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ASTRA Retailers Set to Promote Specialty Toys on Neighborhood Toy Store Day

ASTRAlogoHundreds of independent toy retailers in the U.S. and Canada will mark Neighborhood Toy Store Day with special in-store events and activities on Saturday, November 8.

Neighborhood Toy Store Day is an annual American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) event that occurs on the second Saturday in November. It is designed to help independent toy retailers spotlight attention on the quality and play value of specialty toys, plus the advantages of shopping at locally owned toy stores.

ASTRA retailers create activities around Neighborhood Toy Store Day that will engage their customers and communities. Meanwhile, ASTRA supports retailers by providing professionally designed, downloadable posters; post cards; ad slicks; and other images along with draft emails; social media posts; and press releases that retailers can use to promote their store.

To find an ASTRA store to visit on Neighborhood Toy Store Day, visit www.neighborhoodtoystoreday.com.

Ted Kiesewetter to Receive ASTRA’s Top Honor

ASTRAlogoToy industry legend Ted Kiesewetter will be honored at the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association’s (ASTRA) Marketplace & Academy with ASTRA’s coveted Lifetime Achievement Award. A veteran of nearly forty years in the toy industry, Kiesewetter founded International Playthings Inc. (IPI), now a division of Epoch Company Ltd.

He also supported the industry through his co-founding of Playing for Keeps, which promoted healthy play with products that focus on the features of the child’s play rather than the features of the toy. Kiesewetter was an early and consistent supporter of ASTRA and its efforts to promote collaboration and cooperation among manufacturers, retailers, and sales representatives.

ASTRA will present Kiesewetter with the award at its annual awards breakfast and business meeting, which will be held June 9 from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. PT at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix.

ASTRA Convention to Host Special Session on Succession

ASTRAlogoThe American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) is featuring a special session at its annual ASTRA’s Marketplace & Academy that will focus on helping specialty toy retailers build succession plans for their businesses. The key takeaways will include: critical factors in determining the value of an independent toy store; how to get stores ready for a sale or transfer of ownership; and establishing a timeline for an independent retailer to make a smooth exit.

Lynn Switanowski of the Creative Business Consulting Group will lead this session. ASTRA’s Marketplace & Academy will be held on June 8 to 11 in Phoenix, Ariz.  Following the convention, the succession topic will be continued in member-only discussion groups on ASTRA’s website.

ASTRA’s Neighborhood Toy Store Day Celebrates Fourth Year

ASTRAtoystoredayOn November 9, independent toy stores across the U.S. will participate in the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association’s (ASTRA) fourth annual Neighborhood Toy Store Day. The initiative raises consumer and media awareness about the positive influence that specialty and independent toy retailers have on the local community and economy.

Local toy stores will mark the occasion with special in-store events, including crafts, entertainers, scavenger hunts, and more. Participating ASTRA store owners can download banners and graphics and access sample promotional language on ASTRA’s website for members. For more information about Neighborhood Toy Store day, visit YourNeighborhoodToyStore.org.

ASTRA Announces 2014 Marketplace & Academy Theme and Dates

ASTRA logoThe American Specialty Toy Retailing Association‘s (ASTRA) theme of its 2014 Marketplace & Academy is “Where play means business.” The event will take place in Phoenix from June 8 to 11.

“Our theme underscores that the specialty toy industry is serious about our business and serious about working together to maximize our success,” said Kathleen McHugh, president of ASTRA. “We are planning a fun and productive event that will help specialty toy and children’s products retailers have an extraordinary fourth quarter in 2014.”

With more than 1,400 members, ASTRA is the largest association for companies in the toy and children’s products arenas.

ASTRA’s 2012 Marketplace & Academy Exhibit Space Sells Out

Exhibit space for the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association’s (ASTRA) 2012 Marketplace & Academy has sold out. The exhibit hall, which will be the biggest ever, reports ASTRA, will feature approximately 100 first-time ASTRA exhibitors.

“Given the huge number of first-time exhibitors, the exhibit hall will be full of product we haven’t seen before,” said ASTRA President Kathleen McHugh. “And remember, even though exhibit space is sold out, we have plenty of room for any and all independent retailers.”

ASTRA will be held in Baltimore, Md. from June 10-13. For more information, or to register, visit www.astramarketplace.org or call ASTRA at 1-800-591-0490.

This post was originally written by Elizabeth A. Reid and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.

ASTRA Reveals 2012 Marketplace & Academy Theme

The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) announced that the theme of its 2012 Marketplace & Academy will be “Get more from your store: Build your business at ASTRA’s Marketplace & Academy.” The event will take place in Baltimore June 10-13.

“Independent retailers are always looking for creative new ways to increase revenue and contain costs. Never has it been more important for store owners to get the most out of every dollar they spend and every business decision they make,” said Kathleen McHugh, president of ASTRA. “Our theme reflects what retailers will find at Marketplace & Academy: unique quality toys that fit their stores, huge show-only discounts, and business tips from the best retailers in the industry.”

As more information becomes available about speakers and special events at Marketplace & Academy, it will be posted at www.astramarketplace.org.

ASTRA’s Marketplace & Academy Biggest Yet

ASTRA’s Marketplace & Academy, currently in progress in Anaheim, Calif., has posted a record number of attendees, according to the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association. While final counts will not be available until Marketplace & Academy is over, early indications are that this year’s crowd was 20 percent to 30 percent bigger than last year.

“Once again, independent toy retailers are showing that they are committed to learning, investing in new products, and finding the best deals in the industry,” says Kathleen McHugh, president of ASTRA. “Even in the midst of an extended economic downturn, ASTRA members continue to tend to the basics of their businesses. They work hard and they work smart, and taking full advantage of ASTRA’s Marketplace & Academy is part of that equation.”

Next year’s ASTRA Marketplace & Academy—its 20th—will be held during June in
Baltimore. Dates will be announced.