Cypriana Porter is the owner of The Gingerbread House in Wolcott,
NY. A creative woman to say the least, Cypriana has done numerous
promotions in order to drive up business in her store. She has also
been kind enough to talk to us about them.
ToyDirectory Monthly (TDM): First off, let's find out a little
bit about your store, The Gingerbread House. How long have you been
Cypriana Porter (CP): On June 2, 2002 we celebrated our
TDM: What type of items do you stock?
CP: We carry a wide variety of items, keeping in mind the
educational and play value of each item. Wood puzzles and wood toys
by Lights, Camera, Interaction are strong sellers for ages 1-4.
We also carry Puzzle World by them. We also carry products by Alex,
Small World Toys, Curious Toys, TC Timber, Learning Resources, Toys-N-Things,
Roy Toy, Pockets Of Learning, Educational Insights, Learning Curve
Atollo, Taurus Toys, Scientific Explorer, Inhabit Toys, Creativity
For Kids, Creations By You, Delta Education, Safari, Anatex, Selecta,
Kid Galaxy, Balitono, Scholastic, Smethport, Russ Berrie plush,
Puppets by Folkmanis and no toy store is complete without Raggedy
Ann & Raggedy Andy from Applause. I make sure to carry items
in varying price ranges, that way the person looking for a $10.00
item can find what they need, and so can the person who wants to
TDM: Who is your typical customer?
CP: I have a lot of parents and grandparents who shop in
my store. Grandparents enjoy finding items that are not video or
computer games. Parents seem to enjoy the fact that I don’t have
a “Please Don’t Touch” rule. In fact, I encourage children and adults
to play with the toys we have open. They can bring the children
in and they get a chance to see if the child likes the toy before
they purchase it. The children are occupied while the adults shop.
Teachers, people that home school, and day care center operators
continue to be another growing customer base. I give a discount
to all teachers and licensed Day Care centers. I even had a woman
on Valentine’s Day come in and buy a “Capsela” MX Racer for her
husband. He had seen it here and that’s what he really wanted. They
didn’t even have any children.
TDM: We hear you introduced a new superhero in order to promote
your store can you tell us a little bit about him?
CP: His name is “Puzzleman” - “Defender Of Creativity” Born
on the planet Jigsaw, Puzzleman now resides at The Gingerbread House
in Wolcott, NY. His evil enemy is “Dr. Boredom”. Puzzleman is ready
in a moments notice when Dr. Boredom looms. He is an active member
of the Wolcott Library & Wolcott Historical Society. He wants
children and adults to understand that it is creativity that powers
the mind - not batteries.
TDM: Where did you get the idea for Puzzleman?
CP: Being located in a rural area, local businesses had
told me that April is generally a slow time of year. I decided that
I needed to do something out of the ordinary to promote sales. I
thought about what catches my own son’s attention. It was superheroes.
My superhero had to relate to both adults and children and have
an “actual” purpose. I walked around my store and decided that puzzles
are something that kids from 1 to adults love to do. The name Puzzleman
just seemed to be a natural fit. Because he believes that creativity
is so very important, he needed an evil enemy and Dr. Boredom became
his evil enemy. Jigsaw was a word associated with puzzles and was
a great name for Puzzleman’s home planet.
TDM: How has he driven up sales?
CP: A week before his first appearance, we appeared live
on Syracuse Channel 9 news (WIXT). This turned into a “FREE” 3-minute
segment on Puzzleman, my store and on the products I carry. Two
local papers, The Auburn Citizen and The Wayne County Star wrote
articles on him. We ran an ad in our local paper promoting him and
his upcoming visit. At his first appearance on 5/18/02 he was a
hit!!! He handed out “free” Puzzleman Key Chains, made from actual
wood puzzle pieces. The key chains were numbered and we held a drawing
every hour for a free puzzle. We handed out 144 in 1.5 hours. In
turn, my sales soared.
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