Thursday, November 27, 2008

Black Friday Super Specials

YoYo Joe's will open at 5 AM on Black Friday with these specials

The Melissa & Doug Deluxe Art Easel for $39.99 ($20 off the regular price). The double sided (dry erase on one side, chalkboard on the other) easel stands nearly four foot tall - the perfect hight for your three year old or older to explore their artistic side. Grab the Easel Accessory Set (4 bottles of poster paints, dry erase marker and eraser, spill proof paint cups, brushes, jumbo chalk sticks and paper roll) for $29.99 and be ready to go!

Or the Thomas the Tank Engine Pirates Cove Set for $84.99 ($65 off the regular price of $149.99) - recommended for ages 3 & up, Thomas is a toy classic. This set comes with 41 pieces, including the Pirate Shipwreck, Treasure Tunnel and Skull Mountain pieces available only in this set. Also includes Thomas and Salty. 

Or the Melissa & Doug Victorian Dollhouse, also at $84.99 ($70 off the regular price of $154.99). At 1/12 scale, it's a real dollhouse (suggested for ages 6 & up). We also have the rooms of furniture and dolls in stock. 

Our biggest selling item so far in the month or so we've been open? Elf on the Shelf - it's a cool package that includes a cool retro elf doll & Elf on the Shelf storybook. The book describes how the Elf comes alive after you purchase him and reports back to Santa each night on each childs wish list and also their behavior. The elf cannot be touched by the kids, but he maintains his presence - showing up in a different spot each morning after he reports back to Santa.  On sale for $22.99 - $7 off the regular price of $29.95.

Specials start on Friday at 5 AM and will run until Sunday, or until we run out of them. Store stock only!

Worth getting up early for? We'll be the morning...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

5 AM!?!? What are you, nuts?

Why yes, yes we are - thank you for asking.

I've decided that sleep is for wimps and YoYo Joe's will open at 5 am on Black Friday. Heck, I don't sleep very much as it is, so why not be here and open in the pre-dawn madness that is Black Friday. You probably don't recall my post last year about Black Friday. Here it is. You might think I've joined the dark side by opening at 5 am after reading that post, but, hey, I have some logical thought behind this.

We're sandwiched between Pier One Imports on our left and Staples on our right. As you may know, Staples is one of those chains that has ridiculous deals that people camp out overnight for. I went over and asked a couple employees what time they open, and they told me 5 am - so that's what I put in the ad. I talked to the store manager today, and she told me that they open at 6 am. Since the ad was done, I figured we'll just open at 5. She also told me that people start lining up around 2 am. Which means we will have a big mob of people waiting in front of our store in the wee hours of the morning. Why not take advantage of the traffic, right?

I know what you're thinking, "Joe, they're only there to get the $100 TomTom or the $400 laptop." I know, I know, you're probably right. But all we need is me and my trusty sidekick Tyler and in the worst case scenario, we pay Tyler a couple hours and a little more electric to be open, right? Plus, it might be fun to see if any good fights break out over peoples places in line.

Oh, and we're gonna have a couple blockbuster specials too. Stay tuned for those.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

My new most favoritist song ever.

Back on September 10th, I posted this entry on the webpage. Down near the bottom, I mentioned how a family showed up and one of the little girls was dancing and singing, "YoYo Joe's, YoYo Joe's," and I mentioned how I kicked myself for not shooting a photo of them. Well, I have to kick myself no more! They showed up today to check out YoYo Joe's. When I mentioned that I kicked myself for not taking a picture of them, they kindly allowed me to film Kaleigh & Isabella singing about YoYo Joe's. So, I did. Their brother, Braden, apparently has heard the whole 'YoYo Joe's song & dance' many times, but was on hand to check out the store anyway. I can honestly say that one of the coolest things about the past month or so has been the comments and reaction from our customers about our store. And I can honestly say as well that when Braden, Kaleigh & Isabella & their family came by (both times), it has been one of the highlights in a month filled with awesome highlights. 

Thanks to our customers for over a month in business! 

Friday, November 14, 2008

Live Local. Be Local. Buy Local. Wilmington

So, what's the big deal about buying local anyway? It's so much easier to buy online, right?

Here's a quick list of why it matters to buy local. I'm not sure who came up with the list, but we got it from a specialty toy store in Oregon through ASTRA. It's an awesome list, so we wanted to share it. 

When you shop at YoYo Joe's:

1 - You kept dollars in our economy. For every $100 you spend at one of our local businesses, $68 will stay in the community. What happens when you spend that same $100 at a national chain? Only $43 stays in the community. 

2 - You embraced what makes us unique - You wouldn't want your house to look like everyone else's in the U.S. So why would you want your community to look that way?

3 - You created local jobs - Local businesses are better at creating higher-paying jobs for our neighbors. 

4 - You helped the environment - Buying from a local business conserves energy and resources in the form of less fuel for transportation, less packaging, and products that you know are safe and well made, because we stand behind them.

5 - You nurtured community - We know you, and you know us. Studies have shown that local businesses donate to community causes at more than twice the rate of chains. 

6- You conserved your tax dollars - Shopping in a local business district means less infrastructure, less maintenance and more money available to beautify our community. 

7 - You created more choice - We pick the items we sell based on what we know you like and want. Local businesses carry a wider array of unique products because we buy for our own individual market.

8 - You took advantage of our expertise - You are our friends and neighbors, and we have a vested interest in knowing how to serve you. We're passionate about what we do. Why not take advantage of it?

9 - You invested in entrepreneurship - Creativity and entrepreneurship are what the American economy is founded upon. Nurturing local business ensures a strong community. 

10 - You made us a destination - The more interesting and unique we are as a community, the more we will attract new neighbors, visitors and guests. This benefits everyone!

Upcoming Events at YoYo Joe's

Long time no post! I'm afraid the day-to-day activities of YoYo Joe's has left me with little time to update our blog. But, I thought I'd catch you up on a couple things going on:

• Score a $20 Gift-Certificate/Gift-Card!

In an idea we stole directly from our local Trader Joe's (hey, we're like Joe's in a pod), we're having a monthly drawing, starting this month, for a $20 YoYo Joe's Gift-Certificate/Gift-Card (I have the slash because we have yet to receive our Gift-Cards and have been issuing Gift-Certificates in the mean time) for all our customers who, like us, are fans of the environment. Bring in your own bag, purchase one of our cheap fabric bags from Plan ($1.99!) or don't use one at all and we'll have you fill out a ticket with your name and phone number. We'll draw one winner each month! If you forget your bags, ease your mind as we made sure the plastic bags we bought have an additive in them to allow them to begin breaking down in nine months.

• Adult Swim

Our first annual 'Adult Swim' event takes place on December 3rd from 7-9 pm. From 7-9, YoYo Joe's will be off-limits to kids. Yep, we'll have a bouncer at the door to toss out any stray kids who dare try to infiltrate our one night a year dedicated to serving adults only. Come shop without worry to hide your purchases from prying eyes. Plus, we'll have coffee from our neighbor Brew-Ha-Ha, beer, wine and some munchies on hand.

Birthday Gift Concierge service.

This is Emily's brainchild, and it looks like a winner to me. It works like this - you're on the way to a birthday party on Saturday morning and did not have a chance to pick up a present yet. You're running late and have no time to go shopping for a gift. No problem! Give us a call and we'll ask you a few questions about the child you need the gift for - we'll help you select the perfect gift and birthday card to go with it. You give us your payment info and stop by the store - the gift will be wrapped and ready to go, just sign the receipt and you're on your way. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!

• Santa's Mailbox

Starting Friday, November 28th (aka 'Black Friday'), we'll have Santa's Mailbox posted at YoYo Joe's! You can drop off your letters to Santa and we'll make sure he gets it. Don't forget to bring your camera to get a picture of your child dropping off their letter! The mailbox was used at Mitchell's over the past 40 years, so we're continuing a long lost tradition.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Video from Opening Day - Rocky Bluewinkle gets seasick

Thanks to our intrepid pilot of the pirate ship, Blue Rocks mascot Rocky Bluewinkle ended up bailing off the pirate ship due to seasickness. 

Check out the video:

Article about YoYo Joe's in News Journal Paper

Thanks to Gary Haber of the Wilmington News Journal for the cool article about us that appeared in Saturday's paper. That's me and Emily as the photo ran in the paper. Check it out here

'Official' Opening Day

OK, so we're milking it a bit. We've had an 'opening party,' a 'soft opening day' and now our 'official opening day.' Which was on Saturday. We had lots of stuff going on. Our first ad was supposed to run on Thursday in the Delaware Crossroads section. Unfortunately, the News Journal screwed up and mis scheduled the ad for November 6th. Which left us without an ad for opening day. Bummer....luckily, our News Journal rep, Jason Lay,  quickly found a solution to our problem by offering up a much bigger ad in a bigger run of the paper for Friday. After about four hours cramming together the ad, I sent it off and we had a big ole ad in the Friday paper. 

Add the article that ran in the paper on Saturday and we were very nearly mobbed on Saturday! 

It. Was. Awesome!

We had Rocky Bluewinkle come and hang out with us for a couple hours. Rocky was wonderful, he worked our visitors and tried out our playtables, sat on our adirondack chairs in our reading oasis, and even got seasick on the pirate ship when the pirate steering the ship got a little crazy with the steering wheel. Video of Rocky's seasick adventures to follow. Rocky even bowed to our own World Yo-Yo Champion Tyler Severence as he did some two-handed looping in front of the store. 

We gave away all 75 of our limited edition YoYo Joe's logo yo-yos. We had hourly drawings and gave away lots of toys to people who entered. The first winner was an impossibly cute girl who was so excited that she won, she kept saying "I won, I won, I won, I won!" We took her picture with her cousins - check out that smile!

Vincenza Carrieri-Russo, Miss Delaware USA, came to YoYo Joe's in the evening to help us celebrate. My sister Wendy was on hand to shoot a couple pictures of her on deck of the pirate ship. Ahoy, there Miss Delaware!

Thanks to the Blue Rocks for sending Rocky, and to Vincenza and the folks at You've Been Sentenced, who set up Miss Delaware USA. 

Thanks to all of our customers who came out and made it a day to remember for all of us. It was wonderful hearing your stories from Mitchell's and your good wishes on our future. With luck, we'll be around at least 55 years!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Phillies Parade + Press Release = A long day

Earlier this week, I sent out a press release to the local media about YoYo Joe's opening. In the past, at Mitchell's, I experienced mixed results on press releases. Sometimes local media responded, other times, no so much. So, I did not expect anything when sending out the press release.

Flash forward to Wednesday, when my beloved Philadelphia Phillies actually won the World Series. I have followed the Phillies since I was ten years old and I once actually interviewed for the position of the Phillies mascot - The Philly Phanatic (true story!). Anyhoo, when the Phils won, my brother and I both thought we should probably try to get to the parade that was scheduled for Friday. Both of us figured this might never happen again, and we should try to see something like that before we kicked off (the last championship for a major Philly sport was in 1983!) So, we headed up to Philly. About a half hour after we arrived, I got a call on my cell phone. A reporter from the Wilmington News Journal was responding to my press release and was interested in interviewing me and taking a picture of Emily and I at our store. At 2:30. About 45 minutes after the ceremony was scheduled to begin, and it took about 35 minutes to get back home. Tom & I bagged the parade (sorry, Tom!) and headed home where I barely made it to the store in time for the interview. The result - a big ole article about YoYo Joe's in the Saturday paper! Yay us!

Imma bad blogger...

So, the first rule of blogging is to update your blog. The second rule, coincidentally, is also to update your page. In that vein, I've been remiss in my duties. For that I blame:

• YoYo Joe's. We just (officially) opened today. As such, we've been turning in our customary 18 hour days getting the store in ship-shape and ready to go. Getting home at 2 am isn't conducive to posting to the blog.

• The Phillies. They won the World Series. For the second time. In 125 years. So, it's not exactly been a normal week for people like me - a lifelong Phillies fan.