ASTRA Manufacturers Donate Toys to Programs Serving Homeless Children in Philadelphia

ASTRAlogoSpecialty toy manufacturers donated five truckloads of toys to nearly a dozen Bright Spaces sites in Philadelphia following the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association’s (ASTRA) Marketplace & Academy trade show and conference in June.

The products went from the Pennsylvania Convention Center, where the show took place, to the intake center and several family shelters run by the Philadelphia Office of Homeless Services for use in Bright Spaces programs located in the shelters.

Bright Spaces programs housed in Philadelphia homeless shelters lets kids play, families gather, and agency staff provide programming and services to families in need.

Brain Miller to Receive ASTRA Top Honor

logoBrian Miller of the Geppetto’s A Child’s Fantasy toy stores in San Diego, California, will be honored at Marketplace & Academy with ASTRA’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Miller is a 25-year veteran in the toy industry and owns nine Geppetto’s locations. He started his toy career about the same time ASTRA was founded, and served as a board member and volunteer leader during the beginning of ASTRA. He also helped shape many ASTRA programs still in place today.

Miller will receive the award from ASTRA during its annual Awards Breakfast and Business meeting from 8 to 9:30 a.m. on June 26 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.

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...]

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...]

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...]

Greg Choyke Joins ASTRA Staff as Director of Education

AstraLogoProfessional education specialist Greg Choyke has joined the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) as its director of education. In the newly created position, Choyke will lead ASTRA’s effort to increase access to and participation in innovative professional educational programs that will help ASTRA members strengthen their business.

ASTRA will be introducing a new education initiative for independent toy retailers at its annual Marketplace & Academy, to be held June 7 to 10.

ASTRA Announces Keynote Speakers for 2015 Marketplace & Academy

PrintNetworking guru Sarah Michel and innovative retailer Bob Negen will headline the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association’s 2015 Marketplace & Academy. This year’s event will take place from June 7 to 10 in Charlotte.

Michel will open Marketplace & Academy with an interactive keynote on Where Community and Connections Intersect, which will show the ASTRA community how to connect effectively in their neighborhoods. Participants will learn how to communicate and increase their access and influence within their communities.

Negen’s closing keynote, Retail Success: How to Create a Store that People Love, Runs Like a Dream and Makes Lots of Money, will show retailers how their stories can boost business and other skills critical for toy retailers to know. Participants will learn how to stress less and have more fun in their business.

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.