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BOG Store of the Month – Blue Orange Games Blog

Category: BOG Store of the Month

Teacher Store in San Angelo, Texas is May’s Store of the Month!

Teacher Store in San Angelo, Texas is May’s Store of the Month!

Nestled in the charming city of San Angelo sits the one of a kind, Teacher Store. Offering educational resources, toys, games and a rich history, this store’s many specialties is why Blue Orange Games is so happy to make them May Store of the Month. Our sale representative, Louis had a blast visiting Teacher Store and loved the staffs enthusiasm and uniqueness.unnamed (3)

Opened 33 years ago by former teachers, Manuel and Estella Santos, Teacher Store first function was teachers supplies and educations resources. Now run by their son Dominic, the store is filled with so much more, from those educational aids to toys and games. Although the store has a formal name of Angelo School & Teacher Supplies, the community collectively renamed the shop Teacher Store around 25 years ago! Don’t be fooled by the name though, Teacher Store is a treat for anyone who enters their doors. From grandparents, parents, kids, and even pen-fanatics looking for stationary accessories, this store has a little something for everyone!unnamed (1)

While both Manual and Estella Santos have retired and move slightly away from the store, they always have the store on their mind. Although it was tough for the two entrepreneurs to walk away from their “baby” which is Teacher Store they left it in the very capable hands of their son, Dominic Santos, who I had the pleasure of interviewing. Dominic let us know that one of the games that he loves to bring home to the Santo’s family is Yamslam since they can enjoy playing together.c9eb3b58e3274579c13dfec2d82908d2-Yamslam-MainPic-364x384

With over 33 years in the business I had to know what the secret to Teacher Store’s success was. Dominic stated that it was all about the customers and providing them with the best service they can. He exclaimed that “We will do absolutely anything for our customers, obviously we’re always looking for the best products, and that’s where Blue Orange comes in!” One of his favorite aspects of Blue Orange Games is the impeccable quality of each product. Offering such amazing products at Teacher Store means it’s hard to go wrong when picking out a new family favorite or gift. To celebrate their customers Teacher Store even hosts the occasional Game Day, where almost every game in the store is set out to play. While this day is a blast for customers, it’s also cherished by the employees since they get the chance to play games all day at their favorite stations.

GobbletGobbers_Pack_LowResKingdomino_Pkg_FlatAs far as Blue Orange Games, Dominic’s must-have classic is Gobblet Gobbler. He loves how even though it’s a simple game the strategy component allows it to appeal to all ages. I was excited to hear that while Battlesheep has moved down to a secondary position in his love of Blue Orange Game, the top spot now belongs to Kingdomino. This 2017 Spiel de Jahre’s winner, is the perfect game to play with customers, after one try everyone wants to play again!

With Teacher Store finding home within a 112-year-old building, the place is filled with memories and stories galore. Dominic recounted the time a four-year-old had gotten separated from his mom within the store. While the entire store searched up, dowunnamed (2)n and around the block for the young boy, he had tucked himself under a display and thus created a store wide game of hide-n-seek! In a surprise ending to our interview, Dominic also let me know that Teacher Store is rumored to be haunted.  Numerous employees have claims of items getting moved around and other spooky occurrences such as creaking sounds throughout the night. Dominic assured me though that it’s all in playful fun and not a frightening presence whatsoever.

We want to thank Teacher Store for offering such amazing customer service and passion for Blue Orange products. This family owned Teacher Store is one of a kind, in more than a few ways! We are so lucky to call Teacher Store our May Store of the Month, and we encourage everyone to check out their website HERE or their shop at 310 N. Chardbourne St. San Angelo, TX 76903.

Congratulations!

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Terra Toys in Austin, Texas is April’s Store of the Month!

Terra Toys in Austin, Texas is April’s Store of the Month!

Located in Austin, Texas, one of the coolest cities in the US, Terra Toys is a toy store filled with unbelievable charm. It embodies the city’s eclectic style by offering something for everyone to enjoy. Our sales representative, François has given Terra Toys top acclaim for their extraordinary enthusiasm and pure love of Blue Orange Games and thus why we have picked them for our April Store.terraFrontBigC

Terra Toys opened its doors over 40 years ago, earning it the honor of being the oldest independent family owned toy store in Austin. That’s no small feat! In a booming town, where everyone is welcome to create and inspire, Terra Toys knows a thing or two about success. It started as a small ice cream shop that was popular in the summer for tourists and locals alike. Husband and wife dynamic duo, Charles and Romalda, tried to think of new ways to draw in business during the colder, winter season. Charles, who was a carpenter at the time, began building handmade wooden toys. Soon after, Terra Toys was born!

 I had the pleasure to interview Corey, who is the head of the board games department at Terra Toys. Playing board games is an inherent passion that he’s always had, so working at Terra Toys has given him the chance to live his dream career. Getting to play around and introduce new games to shoppers is always a good time. At Terra Toys, the wonderful staff are knowledgeable and are always encouraged to pop open a game and give it a try. The staff at Terra Toys is genuinely passionate about fun and consistently takes their own initiative to learn all the new games.TerraToys

The store may have all the trinkets, toys, and games your heart desires, but they offer so much more. Complete with a fully stocked espresso bar and art gallery, Terra Toys offers the chance to see impressive local paintings and photographs while sipping a creamy hot chocolate. All the art is family friendly and features whimsical characteristics that the whole family is bound to enjoy. Another bonus for the entire family is that while you’re shopping for toys and games, you can also explore their children’s shoe and clothing department. We all know that picking out new shoes can be a pain but being able to play with toys at the same time makes it just a bit easier to check off the to-do list. Terra Toys is truly tailored to the one-of-a-kind Austin community and as a landmark shop it has a soul unlike anything else.

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2017 Game of the Year!

Orange2 36367We also wanted to know which Blue Orange Games must-haves at Terra Toys were. Corey told us that Kingdomino was an undefeated family favorite from the minute it launched. Though he also let us in on a secret…one game that he is currently obsessed with is Photosynthesis. While he was originally drawn to the watercolor inspired box art, Corey was even more impressed by the growth of the actual forest during gameplay. He loves that Blue Orange not only offers impressive kids games but also strategic board games for those who like a challenge.One special tradition at Terra Toys that really stands out is their amazing events. They just hosted a Fairy Tea party where kids of all ages are invited to make their own fairies out of flowers, pipe cleaners, and other kid friendly knick knacks. Terra Toys also is recognized for their Christmas in July celebration, when the shop is transformed into a winter wonderland and Santa makes a guest appearance! By always listening and catering to their customers, Terra Toys keeps the store fresh with new wonders for every visit.

We want to extend our sincere gratitude to Terra Toys for being so great! We love their enthusiasm for Blue Orange Games, and we are so happy to award them our April Store of the Month! Make sure to stop by Terra Toys at 2438 W Anderson Lane in Austin, Texas or check out their website at www.terratoys.com

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Level Up Games in Minnesota is February’s Store of the Month!

Level Up Games in Minnesota is February’s Store of the Month!

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It’s a rare find to see a store so well suited for everyone these days, but Level Up Games in Minnesota has taken the gold medal. Our sale representative Florian has had the pleasure of working with Level Up Games over the past few years. He nominated the chain of stores because of their passion for Blue Orange Games and the vast knowledge that their employees posses. Stop in or even check out their website, because these stores are sure to provide some excitement for everyone, from toddlers to adults!

Level Up Games in South Saint Paul.

Level Up Games started from humble beginnings and opened its doors eight years ago in a little shop no larger than a bedroom. Owners, Tony and Tony, started by scouring the twin cities’ garage sales and local shops for cool, novelty items and unique games that their customers would want. With such a great response from the surrounding community, they were able to grow Level Up Games into a three-store paradise for fun seekers all over the area. Their main store in St. Paul is massive and has a dedicated area for every aspect of games, toys, magic, and more. The second store in Eagan is more family-oriented and features fun-sized tables that are stacked with games so kids can try them out. Kay, the chain’s purchaser, describes their Eagan store as charming and quaint. As it is located right across a school in a tight knit community, it has quickly become a town staple. This store even features an entire wall of cool Blue Orange Games!

Inside their South Saint Paul store- now that’s a lot of games!

Their passion for games is unlike any other, and is just one of the things that makes Level Up Games our pick for Store of the Month. Blue Orange got the opportunity to speak with Kay, who is not only the Level Up Games purchaser but is also an avid gamer herself. The current games on her radar are abstract strategy titles that keep her on her toes- games like Photosynthesis that leave the player wanting to play again and again. Additionally, every employee has their own niche and specialization, whether it be Warhammer 40,000, comic books, or board games. Kay even highlighted that every employee can show you a little magic trick while in the store. It’s this type of genuine passion that empowers Blue Orange Games to create for our retailers and customers!

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Part of the Level Up Games team.

It’s no surprise that when we asked Kay about Level Up Games’ secret to success, she was proud to attribute it to their customer service. As such an integral part of the community, Level Up Games finds it easy to stay in touch with their customer’s needs, giving them just what they’re searching for every time they stop by. One of Kay’s favorite aspects about working at Level Up Games is the satisfaction that comes with recommending a new game to a customer. It always brings a smile to her face when someone comes back into the store and they are in love with their new board game or toy.

Kay’s can’t-live-without game is the Blue Orange classic, Niya. Not only does she love to play the quirky game with customers, but she always loves to take the fun out of the shop. She divulged to us that whenever she and her fiancé go out to dinner they like to play at least 3 rounds before their meal comes out. They enjoy Niya because no matter how many times they play, there’s always a new strategy and tactic need to win! For her, being able to play again and again without getting bored is what makes a game great.

Level Up Games’ gaming space at their South Saint Paul location.

With so many interesting games coming out, it can be difficult to stay up to date on the newest releases. That’s why Level Up Games hosts a plethora of events for gamers of every level and age, like Learn to Play which is on the 25th of February. Level Up Games also has a weekly tradition of Monday being community game night. At these weekly events, everyone is welcome to their open game library or can bring their own game to play.

We invite you to visit their website or stop by one of their locations to see how awesome Level Up Games is in person. They go the extra mile for their customers, which is why we are honored to name them store of the month. Congratulations!

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By: Whitney Green

Moon Rabbit Toys in Santa Fe, NM is January’s Store of the Month!

Moon Rabbit Toys in Santa Fe, NM is January’s Store of the Month!

iconTucked in the picturesque town of Santa Fe, Moon Rabbit Toys has been catering to its community’s fun needs for over 12 years. Santa Fe is the oldest capital city in the United States, as well as the highest in elevation, and is home to diverse culture and unique treasures- like Moon Rabbit Toys! With half of their store dedicated to games and the other half toys, this shop takes playing around very seriously. One of our sales managers, Francois, recommended Moon Rabbit Toys for January’s Store of the Month Award because of its extraordinary staff and their real love of games.

Moon Rabbit Toys is the wonderful creation of Shana, who let her pure love of toys inspire her to open a shop. While not a strictly educational store, Shana likes to say “it’s just for fun and if you learn anything it’s your own fault.” Both families and educators alike stop by to find new ways to engage kids, as they know there’s no limit on the amount of joy and strategic thinking a game can provide the young mind.

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credit: moonrabbittoys.com

Shana’s favorite thing about owning a toy store, besides playing all the games, is finding the perfect toy or game for anyone. Believing that there is something special for every customer is the foundation of Moon Rabbit Toys. With regulars, tourists, and even regular-tourists who visit yearly, it’s clear that Moon Rabbit Toys has perfected the art of magically finding everyone a game or toy they are sure to love. While being interviewed, Shana even stated, “Did you know Kingdomino is best game ever invented?” Her work to pair everyone with the perfect game never ceases! She added that after the staff learned how to play Kingdomino, they were so in love that they encouraged all their customers to try it out. During the holiday season they joked that their best sales pitch was, “we can teach you the instructions, we can play a round, but trust us: just buy it!” Of course, all it takes is a game or two to get hooked!

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Moon Rabbit Toys’ favorite Blue Orange Game.

As you can tell, Moon Rabbit Toys is always willing to go the extra mile for their customers. Many customers come in needing a gift or something special, and Shana and her team of well-versed staff are ready to take on the challenge. While many stores simply try to get the product sold, Moon Rabbit Toys strives to find each person, young or old, the right fit that will keep them engaged and smiling with glee. One of their greatest secrets to success is having a copy of almost every game opened and ready to be taken for a spin. This make Moon Rabbit Toys a paradise for kids to run around and find a favorite to take home.  Additionally, it allows parents to take the time to learn the instructions and rules before they make an investment. Shana realizes that no one wants to buy a game that’s just going to sit on the shelf, so it’s vital to try before you buy. One of her personal favorites to demonstrate is our Spiel de Jahres winner, Kingdomino!

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Shana and her staff accepting their award.

Since we’re interviewing professional game players, Blue Orange had to know: what exactly makes a good game? Shana thinks that there are two key elements to a good game. First, the game must have clear and simple rules, so it’s easy to pick up and play. Second, the game has to be fun for a variety of ages. One of Shana’s favorite Blue Orange Games, which is easy to learn and great for a variety of ages, is our beloved Battlesheep! Many times she will recommend this game, as well as Pengoloo, to  families that stop by looking for a game that’ll keep both kids and parents entertained. We’d have to agree that those are great options, as the rules are simple and adaptable to every family and age group.

There are many reasons that Blue Orange Games is naming Moon Rabbit Toys as our January Store of the Month, but a few stand outs include their dedication to excellent customer service and the value of play.  Shana and her staff are amazing brand ambassadors for Blue Orange Games, and we thank them wholeheartedly!

If you find yourself in Santa Fe, you should definitely stop by and say hello! Moon Rabbit Toys is located at 112 W. San Francisco, Ste. 202 Santa Fe, NM 87501 and can be reach at (505) 982-9373.

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Congratulations to Shana and the entire staff at Moon Rabbit Toys!

By: Whitney Green

Congratulations to Sage Explorers in Lake Forest, IL for Winning December’s Store of the Month

Congratulations to Sage Explorers in Lake Forest, IL for Winning December’s Store of the Month

IMG_0001If you’re ever in the neighborhood of Lake Forest, Illinois be sure to make a stop at Sage Explorers toy shop. While its doors only just opened in September, this place is well on its way to becoming a town staple. With its quick acceleration to the top and a focus on educational learning, Sage Explorers is more than deserving of our December Store of the Month award.

Lake Forest has been a town without a toy and game store for many years, and Sage Explorers has brought the fun back into the community. With only a few months under their belts, the people of Lake Forest have quickly embraced this shop and all it has to offer. Those seeking a new game or toy no longer have to journey far to satisfy their wishes and as a result, you can expect to find the store busy with kids stopping by after school for a little fun, or grandparents picking up a treat for their grand kids. Being able to cater to such a diverse range of people is just what makes Sage Explorers so special!

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Demonstration tables throughout the store are one of the keys to their success!

While Sage Explorers offers toys and games that will keep the kids entertained for hours, they have so much more. The owner, Allison, has been a educator for the last 12 years, so you can be assured that she knows a thing or two about educational fun. She knows that games can help develop a young mind and that building strategic skills is something that parents, educators, and kids should all get excited about. As a store that values the learning process, many teachers within the community have found Sage Explorers to be a great resource for classroom materials. They also have tutoring available for children, which provides them with another chance to make a difference in their community.   Allison declared that one of her favorite educational games to recommend is the Super Genius line, since it’s so easy to integrate within any curriculum and keep students engaged.With everything you need to promote education, there is no question why the store has seen such great success.

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Sage Explorers accepting the Store of the Month award.

Of course we had to ask which Blue Orange game is Allison’s personal favorite. She’s a big fan of Flash, since it’s such a great way to get kids focuses on arithmetic while nurturing their motor skills. On the other hand, she’s noticed that customers go crazy for Go Go Gelato. It’s easy game play and flexibility to adjust to any age or skill level make it a favorite with her customers!

When asked what makes a great game, Allison stated that it’s all about how easy it is to teach. Customers, from young kids to grandparents, love a game that has simple rules and is quick for players to pick up on. At Sage Explorers, one of the secrets to their success is always keeping a great selection of easy to learn games out for demonstration. Having four display tables all packed with games enables everyone that strolls by to play a quick round as they shop. This has proven effective as letting their customers play a Blue Orange classic, Gobblet Gobblers, has been an easy way to keep the game flying off the shelves.

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Customers playing Gobblet Gobblers at a demo table in the store.

If you’re ever in Lake Forest, Sage Explorers is definitely worth the visit. From educators to parents to kids, everyone is bound to have a fun time! They’re located at 647 N. Bank Ln., and will soon be available online as well.

Congratulations!

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Written by: Whitney Green

Congratulations to Shananigans in Baltimore, MD for winning our November Store of the Month

Congratulations to Shananigans in Baltimore, MD for winning our November Store of the Month

imagesWhether you’re a kid in age or at heart, Shananigans in has something fun for everyone. It’s rare to find a toy store that can excite and pique the interest of all who enter, which is why the citizens of Baltimore, Maryland are lucky to have such a wonderful place to pass the time!

While its doors have been open for 25 years, Shananigans gained its unique personality 12 years ago when the Stelzer family took ownership.  David Stelzer’s 6 years of experience in the toy store industry helped him make the store an extraordinary place with his parents, Flora and Barry . It is no longer just a novelty store, but rather an experience that can be customized for anyone. Shananigans is a haven where anyone can find eclectic gifts, from toys and games for infants to anti-dementia games for seniors. It’s a store that believes there is no age limit to having fun! Blue Orange Games got the chance to interview Flora to find out just what drives this amazing store. Flora’s homemade caramels are a favorite among our Blue Orange sales team, and they are only one part of the gracious hospitality she shows whenever we visit the store.

Flora outside of the store.
Flora outside of the store.

Flora understands that it is all about the customer; some people want strategy games where you use your brain, while others want a “ha ha” game that lets them relax with a group of friends. Flora also knows that a great game can’t be too daunting, as people want to be able to learn it quickly! She personally enjoys a good game of Yamslam, but if a grandparent is looking to find something for their grandchild she might show them KeeKee: The Rocking Monkey (a Blue Orange Classic). Finding the right fit is easy when there are so many good games to choose from. With some journeying up to an hour to look around the shelves, a trip to Shenanigan’s is always worthwhile.

Two of Flora’s favorite games to play while growing up were Jacks and Pick-up Sticks. She loves that the store is able to offer both of these classics as well as other versions with a twist that keep the games fresh! Now that she is a grandparent, Flora jumps at the opportunity to play those games, as well as newer games, with her grandchildren. She remembers when the power used to go out, creating the chance to spend quality time with her family in the candlelight bonding over activities like games.

When asked about her favorite Blue Orange game, Flora had more than a few.  After 12 years in the toy industry she has become an expert in recommending something for everyone! She loves Fastrack, saying that it’s “really nice for a lot of kids that don’t have the longest attention span” because it moves so fast and has rules that are easy to follow. Another treasured game on her must-get list is anything from our Doctor Series! Whether it’s Dr. Eureka, Dr. Microbe, or Dr. Beaker, she knows that people are going to love any our exciting logic games.

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The inside of Shananigans, where all the magic happens!

Another key to Shananigans success is their customers’ feedback. Flora loves hearing from customers about their experience, as well as their favorite items. She recalled having recommended New York 1901 to a customer, and then being so overjoyed to hear back that he had been playing it nonstop. Having a fantastic management and staff that goes out of their way for good service is just one of the many reasons Shananigans is our store of the month. When locals come in looking for fun to take home, Shananigans always takes their customers’ hints and offers just what they need. A trend Flora has noticed in her customers is the resurgence of game nights being integrated into a lot of families’ busy weeks. She thinks it’s important to offer games that the whole family can get involved in, like Tell Tale or Tricky Trunks.

We chose Shananigans as November’s Store of the Month because of their wholehearted energy for fun and games. With such care taken in their recommendations, and the fact that they go above and beyond as retailers, we thank Shananigans for the splendid work they do. Make sure to visit the store at 5004-B Lawndale Ave. Baltimore, MD 21210 if you find yourself in the area!

Congratulations!

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Written by: Whitney Green

Congratulations to Lazy Frog in Oak Bluffs, MA for Winning October’s Store of the Month

Congratulations to Lazy Frog in Oak Bluffs, MA for Winning October’s Store of the Month

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If you’re headed to Martha’s Vineyard, you already know there’s leisure awaiting you. Nestled in this beautiful area sits the picturesque town of Oak Bluffs, which is home to our October Store of the Month winner, The Lazy Frog. If the name doesn’t paint a clear picture, then as soon as you enter the premises you will realize that this shop is your destination for all things fun and entertaining. Whether you’re heading to the beach for some sandcastle action or love a good early morning brain teaser, they have something for you! Raphael from the Blue Orange team got the chance to visit the The Lazy Frog, and was enamored by the island lifestyle and natural familiarity of this toy shop.

oak-bluffs-town-beach-oak-bluffs-marthas-vineyardWith many coming to spend the day at the scenic beaches that wrap around its coast, Oak Bluffs is ideal for lounging. As the Lazy Frog has half of their store specializing in outdoor fun and the other half dedicated to indoor fun, a quick visit is sure to be the perfect way to start any day. Stop by to pick up a Blue Orange Game, or grab a Djubi set and get ready for some time in the sunshine.

 

Much like the town, The Lazy Frog has interesting roots. Sarah and Jake, occasionally referred to as Mrs. and Mr. Frog, have always been dedicated to leisure. It was back in 2003, when the pair was visiting Martha’s Vineyard, that they noticed the quirky shape of the island; Jake compared it to a lazy Frog, and thus the vision was born! Fast forward to BI9U9MhCEAANgSV2005 and they opened their shop in Martha’s Vineyard with relaxation on the mind. Following the spirit of the town, The Lazy Frog welcomes all looking to have a good time with friends and family, similar to Blue Orange’s goal of enjoying the love and warmth that comes from spending genuine time with one another. With the beautiful coastline engulfing Oak Bluffs, tourists and locals can immerse themselves in the easy flow of slow days filled with good memories- with a stop at The Lazy Frog being a must.

 

Fastrack_GameOpenOne of Jake’s Favorite Blue Orange games is Fastrack. Having a copy that customers can play in store really allows it to sell itself, and since it’s so easy to learn anyone can become a pro with just a few matches. However, it must be warned that Jake is the “King of Fastrack”, and will not go easy on first timers. He says that “when people lose they always want to play again; then they’re hooked!” Another Lazy Frog favorite is Tricky Trunks since it so colorful and bright, it has an knack for drawing everyone in!

With thirteen seasons under their belt, the Lazy Frog is no stranger to the game. They have a perfect formula for success that starts with open doors and open arms; they know that having a welcoming environment with friendly staff and intriguing games makes all the difference. During our interview with Jake we could hear the hustle and bustle of toys and kids exploring all the shop had to offer. He even mentioned that today was a special day since they had a new greeter at the door who just happen to be a three legged dog! Whatever the case, The Lazy Frog is sure to leave a lasting impression on those lucky enough to go.

Make sure to hop to their store at 42 Circuit Ave Oakbluffs, MA 02557, or visit their website for frog puns galore. We thank Jake, Sarah, and The Lazy Frog team for having such great enthusiasm and passion for fun.

Congratulations!

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By: Whitney Green