ASTRA Adds Industry Service Pavilion to Marketplace & Academy

ASTRAMarketplaceThemeAn Industry Service Pavilion will be available for attendees on the exhibit floor at American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA)‘s 2017 Marketplace & Academy.

ASTRA affiliate partners participating in the Industry Service Pavilion may provide show-only specials and additional resources to ASTRA attendees who visit the pavilion.

Marketplace & Academy will be held from June 25 to 28 in Philadelphia, Penn. Click here to register!

Hands-On Toy Store to be Built on ASTRA’s Marketplace & Academy Show Floor

ASTRAlogoThe American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA)‘s 2017 Marketplace & Academy will include a live, hands-on, experiential toy store—complete with product demonstrations, enthusiastic staff, and giveaways—on the exhibit hall floor.

Called the Neighborhood Toy Store Day Experience (NTSD Experience), the demonstration will offer tools to help retailers make the most of Neighborhood Toy Store Day on Nov. 11. The event will feature complimentary planning resources, hot products, and special offers from specialty-focused manufacturers—all designed to kick start fourth quarter and holiday season sales. [Read more...]

Toy Manufacturers Support Scholarship Fund for ASTRA Retailers

logoSeveral toy manufacturers have contributed to a scholarship fund to help American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) retailers facing financial hardship attend ASTRA’s 2017 Marketplace & Academy event in Philadelphia. This event will take place from June 25 through 28.

Those who contribute $1,000 or more to the scholarship fund will be featured in an article of the ASTRA Toy Times Magazine September issue. They will also receive recognition at the annual business meeting in the ASTRA Digest.

Nearly 140 First-Time Exhibitors to Participate at ASTRA’s Marketplace

ASTRAMarketplaceThemeOne hundred and thirty-eight toy manufacturers will be participating for the first time at the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association‘s (ASTRA) upcoming Marketplace & Academy. The exhibit hall, ASTRA’s largest ever, is sold out.  [Read more...]

ASTRA Certifies 28 New Play Experts

Play_EXPERTThe American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) has chosen 28 specialty toy retailers, sales representatives, and manufacturers to earn the ASTRA Certified Play Expert credential during ASTRA’s first in-person certification workshop held from Sept. 10 to 11 in Chicago, Ill.

The CPE Workshop provides networking opportunities, dynamic discussions, and hands-on activities to further support the message on the value of play. ASTRA also offers the option of becoming a Certified Play Expert with an online course with 10 modules followed by tests to confirm the candidate’s learning that can be completed at a pace that works best for the candidate. Click here for more information.

ASTRA to Honor Steven Aarons at Annual Awards Breakfast

PrintThe American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) will honor specialty toy retailer and industry leader Steven Aarons, owner of the Barstons Child’s Play toy stores in the Washington, DC area at Marketplace & Academy with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

A veteran of more than 30 years in the toy industry, Aarons was involved in several ASTRA initiatives that positioned the specialty side for the industry for increased visibility among consumers—including the Best Toys for Kids awards program and Neighborhood Toy Store Day. He also provided leadership to the trade with supporting growth of ASTRA’s Marketplace & Academy and encouraging ASTRA’s efforts on sales tax fairness and toy safety issues. Aarons also chaired the ASTRA Board of Directors from 2010 to 2011. [Read more...]

Laser Pegs Launches Junior Collection at ASTRA

LaserPegsJuniorLaser Pegs Ventures is launching Laser Pegs Junior, a line designed specifically for 4 to 7 year olds. The line uses larger parts, features simpler assembly, and has pieces compatible with all Laser Peg kits. Each kit features multiple STEM-friendly builds, including Space, Rescue, Construction, Jets, and Trains. These five kits are the initial unveiling of a long-term plan to add additional products to this collection.

Laser Pegs Junior will have its own logo and packaging and its bricks will be made in new colors. Packaging also will include a “try me” button so kids and adults can try the Laser Pegs light up feature in retail stores.

ASTRA Offers Social Media Sessions to Registered Marketplace & Academy Retailers

ASTRAlogoIndependent toy retailers registered for the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association’s Marketplace & Academy will have access to more than 30 hours of professional education, with five of those hours dedicated to sessions designed to strengthen their use of social media.

Sessions that feature messaging and social media strategies include: “Don’t Just ‘Like’ Facebook, Love It!,” “Social Media Strategy: Your Digital Playbook,” “Instagood Retailer Instagramming,” and “Google+: Socializing Your Internal Communication.”

Other breakouts at ASTRA’s Academy cover business operations, financial management, industry trends, channel relationships, and additional sales and marketing issues.

Record Number of Manufacturers Expected to Exhibit at ASTRA’s Marketplace

ASTRAlogoThe American Specialty Toy Retailing Association’s 2016 Marketplace & Academy will feature a record-breaking 400 exhibitors. Eighty five of those exhibitors will be new to ASTRA.

This year’s Marketplace & Academy will be held in Denver, Colo. from June 5 to 8. Retailers and other industry professionals can discover new products for the fourth quarter in the exhibit hall. Additionally, ASTRA’s Academy will include educational sessions on specialty toy industry business operations, financial management, industry trends, channel relationships, sales, and marketing.

ASTRA Announces 2016 Marketplace & Academy Keynote Speakers

astra_logo_smallStress management guru Colette Carlson and Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor, will headline the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association’s (ASTRA’s) 2016 Marketplace & Academy taking place June 5-8, 2016 in Denver, Colo. [Read more...]