Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Learn Valuable Retailer Info to Grow Your Biz at NYIGF

f you are a fellow retailer or know someone who is and they are going to be attending the upcoming New York International Gift Fair (NYIGF) you may want to attend one of their many valuable seminars for retailers that will be held during the show.

We are excited to be participating in one of the seminars entitled: "Social Media 2.0 - Using Technology to Build Your Business" - Learn how to use social media to find and communicate with customers and generate sales. Develop content that builds customer involvement and loyalty, and generates a viral buzz for products and services. Jenny Heinzen York, editor in chief of Home Accents Today, and Caroline Kennedy, editor in chief, Gifts & Decorative Accessories lead the discussion with panelists including Elizabeth Howard of The Cordial Cricket (Chester, VA), Michele Bessey of Perch Home (Maplewood, NJ) and other social media-savvy industry members. Tickets: $20 advance/$25 onsite.

For more information about this seminar and about the New York International Gift Fair, you can visit their website.

Hope to see you in the Big Apple next month!

Join Us at the Richmond Bridal Showcase

Join us on Sunday, January 10th as we kick off the 2010 wedding planning season at the Richmond Bridal Showcase at the Greater Richmond Convention Center from 11:00 - 5:00. This is a great opportunity to meet lots of vendors, view samples of their work, taste great food, see gorgeous fashions, win lots of prizes and much more.

We will have a very special exclusive offer for every bride who books an appointment for their wedding invitation consultation at our store while visiting our booth at the show. You don't want to miss it! We will also have invitations on display and even a wedding planner joining us who is also on staff at our store. We can't wait to meet each and every one of you.

Tickets may be purchased in advance from the Richmond Bridal Showcase website for $8 each or at the door that day for $10. We also have a limited number of FREE tickets to this bridal show and will be happy to give them to the first brides who contact us. If you would like a free ticket, please visit our store to pick one up. Feel free to call ahead to check availability.

Best of luck with your wedding planning in 2010!

Monday, December 28, 2009

After Christmas Sale Going On Now

Our annual After Christmas Sale is going on now! Stock up on some great holiday items and maybe even some gifts for next year at great prices.

All Holiday Merchandise is 50% off

All Niven Morgan and Olivina body care products are now 20% off

All Murval luggage, tote bags and lunch totes are now 20% off

We are open regular hours this week after Christmas, with the exception of New Year's Eve, when we will be closing at 3:00 and we will be closed on New Year's Day. We will re-open on Saturday, January 2nd with our regular Saturday hours of 10-6.

Happy After Christmas Shopping!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Scenes from Santa's Visit to our Store

We had such a wonderful time when Santa visited our store! Many children came to sit on his lap, share what they wanted for Christmas and enjoy cookies and juice. It was fun for all of us both young and old! We are hopeful that we can make this an annual tradition with Santa at our store. We'll have to see if we stay on his "nice" list!

Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Santa Claus is Comin' to Town!

We are so excited to announce that Santa Claus himself is going to be stopping in at The Cordial Cricket on Saturday, December 5th from 12:00 to 5:00. This will be a perfect opportunity to bring your little ones, children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and friends to visit with Santa. Each child will have the opportunity to visit with Santa and receive a special treat! While they tell him what they would like this year for Christmas, you can take as many pictures as you would like! We will have cookies and drinks for the kids to share with Santa too!

This is a wonderful FREE opportunity for any children in the community to participate in and we are so looking forward to having them come to our store to visit with Santa! Please click here and RSVP to let us know if you will be bringing your children to our store to visit with Santa to help us plan for refreshments, etc. You do not need to make an appointment or have a reservation, so please come either way, but if you can let us know ahead that would be great!

Introducing Katie Lemon Designs

We are thrilled to now carry the trendy, unique and stylish designs of Katie Lemon Designs. Katie is local to our area and creates handmade one of a kind clutches that every girl will want to carry for her next night out on the town. Available in limited designs and each one is unique. Visit our store to check out her latest designs and pick up one for yourself and maybe one as a great gift for a friend! See some examples of Katie Lemon Designs below and read about Katie's story.

"Katie Lemon Designs started with just a sketch on a yellow sticky note.

My name is Katie Lemon and the start of my line of clutches all began with an idea I had in my head that I would sketch over and over, thinking of different color combinations, fabrics, etc. Never sewing a day in my life I recruited the help of a co-worker and my mother who taught me my valuable first sewing lessons and made my little sketch come to life. Since then I’ve spent countless hours sewing and scouring fabric and antique stores looking for the perfect fabrics and accessories to make that perfect clutch. I started this line about 3 months ago and love every minute of it. I am also currently working on new shapes and designs and can’t wait to get to debut them in the near future." ~ Katie Lemon

The latest Katie Lemon Designs clutches are exclusively available at The Cordial Cricket.

Black Friday Sale

Don't get up at 4 a.m. to stand in line and fight with crowds of shoppers this year on the day after Thanksgiving...instead come relax, hang out and shop at The Cordial Cricket! We will open "fashionably" late at 9:00 a.m. that morning and serve coffee and donuts while you leisurely shop and save 15% off on the entire store!

We would love to have you come and relax with us! Bring a donation for the Christmas Mother of canned food, a new toy or new children's book and receive an extra 5% off your entire purchase.

Grab some friends and come on over to see us anytime between 9:00 and 6:00, get free coffee and donuts while they last and the store sale is good all day long.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

P.S. Many of our vendors will be cutting off orders for personalized items as early as December 1st in order to guarantee delivery in time for Christmas...so make sure to have your personalized order info ready on Black Friday and take advantage of the sale too!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Are You Doing Your Part?

When was the last time you...

1. Ate at a restaurant that a local family owned?

2. Purchased a birthday card at a locally owned small business instead of a outlet store?

3. Had to buy a gift for a child's birthday party that your child was going to? Did you frantically shop at the closest big box store for the hottest trendy gift or go to a local gift store and find a one of kind award winning toy for the same price?

4. Purchased your insurance from the local hometown guy instead of the 1-800 #?

5. Bought a wedding gift...not off the registry at a large department store, instead from your a local boutique, home decor or gift store?

6. Went to a show at a local theatre company instead of the movies at the Stadium 16 Cinema?

7. Needed a gift for a co-worker who just had a new baby...and bought it from a local store instead of the nearest baby super store?

8. Stopped at the local coffee shop in town and went inside to order your morning coffee instead of cruising through the nearest chain drive thru?

9. Watched or listened to the local news and heard about yet another small business in your area going out of business...only to think to yourself, I really should have patronized that business more often, they really did have great service, affordable prices and a great selection.

10. Ordered a pizza from the local family owned italian restaurant instead of the closest delivery chain?

11. Replaced a worn out appliance from the local appliance store on Main Street instead of the warehouse discount club?

12. Bought a gift certificate for someone as a present...to a locally owned small business or restaurant?

13. Got your haircut by the local barber shop instead of the mall franchise?

14. Shopped at a local Farmer's Market or roadside stand on Saturday instead of the super-sized grocery store?

15. Thought about the fact that all of your purchases, no matter how small, affect your local economy?

Your individual spending at a local, independently owned small business helps that business to stay in business, helps to pay the health insurance premium for a local small business owner that you know personally, helps a small business owner to support their family and those of their employees who you may have grown up with, helps a small business purchase an ad in the local community paper to grow their business, which helps your local newspaper stay in business and helps put sales tax dollars back into improvements for your community.

If you answered yes to more than just a few of these questions, then your doing a pretty good job of thinking about where you choose to spend your dollars and spending them locally at every opportunity. If not, should you try harder?Supporting small & local business is more important now, in the current failing economy than ever before. Think about where you spend your dollars, shop local every time you can, tell people about the local places you choose to spend your dollars and ask them to do the same. *For every $100 spent in locally owned independent stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures. If that $100 was spent in a national chain, only $43 stays in the local community* (Courtesy of the 3/50 Project)

Trust me, your efforts to do this are appreciated by the local small business owners whom you do business with and remember your name and your kid's names much more than the corporate sales director at a national chain who's trying to meet a quota.

We support the 3/50 Project which was founded on these concepts - read about it here and decide which 3 local businesses you would miss most if they suddenly disappeared! Once you have thought of your 3, why not visit www.LoveALocalBusiness.com and help one of the local business that you love win a $5,000 small business grant.

Then tell them you chose them the next time you visit their business...the way it will make you feel is amazing!

Elizabeth Howard
Proud Owner of a Local, Independently Owned Small Business in Chester, VA

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Love Our Local Business

Won't you help us win!? Read more below about a contest we have been nominated for, sponsored by Intuit. With your help, we could actually win. Please click on this link to show your "Love" for our Local Business.

In a nationwide effort to help support the growth of small businesses, Intuit is hosting the “Love a Local Business” sweepstakes. Fans of local small businesses can nominate their favorite hometown haunt, which will make them eligible for a drawing to win a $1,000 Intuit Growth Grant, which includes a $500 Visa gift card and $500 in Intuit business services, such as Intuit Websites and Web Listings. One of those five winning local businesses will receive a grand prize of $5,000!

In addition, each business that is nominated will appear on a custom Google Map displaying favorite businesses from across the country. The more nominations a business has, the more chances they have to win a grant. Intuit has already awarded $55,000 in small business grants, now it’s time to show support for your favorite neighborhood shop! Go to Love a Local Business for more information.

Friday, October 30, 2009

"10 for 10" Promotion

We are excited to announce a new promotion we are having at our store that is for a GREAT cause and will help you save money at the same time! As many of you may already know, our store supports the local charity Chesterfield-Colonial Heights Christmas Mother program, which helps hundreds of needy families each year. They provide food, clothing, books and toys for them to have for Christmas, when they might have otherwise gone completely without.

Our local customers have always been very supportive of helping us help the Christmas Mother and we recently raised over $500 at our Holiday Open House in addition to many, many donations of food, toys and books.

We would like to continue to accept donations for this very worthy cause in our area throughout the entire holiday season and would like to encourage and reward our customers for donating items. Our new "10 for 10" promotion does just that!

To participate, simply bring in, any 10 items to donate to the Christmas Mother and you will receive 10% off your entire purchase that day...on everything, nothing is off limits, sale items, invitations, etc. You will get 10% off! Your 10 items can be canned/non-perishable food items, new children's toys or books or any combination of the three, just bring 10 things.

Stop by soon with your 10 items and get your "10 for 10" discount, while making a difference for others at the same time!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Scenes From Our Holiday Open House

We had a wonderful turnout for our Holiday Open House this past Saturday! There were many, many patient customers who waited in line for an hour for their great SWAG bags (more to come about what they found inside them). We raised over $500 for the Chesterfield-Colonial Heights Christmas Mother Program and collected a large box overflowing with donated items such as canned food, new toys and new books for children. The 2009 Christmas Mother joined our event in the afternoon and thanked many customers for their generous donations.

Our customers enjoyed many sales, specials, yummy cake and the first look at our holiday cards and merchandise. If you missed out on all the fun, stop in soon to see our holiday items and pick out your unique holiday card for sending this year. We would like to sincerely thank all of the customers who came to our event as well as those who continue to come regularly and support our business with their efforts to shop locally!

Please leave us a comment here on our blog post if you attended our event to tell us what you enjoyed most about the event, what you liked in your SWAG bag or a great gift you purchased!

We do still have some great sales going on now!

All remaining Halloween merchandise is now 40% OFF!!

All custom printed and/or photo holiday card orders
are 15% off until October 31st!

Our lovely and delicious cake from "It's A Piece of Cake"

Scenes from some of our beautiful new holiday displays, before the customers in line got to them!

The many patient customers waiting in line in the cold for their SWAG bags!

Some of our associates with Gail Feind, The Christmas Mother for 2009

Customer Gwen Byer giving her donation to the Christmas Mother

Thursday, October 15, 2009

REMINDER - Holiday Open House & Sale This Saturday!

Did you miss our big birthday bash? Shame on you, however, all of the patient folks who waited in line for their SWAG bags early that morning appreciate you missing it so they could get their bag. Well, you will soon have another opportunity to get in on the SWAG bags and get yours at our annual Holiday Open House on Saturday, October 17th from 10:00 - 6:00. We will have SWAG bags for the first 60 customers to arrive, FULL of more FREE merchandise, specials & coupons. All holiday cards and merchandise will be on sale. We'll have a sidewalk sale with discounts up to 60% off. We will be serving a beautiful holiday themed cake from It's A Piece of Cake too!

You can also start the giving season off right by helping others and save some money on your shopping at the same time! Bring in a donation at our Holiday Open House for the Chesterfield-Colonial Heights Christmas Mother program (new toys, books, non-perishable food, or monetary donations) and you will receive 20% off your entire purchase that day, (excludes invitations & may not combined with any other sale) but that means whatever you want at 20% off regular price!!! We will continue to accept donations for the Christmas Mother throughout the season and offer other discounts when you bring in a donation, but we won't offer 20% off again, just at the Holiday Open House.

So, get here early to get your bag of goodies, bring a donation for the Christmas Mother, have some cake, pick out your holiday cards at a discount and start your holiday shopping off right! See you there!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

"Cricket" Holiday 2009

We just finished unpacking our latest shipment from Snow & Graham and snapped this great photo of our new display. We have a store mannequin who we dress in different paper outfits all through the year and we affectionately named her "Cricket". We thought you might like to see her new outfit for the Holidays!

"Cricket" Holiday 2009

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Must Have Labels from demby+soloman

Leave your personalized seal using these clever, funny and stylish return address labels and gift stickers on your mail and gifts! Available for ordering in our store now from demby+solomon and also seen in O Magazine. Visit our store to select your custom return address labels or gift stickers. You can get 24 gift stickers for only $22! What a deal! You can purchase 150 return address labels for only $40 and they will even let you split a set of return address labels of the same shape into two different designs for no extra charge, so get 75 for you and 75 for a friend! (Other quantities are available)

Plan ahead and purchase holiday labels for your cards and gift stickers to use when wrapping your presents this year. Many more designs to choose from in our store, you may also view the designs on their website too.

P.S. I almost forgot, these cool labels are also scratch and water resistant! How functional!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Party Sets from demby+soloman

Party Sets...what a novel idea! As a mother of a young child, I can tell you from personal experience how much I would love to have these for my child's next birthday party. Adorable invitations for boys and girls alike, as well as some sets perfect for baby showers, bridal showers and dinner parties. Choose the invitation you like, add the optional coordinating envelope liner, return address label, note card and gift sticker and you have the perfectly coordinated party set!

Who knew custom could be so affordable! Stop by soon to take a look at all that demby+solomon offers in our store. You can visit their website here to get a sneak preview of what you can now order on your next visit to The Cordial Cricket. We are proud to welcome the demby+solomon line of products to our paper boutique. Stay tuned for more blogging about their great personalized stickers, seen in O Magazine...

Welcoming Paper & Ink Designs

We are so thrilled to be partnering with another new vendor for some great new products, now available for purchase in our store. Paper & Ink Designs offers custom invitations, stationery, announcements, calling cards, lunchboxes, coasters, stickers, paperweights and more! All custom, with many modern and stylish designs to choose from. Take a peek below for just a small sampling of some of their great things. Stop in soon to place your orders, some for you and some to give. See a few samples of the personalized gifts and holiday cards below:

Check out these adorable and unique lunch and stuff boxes! They make a great gift for any kid you know who wants to have a lunchbox like no other, or even a little one to tote some of their toys, crayon, etc. when they are on the go! They also have a neat chalkboard for messages inside the cover. Available in many different personalized designs.

These personalized coasters, available in many different designs make a wonderful hostess gifts for all of the parties you'll be attending this year! Or the perfect gift for a newly married couple.

These are just a few of the gorgeous new holiday photo cards now available for order in our store from Paper & Ink Designs. They are very stylish and so affordable! Plus, all custom holiday and photo card orders are 15% OFF now through October 31st! Hurry in soon to place your order.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Paper Meets Fashion

We are thrilled to have recently added the Bonnie Marcus collection of stylish paper products to our store. As you can see from just these few samples, the Bonnie Marcus Collection represents fashionable style for brides-to-be, moms and working girls too! 2009 has brought Bonnie Marcus a great celebrity following. Angie Harmon used her designs for her baby shower invitations, Cindy Crawford ordered her teacher’s gifts and camp stationery from Bonnie Marcus, Molly Sims came to them for her sparkling holiday cards, and the list goes on…click here to read more about Bonnie Marcus' story and her products. Her company also donates a portion of the proceeds from the sale of every product to promote breast cancer reasarch! Visit our store to purchase your own Bonnie Marcus products to express your style!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

hen and barley press

We are pleased to introduce yet another line of custom products and gifts to our customers. hen and barley press was borne of a love of stationery and everything it represents--giving, inviting and gathering people together. Jenny Morgan and Carolyn Streett, the two moms who founded the company, think there is nothing better than a simple gift, a good party, or a great dinner. As moms with 6 boys between them, they get it, though--keeping up with your busy modern life while keeping your style and sanity intact is no easy feat! Their philosophy is that everyone is happier when you keep it simple and go ahead and give, invite and gather more, even when the gift wrap is not quite right, or the house isn't perfect, or the to-do list seems never-ending.

And so, hen and barley press products are conceived to help you do just that. Whether it's cute gift labels to spruce up whatever gift wrap happens to be lurking in the closet, or a chic wine bag to dress up the bottle of wine you grab while heading out the door to a dinner, or a fabulous invitation for the time you decide to get organized and really throw a party, or some stylish personalized notesheets that keep your shopping lists looking good, hen and barley press means products for giving, inviting and gathering more with ease and style.

Come by to see their products on display in our store. Everything from custom return address labels, to custom wine bags, note pads, luggage tags and much more! You pick the designs, colors, fonts, etc. to create your personal style, we order it and you enjoy using it when it gets here! Here are just a couple of samples of what they have to offer.

Holiday Specials from The Paper Menu

One of our fabulous vendors, The Paper Menu, has just announced some awesome Holiday Specials on their products. These specials are available from October 1st - November 30th, so go ahead and take advantage of them to get all of your teacher gifts, neighbor gifts, holiday cards, holiday gift tags, stocking stuffers, etc. ready for giving!

• long sleeve t-shirts and long sleeve onesies
• sets of calling cards (order 2 sets of any quantity calling cards, get a 3rd set of same quantity free)
• sets of stickers (order 2 sets of any quantity stickers, get a 3rd set of same quantity free)
• sets of notecards (order 2 sets of any quantity notecards, get a 3rd set of same quantity free)

Most of our designs are $1.50 - $1.75 full printed price... not that much more than the big photo website prices...So Please Shop LOCAL!

*These specials are good October 1, 2009 through December 4, 2009 and are available on in-store purchases only, so stop in soon to order your gifts and get these special offers!