|| Articles by Brenda Ruggiero
Four Ways to Boost Employee Morale (1/1/2012)
In the current economy, some of your best employees may be working out of necessity, not passion. How can you keep them motivated and enthusiastic about their daily tasks?
16 Tips to Reduce Theft in Your Store (11/1/2011)
Several retailers recently told TDmonthly that theft is a problem at their stores. Here are some tips on how to minimize the problem
Retailer Spotlight: Figpickels Toy Emporium (9/1/2010)
For Figpickels Toy Emporium, the name came first. “The name Figpickels came from Granny’s cookbook!” Proprietors Brett and Susan Sommer
My Best Sellers: Figpickels Toy Emporium (9/1/2010)
At Figpickels Toy Emporium in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, “please don’t touch” is never part of the vocabulary. Customers are encouraged to play with toys and shoot each other with rubber band guns
Retailer Spotlight: Totally Thomas' Toy Depot (8/1/2010)
In 1992, Totally Thomas Toy Depot in San Diego, Calif., became the first store devoted to Thomas the Tank Engine
My Best Sellers: Totally Thomas' Toy Depot (8/1/2010)
At Totally Thomas Toy Depot in San Diego, Thomas rules! Fans enjoy the mecca of train products and can, at the same time, enjoy shopping for a variety of other products
My Best Sellers: Dancing Bear Toys Ltd. (7/1/2010)
At Dancing Bear Toys Ltd. in North Carolina’s Asheville and Hendersonville, the Evers family imagines that customers are guests in their living room
Retailer Spotlight: Dancing Bear Toys Ltd. (7/1/2010)
The Evers family dubs Dancing Bear Toys Ltd. an “upside-down” family business. In 1989, Sarah Evers began working for the store’s previous owner, and four years later the shop went on the market.
Retailer Spotlight: Key West Toy Factory (6/1/2010)
In 2005, as the Gonzon family was planning to move from Lewes, Del., to Key West, Fla., to open a new toy store, nature intervened.
My Best Sellers: Key West Toy Factory (6/1/2010)
At Key West Toy Factory in Key West, Fla., shoppers are seeking fun vacation toys that are easy to take on a cruise ship and then on a plane back home.
Retailer Spotlight: Jillie Beans Toys & More (5/1/2010)
Owner Valerie Elsea of Jillie Beans Toys & More in Westminster, Colo., has found that the store’s namesake, her 9-year-old Jillian, is a terrific buying assistant for products for tween girls.
My Best Sellers: Jillie Beans Toys & More (5/1/2010)
At Jillie Beans Toys & More in Westminster, Colo., a knowledgeable staff is ready to help choose the perfect item for every taste. Owner Valerie Elsea told TDmonthly what 10 products customers have been taking home
Retailer Spotlight: Club Tabby (4/1/2010)
Club Tabby lets little girls’ dreams come true for a day. Whether they want to be a movie star, rock star or princess, they can feel pampered and be the center of attention with parties and makeovers, or while shopping in a boutique that offers everything
My Best Sellers: Club Tabby (4/1/2010)
At Club Tabby in Lake Charles, La., tween girls can be a princess for a day … and shop to their heart’s content. Co-owner Natalie Comeaux told TDmonthly Magazine what little princesses (and their parents) are buying up.
My Best Sellers: Shenanigans (3/1/2010)
At Shenanigans toy store in Charlottesville, Va., solid service backs up more than 300 lines of available merchandise
Retailer Spotlight: Shenanigans (3/1/2010)
In 1973, Kai Rady was a new mom in a new town. She and her husband had just moved to Charlottesville, Va., and discovered there was a shortage of good toys available in the area to stimulate and entertain their young son.
My Best Sellers: RoundTable Toys Brick-and-Mortar Store (2/1/2010)
At RoundTable Toys in Winterville, N.C., customer experience is the key to success, Owner David Davis told TDmonthly Magazine.
My Best Sellers: RoundTable Toys Online Store (2/1/2010)
Although Roundtable Toys just opened its brick-and-mortar store in fall 2009, the company’s been delighting kids via online toy sales for more than 12 years.
Retailer Spotlight: RoundTable Toys (2/1/2010)
After 10 years of success with selling toys in cyberspace, Owner David Davis of RoundTable Toys decided to branch out into the brick-and-mortar space, opening a retail store in Winterville, N.C., just last October.
TDmonthly Retailer Spotlight: The Toy Shop of Concord (1/1/2010)
The Toy Shop of Concord in Concord, Mass., has a different feel than most other toy stores. It’s based on Owner David Hesel’s “shop within a shop” branding concept, which he counts as one of his biggest successes.
My Best Sellers: The Toy Shop of Concord (1/1/2010)
At the Toy Shop of Concord in Massachusetts, the customer is always right, Owner David Hesel told TDmonthly Magazine
Retailer Spotlight: The Parent-Teacher Store & Toys Too (12/1/2009)
When self-professed “shopaholic” and preschool teacher Kimberly Kopatz learned last year that The Parent-Teacher Store & Toys Too in Louisville, Ky.
My Best Sellers: The Parent-Teacher Store & Toys Too (12/1/2009)
At The Parent-Teacher Store & Toys Too! in Louisville, Ky., kids are happy to check out the “Toy Testing Area” in the back of the store, which includes a huge school house
Retailer Spotlight: Pufferbellies Toys & Books for Children (11/1/2009)
At Pufferbellies Toys & Books for Children in Staunton, Va., Owners Susan Blanton and her daughter Erin are gearing up for the Christmas season by introducing something new: a personal shopper program called “Your Own Elf.”
My Best Sellers: Pufferbellies Toys & Books (11/1/2009)
At Pufferbellies Toys & Books for Children in downtown Staunton, Va., customers can find a distinctive blend of the “good old days” along with some fresh and innovative toys.
My Best Sellers: Golden Apple Learning Store (10/1/2009)
Originally founded as a teacher supply store, the Golden Apple Learning Store in Pleasanton, Calif., has developed over three decades into a toy store that also caters strongly to educators.
Retailer Spotlight: Golden Apple Learning Store (10/1/2009)
When Barbara Hartman MacDougall opened The Golden Apple Learning Store in San Ramon, Calif., 30 years ago,
My Best Sellers: The Tutoring Toy (9/1/2009)
At The Tutoring Toy in Salt Lake City, Utah, Owners Diane and Bill Sartain believe that “play is the work of children.
Retailer Spotlight: The Tutoring Toy (9/1/2009)
A desire to work together as a family first led Diane and Bill Sartain to investigate opening a toy store, and the opportunity to help parents understand the value of play clinched the deal in 1988.
Retailer Spotlight: Moon Rabbit Toys (8/1/2009)
For Shana Hack, owner of Moon Rabbit Toys in Santa Fe, N.M., the desire to open a toy store came slowly.
My Best Sellers: Moon Rabbit Toys (8/1/2009)
At Moon Rabbit Toys in Santa Fe, N.M., the focus is fun for all ages, and customers are encouraged to try out products before they buy them.
Retailer Spotlight: At Once All Agog (7/1/2009)
Since September 2006, Candace Gooch has been working to ensure that her toy store, At Once All Agog in the Upper Limerick Village Historic District of Maine, lives up to its name.
My Best Sellers: At Once All Agog (7/1/2009)
Owner Candace Gooch of At Once All Agog in Limerick, Maine, encourages her customers to play with the toys in her store and experience their craftsmanship. Here are the items she told TDmonthly Magazine shoppers want most.
Retailer Spotlight: Melody’s Choices (6/1/2009)
When Steve Melody got into the specialty toy business, he was no stranger to the retail world, having owned a gift and collectible store in Fayetteville, Ark., for 39 years.
My Best Sellers: Melody’s Choices (6/1/2009)
Steve Melody, owner of Melody’s Choices in Fayetteville, Ark., shared with TDmonthly Magazine which companies are responsible for the top sellers in his store.
Retailer Spotlight: Child’s Play and Green Frog Toys (5/1/2009)
In January 1982, Patricia Fiedler saw a need for a new variety of store in her hometown and decided to act on the opportunity
My Best Sellers: Green Frog Toys (5/1/2009)
An atmosphere of friendliness and fun is a key element of business at Green Frog Toys in Portland, Ore.
Retailer Spotlight: Twirl Toystore & Playspace (4/1/2009)
Two years ago, a friend’s suggestion spurred Molly McMullin to open a toy store in her small-town community
My Best Sellers: Twirl Toystore & Playspace (4/1/2009)
Fun, impulse toys are staples at Twirl Toystore & Playspace in Taos, N.M. Following are the items Operations Manager Molly McMullin told TDmonthly Magazine are best sellers at her store.
Retailer Spotlight: Kazoo & Company (3/1/2009)
With a background in Fortune 500 companies, Diana Nelson had a lot going for her when it came time for a fresh start. In 1998, she was facing a divorce and needed to support her sons, a 2-year-old and a 10-month-old.
My Best Sellers: Kazoo & Company (3/1/2009)
At Kazoo & Company in Denver, a well-built team and outstanding customer service are the store’s key elements of success.
Retailer Spotlight: HobbyTown USA (2/1/2009)
HobbyTown USA got its start in 1980 when Merlin Hayes and Thom Walla purchased a single store in Lincoln, Neb., and launched into franchising five years later.
My Best Sellers: HobbyTown USA (2/1/2009)
The HobbyTown USA franchise, comprising nearly 180 stores across the United States, focuses on customer service and distinctive products for hobbyists.
Retailer Spotlight: Piccolo Mondo Toys (1/1/2009)
Michelle Smith, who owns Piccolo Mondo Toys in Portland, Ore., with her husband, Merrick, tries to bring a piece of the world to her customers.
My Best Sellers: Piccolo Mondo Toys (1/1/2009)
One of the goals at Piccolo Mondo Toys in Portland, Ore., is to bring a little bit of the world to customers.
My Best Sellers: Pun’s Toy Store (12/1/2008)
Pun’s Toy Store is a family business that offers unusual products and exceptional customer service to the surrounding community of Bryn Mawr, Pa.
Retailer Spotlight: Pun’s Toy Store (12/1/2008)
For Joe Berardoni Sr., owning a toy store came as a natural outcome of a job he landed 28 years ago.
Retailer Spotlight: Where’d You Get That!? (11/1/2008)
For Michele Gietz, owning a toy store with her husband Ken was the realization of a lifelong dream. “From the time I was very young, I said someday I’d own a toy store,”
My Best Sellers: Where’d You Get That!? (11/1/2008)
Where’d You Get That!? is a specialty toy, game and gift store on the elite Williams College campus in the Northern Berkshires of Massachusetts.
Retailer Spotlight: The Gifted Child (10/1/2008)
For the first 17 years of her business, Owner Randy Austin of The Gifted Child in Lenox, Mass., lived in New York City and was only at her store — three hours away — on the weekends.
My Best Sellers: The Gifted Child (10/1/2008)
Playsets, figurines, outdoor toys and select plush are customer favorites at The Gifted Child in Lenox, Mass., where toys, clothing and baby gear are all organized by category.
Retailer Spotlight: The Santa Claus House (9/1/2008)
When a retailer owns a store at the North Pole, the choice of a focus is simple: Santa Claus!
My Best Sellers: The Santa Claus House (9/1/2008)
For the Santa Claus House in North Pole, Alaska, the focus is simple: Christmas-related items, Alaskan-themed items, and custom toys. Here is a list of the store’s best-selling items
My Best Sellers: Aunt Jean’s Toys & Treats (8/1/2008)
At Aunt Jean’s Toys & Treats in Montclair, N.J., customer service and fulfillment of “drive-bys” — a service in which staff select and pick party gifts for customers in a hurry — are a specialty.
Retailer Spotlight: Aunt Jean’s Toys & Treats (8/1/2008)
Frustrated by a long commute and determined to fill a need for quality children’s toys in her community, Jeanette Lauture opened Aunt Jean’s Toys & Treats in Montclair, NJ, in March 2007.
Retailer Spotlight: The Lollipop Shop (7/1/2008)
Some people, like Jeff Gurley, are able to turn life’s misfortunes into blessings. He took the loss of his job with a dot-com company in 2000 and turned it into a fun (and tasty) adventure, TDmonthly Magazine learned.
My Best Sellers: The Lollipop Shop (7/1/2008)
At the Lollipop Shop in Jonesborough, Tenn., and Kiawah Island, S.C., Owners Jeff and Candy Gurley believe that candy and toys appeal to all demographics.
Retailer Spotlight: LB Toys (6/1/2008)
Glitches in the rise to success may sometimes serve as launching pads into unexpected careers. Such was the case for Jamie Burdette, owner of LB Toys in Media, Pa.
My Best Sellers: LB Toys (6/1/2008)
Customer service — including a play area for kids and activities for the community to enjoy — is a key element at LB Toys in Media, Pa.
Retailer Spotlight: Creative Kids Toy Shop (5/1/2008)
Although Melodie Ingwersen has childhood memories of playing “toy store” with her sisters, she didn’t aspire to be a toy-store owner, she told TDmonthly Magazine.
My Best Sellers: Creative Kids Toy Shop (5/1/2008)
At Creative Kids Toy Shop in Columbia, S.C., the Lee Middleton Newborn Doll Nursery is a main attraction, according to Owner Melodie Ingwersen...
Retailer Spotlight: Puzzle Zoo (4/1/2008)
Although he didn’t intend to get into the toy business, Puzzle Zoo Co-owner Jay Demircift is living his dream, he told TDmonthly Magazine.
My Best Sellers: Puzzle Zoo (4/1/2008)
According to Co-owner Jay Demircift, excellence in merchandise and customer care work together to create a successful environment at Puzzle Zoo toy stores.
Retailer Spotlight: Kazoodles (3/1/2008)
After Bob and Mary Sisson became grandparents, they discovered they were making a lot of interstate trips to buy toys for their grandchildren.
My Best Sellers: Kazoodles (3/1/2008)
Co-owner Mary Sisson of specialty toy store Kazoodles in Vancouver, Wash., was so excited about ordering toys when her store first opened that the stock nearly overtook her home!
My Best Sellers: Clever Kids Toy Shop (2/1/2008)
Owner Michelle Beyer of Clever Kids Toy Shop in Rochester, Minn., is picky when it comes to choosing products, and her customers seem to appreciate the extra attention she gives to a small space.
Retailer Spotlight: Clever Kids Toy Shop (2/1/2008)
A good number of businesses are started by everyday people who see a need and decide to fill it. Such was the case for Michelle Beyer, owner of Clever Kids Toy Shop in Rochester, Minn.
Oodles of Kazoodles (2/1/2008)
A few years ago, grandparents Bob and Mary Sisson took the plunge to open a specialty toy store in their long-time community of Vancouver, Wash.
Retailer Spotlight: Dark Delicacies (1/1/2008)
A 13th anniversary is a significant milestone for any store, but the number is particularly fitting for one that specializes in horror.
My Best Sellers: Dark Delicacies (1/1/2008)
Best-selling items at Dark Delicacies in Burbank, Calif., have that extra touch of scary that’s just right for the only book and gift store in the United States dedicated exclusively to horror.
My Best Sellers: Brain Station & Tree Town Toys (12/1/2007)
Co-owner Hans Masing of online store Brain Station and brick-and-mortar location Tree Town Toys in Ann Arbor, Mich., told TDmonthly Magazine that vendor reps can be helpful
Retailer Spotlight: Brain Station & Tree Town Toys (12/1/2007)
When Hans and Tricia Masing started their lives together, they each worked in fields completely unrelated to toys. Tricia was an engineer in the auto industry and Hans was in information technology, they shared with TDmonthly Magazine.
Retailer Spotlight: Juggles (11/1/2007)
It was during her early ‘80s quest to begin a children’s bookstore that mother and teacher Idanna Smith, along with a friend, discovered a toy store for sale and took the plunge into ownership.
My Best Sellers: Juggles (11/1/2007)
At Juggles in Wakefield, R.I., owner Idanna Smith has noticed that kids like to build. Anything!
Retailer Spotlight: Boing! JP's Toy Shop (9/1/2007)
Before Elaine Hackney plunged into opening her own toy store, she tested the waters by asking nearby storeowners to talk about their businesses
My Best Sellers: Boing! JP's Toy Shop (9/1/2007)
Since her store opened in Jamaica Plain, Mass., six years ago, Owner Elaine Hackney of Boing! JP’s Toy Shop has learned lots of lessons about inventory
Retailer Spotlight: Izilla Toys (8/1/2007)
When Jude Larene and Jennifer Schneeweis decided to create a business where they could work together and include their son, Isaiah, they picked a toy store because it was difficult to find good toys in their neighborhood.
My Best Sellers: Izilla Toys (8/1/2007)
When Co-owners Jude Larene and Jennifer Schneeweis opened their Seattle toy store in 2003, they decided to bring in toys that were appealing to them and good for children.
Retailer Spotlight: Henry Bear's Park (7/1/2007)
An interest in children’s books introduced Sally Lesser, owner of three Henry Bear’s Park stores in Massachusetts, to the toy industry.
My Best Sellers: Henry Bear's Park (7/1/2007)
After 31 years in business, Owner Sally Lesser of Henry Bear’s Park in Massachusetts, knows that staple items and best sellers go hand in hand.
Toys for the Old Folks (7/1/2007)
Toymakers and retailers may complain about age compression, but some say the market’s opened up on the other end: The way to lure kids back to toys is to sell to the adults.
Retailer Spotlight: Fundamentally Toys (6/1/2007)
Toy-store owner Debbie Scholl of Fundamentally Toys in Houston had prior experience in buying and financial planning for a department store and even managed a specialty store.
Retailer Spotlight: On the Park (6/1/2007)
It all began with a Gund pig named Hamlet.
My Best Sellers: On the Park (6/1/2007)
When asked to pick his best-selling toys, Fred Rosenberg, co-owner of On the Park in Kingwood, Texas, responded, “Top 10 is tough."
Toys for the Old Folks (6/1/2007)
Ever had a mom walk into your store with a little kid and buy a toy for herself? Only?
My Best Sellers: All Things Fun! (5/1/2007)
Every day is full of adventure for Ed and Dina Evans, owners of West Berlin, N.J.'s All Things Fun, where action toys, games and comics are the focus.
Retailer Spotlight: All Things Fun! (5/1/2007)
After spending a decade opening stores for others, Dina and Ed Evans decided it was time do something for themselves
Retailer Spotlight: Fundamentally Toys (5/1/2007)
Debbie Scholl has run Fundamentally Toys, a specialty store in Houston, for more than 10 years. How does she do it?
Jandie Jams Adds Up (4/1/2007)
Many parents might recognize Sandy Sartor’s dilemma: In an attempt to find educational resources for her small children that were more interesting than flash cards, she purchased a music CD designed to help them learn addition
Retailer Spotlight: Kaleidoscope Toys (3/1/2007)
Michelle Deutschmann's jump into the toy industry was the result of meeting a combination of needs
My Best Sellers: Kaleidoscope Toys (3/1/2007)
Michelle Deutschmann had to overcome well-meaning naysayers when she first contemplated opening a toy store
Retailer Spotlight: Playmatters (2/1/2007)
A milestone birthday and a visit to the Nuremburg Toy Fair helped nudge Michael Ziegenhagen to launch Playmatters in Cleveland in the early 1990s
My Best Sellers: Playmatters (2/1/2007)
In this issue of TDmonthly, Michael Ziegenhagen, owner of Playmatters in Cleveland, Ohio, shares some of his best-selling toys
Xtra Fielder Teaches Kids to Play for Real (1/1/2007)
Mark Gibson is a baseball person. He enjoys the game, and played it in college
Baker Wood Marionettes Play On (12/1/2006)
Some people reach adulthood without knowing what they want to do in life. For Bob Baker, the decision didn't take long at all. He knew for sure by the time he was 7.
Cool Company: Sol-Effect (11/1/2006)
A well-built base of trading partners from all over the world is one of the keys to success for Sol-Effect Enterprises Inc. of Arcadia, Calif.
Rainbow Games Reaches for Its Pot of Gold ... Again (11/1/2006)
In the game industry, some companies are overnight successes that sweep the market off its feet.
The Ups and Downs of Giving (11/1/2006)
Across the country, kids are in need, and one of the things they often lack is a toy.
Retailer Spotlight: The Toy Chest (10/1/2006)
Although her father had always been in the toy business, necessity pushed Debbie Wurzburger to open her own toy store in Pikesville, Md.
Getting Personal With Toys (9/1/2006)
Debbie Wurzburger opened her own toy store in Pikesville, Md., almost 23 years ago to provide her own children with quality playthings without traveling to D.C. or New York.
A Great Ride for All Ages (9/1/2006)
When John Simpson headed out for sushi in 2000, he had no idea that a chance meeting would change the course of his life ...
Today’s Furniture Grows With Kids (8/1/2006)
Retailers told TDmonthly Magazine that many parents who are trying to get the most for their money are opting for “evolving furniture,” or pieces that will grow as the child grows, eliminating the need to purchase a separate crib, toddler bed, and “big kid” bed.
Evolving Furniture Grows With Kids (7/1/2006)
The latest innovation in kids' furniture, evolving bedroom sets, is catching on among money-conscious parents.
How to Judge a Gift By Its Package (5/1/2006)
TDmonthly Magazine caught up with Bill Goodwin to ask him a few questions about the significant role packaging plays in selling toys.
These Baby Travel Toys Won't Get Lost (5/1/2006)
These days, baby's got a lot of clever options when it comes to packing for the road.
Classic Games Maintain Edge (3/1/2006)
Despite the growth of video and computer games, classic board and card games still attract a large audience.
Wagadoogoo! Makes a Game of Travel (3/1/2006)
Distant places seem just a little bit closer, thanks to the game Travel Mania, created by Paul Mistor, president and founder of a company with a name like no other — Wagadoogoo! Inc.
Plugging In Junior (11/1/2005)
Whatever happened to teddy bears and blankies? Though still popular, these classics are joined by an ever-increasing number of fancy electronic gadgets for the under-5 set.
Learning to e-Tail the eLearningtoys.com Way (8/1/2005)
Thinking of starting your own online retail toy outlet? Anne Yates, president of Manchester, N.H.-based eLearningtoys.com, recommends a solid business model, business plan and financing.
Kazoo & Company Reaches Top 5 ... Again (6/1/2005)
Kazoo & Company has a right to be proud. The full-service toy store in Denver, Colo., was chosen as one of the Top 5 Specialty Retail Toy Stores in North America by the Toy Industry Association in 2002, 2003 and 2004.
Time Off From Work Helped Hooray! (6/1/2005)
Often, it’s the smallest decisions that have the most profound effect. This is true for Audrey Koocher, president of Hooray!, a specialty toy company based in White Plains, N.Y.
TDmonthly's Top 10 Most Wanted Educational Games (6/1/2005)
There are many games specifically designed to teach topics such as spelling, math, and geography.
TDmonthly's Top 10 Most Wanted Electronic Handheld Games (5/1/2005)
With summer trips planned and just around the corner, retailers would do well to stock up on the following portable games in preparation for excited travelers.
TDmonthly’s Top 10 Most Wanted Sand Toys (4/1/2005)
Sand play helps to develop physical, social, and mental skills. While any beachgoer will admit that the sand itself can attract a child’s attention for many hours, adding accessories will only increase the “fun-factor” and learning opportunities.
TDmonthly´s Top 10 Most Wanted Ride-On Toys (4/1/2005)
Ride-on toys have always been popular with children, for obvious reasons. They’re fun, and they allow them to do one of their favorite things: imitate grownups!
TDmonthly's Top 10 Most Wanted Die-Cast Airplanes (3/1/2005)
The world of die cast airplanes can be a confusing one for the inexperienced. Planes can be found in many sizes and varieties, while models range from the Wright Brothers’ first plane to Air Force One. Here is a list of some of today’s most wanted planes.
TDmonthly’s Top 10 Most Wanted Building Sets (2/1/2005)
According to the NPD Group, building set sales totaled $416.3 million in 2004. Winners with kids of all ages, these sets also get a thumbs-up from parents, encouraging active involvement rather than passive observation.
Five Science Books to Captivate a Child (12/1/2004)
With the educational and science-related book category enjoying increased visibility and sales success, TDmonthly magazine takes a look this month at five all-ages titles that will entrance young readers with surprising perspectives, compelling narratives and timeless themes. The unifying thread, of course, is science
The Boys´ Share of the Tween Market (11/1/2004)
In the toy and hobby world, the tween market has become a hot commodity for retailers. Reyne Rice, toy trend specialist for the Toy Industry Association, explains that the industry focus for the last few years has been to retain that particular age group in toy products
The Hobby Industry Supplies Diverse Products to Meet Demands (9/1/2004)
The key word in today’s hobby industry is “diversity.” Since the market includes everything from crafts to radio control, consumers can be assured that their hobby will be represented, and hobby companies are working to adapt their supply to meet the demand. When it comes to the toy industry, one person’s toy is another person’s hobby
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