With the summer days here and our ASTRA Marketplace Convention wrapping up, it’s time to show our appreciation to our awesome retailers for June’s Store of the Month. Without further ado, congratulations to Red Balloon Toy Store in Utah for winning Store of the Month! It is little wonder our sales rep Nicholas chose Red Balloon Toy Store. They are one of our best customers and they have a grand selection of game and toys. The Red Balloon really got its start when its original owners were looking around for a toy and found the store was going out of business. As it’s described, the couple went to the store to buy a toy and left buying a business. Now the store is owned by Yamil and Sue Castillo and has expanded to a total of four locations (Salt Lake City, Sandy, Logan, and Provo).
I got a chance to speak with the Vice President of the store, David Castillo. While Yamil and Sue Castillo are the co-presidents of the store, David says he has a lot of “hats to wear.” He manages staffing, buys games, works in human resources, and generally straightens out any kinks or problems the stores might be having. While he admits Vice President can be an exhausting job, he enjoys promoting and believes in his stores’ games and toys. He knows that while sometimes technology is necessary, it can still deprive a child of high quality play, and he believes in his product’s ability to provide and encourage that necessary play.
Besides the high quality toys and games, David takes pride in the business’s staff. Red Balloon holds high standards for their shops’ employees and is very selective about who they staff in order to maintain high customer service. He says that everyone on the Red Balloon staff, from the youngest high schooler to the experienced mom, brings something new and great to Red Balloon’s table.
David keeps the business’s high quality service by holding a meeting each year to decide that year’s goals. This year, in addition to optimizing how they manage the inventory with their stores, the Red Balloon staff has come up with an effective way to explain their games: GAL. The acronym describes how the employees should explain the game to the customer. G stands for the goals of the game, A stands for how to accomplish those goals, and L stands for what the employee personally likes about the game. It’s a very effective means to get key points of a game across to inquiring customers. One of David’s favorite things about Blue Orange is how we take ownership of our games and send sales reps like Nicholas out to show retailers the games. David tries to mimic this with his staff by holding monthly game nights to teach the employees the games and give them a chance to play so they can learn what they enjoy about the game and relay that to the customers.
Red Balloon Toy Store could have disappeared, but with a fantastic stroke of luck it has blossomed into a buzzing local business with four store locations. This month we toast Yamil, Sue, and David Castillo for their hard work in continuing to make their shops great. Take some time to stop by at one of their stores to give them a warm congratulations or check out the Red Balloon website. Congratulations again to Red Balloon Toy Store for winning Store of the Month for June. We hope your store continues to exceed its high quality standards for products and customer service.