  We'll talk about that later.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Happy Place Is Being Reinvented

After 23-1/2 years of owning Sweet Tooth Candy & Gift Co. we have to take a serious look at our store, its presentation, its inventory, its marketing and its staffing.

You know how hard it is to do that?  It is almost impossible to extract our own attitudes, opinions and love of  certain inventory and just say to ourselves, "This and that just aren't working anymore."

We have to reinvent ourselves and in doing so, we know that some of our customers will be disappointed when their favorite candy or gift item is no longer available. We also take the chance that people will think we are "going out of business" when in reality we are simply reinventing ourselves just a bit to keep up with the times, with people's tastes, with what is "trending", etc.

Summer is actually the most opportune part of the year to do just that.  People are out on vacation, or working in their gardens, or hibernating from the heat and humidity.  It takes a great deal of motivation to get out of the house and go shopping.

With less customers, we can begin to move things around, to plan our annual Sidewalk Sale, to take time to order fall gifts and candy.  Some days are a little don't forget about us at Sweet Tooth.

There is only so much space in the store.  When research shows that a certain gift line is no longer popular or that people are not thrilled with honeycomb chips (one of my favorites), then it is time to  let it go, let it go.

Therefore I just want you to know that we are beginning this process of deciding what we will no longer carry. We are hot on the trail of new candy, new gift items and a new approach for the store.

Watch for the NEW.  Watch for more events and parties.  Watch for the excitement that the NEW brings to our staff and hopefully to our customers.

Here a hint: Remember Trolls??  In September you will find a reinvention of those little guys that we used to sell a long time ago.  Watch for more theatrics and fun.  You know, we call Sweet Tooth our HAPPY PLACE.  We are working to make it even HAPPIER.