Thursday, August 27, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
We are pleased to introduce Ben's Garden handcrafted products to our customers. Arriving this week, we will be carrying several designs of Ben's glass paperweights, note pads, glass trinket trays and wall plaques as well as his beautiful nature inspired glass magnets. Come party with us on Saturday, August 29th when the new Ben's Garden display will be revealed for all to enjoy! These items feature wonderful inspirational quotes & messages and are made by Ben in his studio in New York. They will make wonderful gifts for your wonderful friends! Read more about Ben below.
Ben Busko has always drawn inspiration from the gardens surrounding him. Raised in Setauket, New York on Long Island, his mother and father, art gallery proprietors, introduced him to gardening with a small herb garden when he was 4 years old. Ben carefully arranged his garden plot, and propagated his plants for sale to family and friends. As Ben’s garden grew larger, so did his passion for gardening.
Ben started BEN’S GARDEN when he was just 8 years old, selling a small collection of decoupage crafts inspired by his garden. With persistence he developed account relationships with Smith & Hawken and the New York Botanical Garden. Impressive sales demonstrated the strong demand for his unique range.
Today, Ben Busko, 24, has a small staff of artists to assist with production of his signature BEN’S GARDEN designs. They use artisan techniques honored for centuries, in his Studio steps from the most fabled Gold Coast Harbor, in Oyster Bay, N.Y. on Long Island. His ever-expanding collection includes coasters, stationery, paperweights, artwork, decoupage trays and platters -all inspired by the charm in vintage papers, botanical prints & the antique curiosities he patiently unearths.
Ben’s celebrated BEN’S GARDEN stores bring a fresh perspective to America’s favorite passion. The stores feature his favorite things: unusual plants, myrtle topiaries, one-of-a-kind, vintage furniture, antiques, artwork, home accessories, garden instruments, garden ornaments, and beautiful books to lose an afternoon in. Stroll in to the sounds of a French café or preview the new store collections while sipping a mojito at our anticipated store events.
His prized designs are available through his 2 retail stores and upscale specialty retailers worldwide, such as The Cordial Cricket in Chester, Virginia. BEN’S GARDEN, the magazine column appears the beginning of every season in @Home Magazine. BEN’S GARDEN and his designs have recently been featured in InStyle and House & Garden magazines.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - LOCAL RETAIL STORE FINALIST FOR NATIONAL AWARD
Chester, Virginia - August 19, 2009
The Cordial Cricket, a specialty retail store located in Chester, Virginia, was recently selected as a finalist in two categories of this year’s national Retailer Excellence Awards (REA). The four-year-old stationery and gift shop was selected among entries from across the country as one of two finalists in the Retail Internet Innovator category and one of three finalists in the Marketing Achievement category. In both categories the store received a runner-up award.
The REA awards have been presented for the last 58 years by industry publication Gifts & Decorative Accessories Magazine to recognize high achievers and excellence in retail across the United States. The awards were presented this year at the REA gala, which took place on Sunday, August 16th, in New York City. The Cordial Cricket’s owner, Elizabeth Howard, and two of its employees attended the event, along with other REA finalists such as Vera Bradley’s CEO and founder, Barbara Baekgaard. In addition to being recognized at the awards gala, all of the finalists were featured in the current issue of the Gifts & Decorative Accessories’ nationwide publication.
Howard started her company in 2005 as a home-based stationery business producing custom invitations and stationery. Two years later she opened her first retail store selling stationery and gifts, along with custom invitations, in a 700-square-foot space in Petersburg, Virginia. After outgrowing the space, Howard moved her business to a brand new 1,954-square-foot store in Chester’s new Festival Park. At this time she changed the store’s name from Paper With Style to The Cordial Cricket, obtained a US Trademark for the store’s new name, and launched a new website (www.thecordialcricket.com) to serve as an on-line store.
Howard’s on-line marketing efforts also include an emailed electronic newsletter and a blog that features information on new products, store events and product news, such as when a new bag line carried at The Cordial Cricket was featured on the ABC reality TV program, "The Bachelorette." She also stays strongly connected with her customers through the store’s Facebook page and with followers on Twitter.
This cross-promotional marketing strategy seems to be working to improve business across the board for The Cordial Cricket. Howard said her online store now ships orders all over the country and receives an increasing number of new, unique visitors each month. Her blog is receiving more traffic and comments every day. Her brick and mortar location is experiencing an increase in traffic. And her active customer list has increased 360 percent from 2007 to 2008.
With so many more retail and small businesses folding instead opening these days, Howard is optimistic about her store’s future. “The numbers are certainly pointing in the right direction,” she said, “with on-line and store traffic definitely up. But being recognized by national industry leaders for accomplishments in categories populated by retailers with much longer histories and stronger brand names than The Cordial Cricket, is not only an honor, but a strong signal that our marketing efforts are on target.”
To celebrate their success and thank their customers, Howard has planned a birthday party for their Chester store, which they will have occupied for one year on August 29th. The party, which will be held on Saturday, August 29th, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m, will feature cake, party hats, a patio sale with discounts up to 60 percent off and displays of many new products. The first 30 customers that day will also receive SWAG bags filled with free merchandise from some of The Cordial Cricket’s largest vendors.
“Everyone talks about what the celebrities get in their SWAG bags at the Oscars and the Emmys, so I want our customers to enjoy feeling like celebrities too,” stated Howard. “Honestly, it is the least we can do for such great cheerleaders of our business.”
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For more information or media inquiries contact Elizabeth Howard at:
The Cordial Cricket
3524 Festival Park Plaza
Chester, VA 23831
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Many of you have already heard about the great new, tiny video camera device known as the Flip. We have read lots of reviews about them as we are considering getting one for our store to capture events, customer testimonials and trips that we take in order to share them online with our customers afterwards. We recently ran across a stellar review about the Flip from Brides.com. Click here to read all about it!
Sounds like a must-have for any bride to document her wedding story, honeymoon and happily ever after for years to come! Leave us a comment here to tell us if you have a Flip and if you have "flipped" over yours. Give us your tips and tell us how you most enjoy your Flip! Help us decide..should we get a Flip or not? You never know, we may feature your filming tips in a future Wednesday Wedding Tips e-zine for other brides to read.