TDmonthly Magazine!
May 2007 | Vol. VI - No. 5
Sponsored by:
http://toyfestwest.com/



Article Tools:

Retailer Spotlight: Gramps' Garage

Warranty Shop Drives Business With Sales and Repairs


“Suddenly, everyone who owned these products had to come to us. This really gave us a boost.” Alice Pillivant, Gramps’ Garage
Laid off by Digital Equipment Corporation about a year apart, Garrett (Gary) Pillivant and his wife, Alice, experienced unexpected events that led to their becoming Power Wheels specialists, the couple told TDmonthly Magazine.

BARGAINING FOR A NEW CAREER

While between jobs, they wanted “a Barbie car” for their granddaughters, deeming the Power Wheels their older grandsons had too “boyish.” Gary, an engineer with an old-car restorations hobby, bartered with a toy-consignment shop-owner friend who had both a Power Wheels Jeep that needed repair and a Power Wheels Barbie Corvette: If Gary could fix the Jeep, he could have the Corvette.

Working on the repair, a frustrated Gary frequently called the Fisher-Price factory until someone said, “You seem to know as much about this as anybody. Did you ever think of becoming a service center?”

So he did, and the Pillivants established Gramps’ Garage in 1986 in Maynard, Mass.

HOME BUSINESS MOVES OUT

Their initial idea of working from home proved impracticable. Their house wasn’t zoned for business. Also, Fisher-Price required photos of the shop, a copy of a business plan and other qualifying credentials.

Alice combined her native ingenuity with savvy learned in a State-sponsored entrepreneurial course, and arranged a test-run for their store. She negotiated a sub-lease with the toy-consignment shop and allocated a percentage of their profits to the owner as rent.

Owing to the Power Wheels’ large size, space became problematic within just a few months. The Pillivants moved their growing business next door.

GOOD LUCK OUT OF BAD

In October 1998, Fisher-Price had a Power Wheels recall. The Pillivants heard the story break on national television just before going to their store. On arrival, they found the answering machine full. By January, they had four spiral-bound notebooks of people to call.

“Suddenly, everyone who owned these products had to come to us,” Alice told TDmonthly. “This really gave us a boost. “

Today, Gramps’ Garage does warranty work for Power Wheels purchased anywhere in the area, as well as their own sales.

KIDS PRACTICE CAR OWNERSHIP

The Pillivants structure Gramps’ Garage so that young customers can replicate elements of the adult-car shopping, purchase and maintenance experience.

The Pillivants look for such deals as end-of-year and discontinued models, closeout or “come on” sales at other retail outlets, such as big-box stores like Toys R Us, and similar deals that allow product acquisition at, and sometimes even below, cost. They then sell [and often re-sell] the vehicles at attractive prices. Gramps' Garage even takes trade-ins!

Power Wheels products make up 90 percent of sales at Gramps’ Garage, but toys in general form the other 10 percent.

Alice advises new toy retailers: “Watch the bottom line!”

To see some of the Pillivants’ best-selling Power Wheels items and other toys, read My Best Sellers: Gramps’ Garage.



Catalog Request Form


Christine LebednikWriter's Bio: A professional writer/editor since 1984, Christine has spent much of her career in business and technical writing/editing. Her technical communications expertise is complemented by work developing curriculum materials for both print and on-line use in personnel training, and by work as both a software applications trainer and a writing skills tutor/one-on-one instructor. Read more articles by this author

Popular Stories

Request Information


THIS BANNER IS AN AD:






Back to TDmonthly's front page

Advertisement:

Advertise on TDmonthly


Recent Products

Razor Jr. Kitten Kix Scooter
By RAZOR
» More Information

Twisti Turtle toddler ride-on
By RAZOR
» More Information

Easy Steer Sportster
By THE STEP2 COMPANY
» More Information


Related Articles
·NPD Group: This Holiday Season, US Consumers Plan To Spend More
(11/1/2013)
·Top-10 Most-Wanted Collectibles
(9/1/2012)
·Doll House & Toy Store Finds Far-Reaching Charities
(5/1/2012)
·Preparing For Toy Fair - Tips and Tricks for Retailers!
(2/1/2014)
·Specialty Retailers Predict Hot Holiday Toys of 2014
(10/1/2014)
·Setting the mood: What music should you play in your store?
(3/1/2015)


Also See
·The WalkCar is like a magic carpet that fits in your laptop bag
(8/1/2015)
·April Staff Picks
(4/1/2013)
·Top-10 Most-Wanted Gifts for Boys
(8/1/2010)
·Retailer Spotlight: Child’s Play and Green Frog Toys
(5/1/2009)
·My Best Sellers: Green Frog Toys
(5/1/2009)
·My Best Sellers: The Lollipop Shop
(7/1/2008)
















Advertisement:



Magazine Home     Contact TDmonthly   Advertise Here 
Editorial Calendar   Events & Trade Shows   Media Kit   Request Product Information   PlayZak®

Look up Manufacturers at ToyDirectory.com®

Disclaimer  Privacy Policy  Career Opportunities  Feedback
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Use.
Copyright © 2015 TDmonthly®, a division of TOYDIRECTORY.com®, Inc.