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.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Pencil Shortage

The tremendous response to Adult Coloring books threatens a world wide pencil shortage!!

In 2014 the sales of Adult Coloring books reached 1 million copies.  2015 raised that bar by another 11 million books....a total of 12 million in books sold..

Pencil manufacturers like Staedtler, Stabilo and Faber-Castell are struggling to keep up with manufacturing pencils.

Wow!  in this age of online greeting cards and other substitutions for pencils, pens and paper, the fact that the world is running out of the finer coloring instruments is unbelieveable.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Buying a Gift For Mom

The National Retail Federation reports the following:

** Americans will spend $21.4 billion on Mother's Day
** the average amount spent by each consumer is $172

Let's see how that divides up.

** $4.2 billion on jewelry
** $4.1 billion on outings, like to restaurants or movies or theatre or ball games
** $2.4 billion on flowers
** $2.2 billion on gift cards....who buys their mom a gift card?
**$1.9 billion on clothes....who buys their mom clothes?
**$1.6 billion on personal services, like a spa
** $792 million on greeting cards

Here's where people are expected to spend their money for Mom.

** 33% will go to a department store  (I guess that is for the clothes, gift cards and perhaps jewelry)
** 28.7 will go to a specialty Lowe's or Home Depot or maybe the flower shop??
** 23.1% will go to a local small business (LIKE SWEET TOOTH, WE HOPE AND PRAY)

And, of course, here is the killer for the local small business:  27.3% will go online to buy a gift.

Where will you be spending your $172 for MOM?

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Update on The Beard and His Candy

For those who are following The Beard (James Harden) and his relationship with Trolli candy, here is the latest.

The marketing campaign for The Beard's candy is called "Beardly Awesome" and somewhere there are t.v. commercials featuring James Harden. 

There will be a launch of Trolli Sour Bite Weird Beards, which are shaped to resemble Harden's face

It is suggested that Millennials (ages 18-24) will be especially interested in this new candy.

I think that anyone who watches professional basketball and follows The Beard, will think this whole campaign is a real funny deal.

If you come across the commercials or any other info, let me know.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Random Thoughts About The Candy World

Here's some random observations from where I sit.

More chewy candy is coming out from various manufacturers.  Do you think that might have something to do with the aging of Baby Boomers?  Could it be that candy manufacturers think that too many people over 60 years old don't have the teeth to bite into a hard candy? 

Usually customers don't want chewy candy for older folks.  The thinking is that older folks have dentures and other dental problems and chewy candy will pull out the dentures or fillings.  Just keep in mind the words chewy candy and how well it will do in the market place.

Packaging is getting more colorful and almost reaches off the shelf to snag a customer who is drawn to the beauty of the package.  Not only are the packages in brilliant colors, but the manufacturers are putting all sorts of certifications on the package.  No GMOs, Organic, Gluten Free, Free Market, Kosher Dairy, Nut Free, Not Nut Free .....on and on.  No doubt that candy manufacturers are being persuaded that consumers actually have brains and want to make sure that they are not going to have digestive problems or more serious reactions to a tasty candy treat.

More licensed products.  And licensed products means that the price of a candy bar is going to go up.  If you want to have Justice League on your package of candy, you better be ready to pay a little extra for that.  Who keeps wrappers?  Who keeps scrapbooks in which to put wrappers?  Computers have done away with scrapbooks (for the most part) and there is no way to save a real paper wrapper on a computer.

Craft sodas.  Ok, you know about craft beers but have you seen the vast variety of soda flavors in the market?  You name a flavor and I'll bet there is a bottle of soda out there in that flavor.

Dark Chocolate.  Every candy afficionado knows that dark chocolate will cure what ails you!!  And when Musketeers come out in dark mint chocolate bites, you gotta know that dark chocolate is the way of the candy world.

And finally, candy concession boxes are no longer limited to the snack bar in movie theatres.  If the box looks bigger, it MUST be better, right? 

I have to add a very peculiar bit of news we received recently.  Haribo, the name everyone associates with gummi candy, has discontinued some of it favorites.  And I mean, Frogs, Fruit Salad, Pink and White Grapefruit, Licorice Wheels (boy oh boy have we seen some backlash from that news!), Super Cola Bottles and more.  I heard some hot shot from Nestles came over to Haribo and told them they needed to package up all their gummis and discontinue a lot of the gummi products.  Tears have been shed over this crazy idea.  We are hoping other companies will take up the slake and produce those gummis real soon.

And by the way, do you think Kale Chips belong in a candy store?  One of our distributors added that item to their inventory.  We think it must be for some grocery somewhere which also sells candy.

Stay tuned.  There is always something interesting going on in the candy world.

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Beard and Gummis...What Do They Have In Common?

Just a short observation of what happens when someone combines Pro Basketball Players with Candy.

Remember, James Harden ("Fear The Beard")?  Well, now Trolli candy has produced some t.v. ads featuring James Harden and Trolli gummis.

The first t.v. ad is tagged, "Inside inside inside James Harden's head" where James shuns the game day idea that you can get inside a player's head.  And mini James (a second James in miniature in the ad) declares:  "My head's a fortress."

Before you know it, you are associating Trolli candy with this awesome basketball player.

Next up in the Weirdly Awesome campaign will be Sour Brite Crawlers getting into James' head.  And on the horizon will be a new Sour Brite Gummi based on his iconic beard.

Trolli spokesperson says that James Harden is "the perfect ambassador to inject a little of the unordinary into our consumers' day-to-day lives."

I say, Go Trolli, Go James and go to Sweet Tooth where you will find James' favorite candy:  Sour Brite Crawlers.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Rising Cost Of Sugar..Is It A Big Deal?

It is 18 days until Easter and actually 8 days until St. Patrick's Day.  Easter candy and baskets are on display at the store.  What else is going on in candy land?

I heard on NPR this week that among other problems our economy might be having, the candy industry is confronted with the rising cost of sugar.  Even I had not been thinking about the rising cost of sugar, so I was a bit taken back by that report.

I had been thinking about the low price of oil and how it is effecting Oklahoma's economy.  Not only do we have the really big problems like how to fund our schools, whether we want to see our constitution changed in order to allow what?  religious proclamations on stone at our capital, we are also faced with a slowing interest in just plain shopping.

Stores like Sweet Tooth depend on local shopping.  We do not sell online.  Maybe we are just out of date or perhaps we believe that some people still like to see what they are buying, touch it, determine its nature or ingredients or appeal.  We are also the people who actually buy our inventory products at the Gift Market where we, too, can see, touch and feel what we are going to present to our customers.

Our store is particularly challenged by the various grocery stores which offer candy, not as a retail product so much as an impulse buy or a come-on with a lower price.  Candy is a fragile item.  It needs to be stored in the proper temperature, proper lighting and constantly re-cycled so that what is in jar, the case or the spinner is the most recent candy purchased by our store.

Grocery stores and discount stores do not have as a goal to meet these conditions with their candy.  Of course, they want to put the older bananas in the front of the display, or the older tomatoes on top of the newer ones; however if the store has barrels of unwrapped candy, we have occasionally seen the employee simply dump the newer candy on the top which means that someone is going to get the older candy which has been sitting in the barrel for weeks.

You can understand why this practice gives me the willys!!  We have specialized in candy for over 23 years.  We don't carry scented items near the chocolate which would absorb those odors and change the taste of the chocolate.  We watch Best By dates and we continually watch the temperature and light and humidity in the store.  That's why I am always wearing a jacket or sweater...what is good and cool for the candy can be a challenge for those who work in that environment.

So the rising cost of sugar as a minor blip on the economy scale is a big deal to us candy sellers.