CHA Celebrates Innovation at the 2013 Winter Show


The CHA 2013 Winter Conference & Trade Show drew 3336 buyers and 928 networkers, totaling  4264 attendees; of which 790 were international, joining us from 56 countries including Canada, Japan, Australia, the United Kingdom, Mexico and Germany.

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While the temperature was down, the energy was up. Despite the unusual California weather being as low as some 30 degrees, exhibitors and attendees were all in good spirits yielding positive results. For some, this Show was the most successful it’s been in years.

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“We’ve been exhibiting at the Winter Show for the entire life of our company – seven years that is – and 2013 was our best Show ever! Our booth was busy literally the whole time. We’ve always seen the Show as – primarily – a way to build brand awareness and network with distribution partners. But this year we worked with a lot of independent retailers and wrote a lot of orders. We did more international business than ever before, picking up new distributors and retailers in Australia, South America, Europe, and Far East.” Sara Davies – Sales Director, Crafters Companion

“This year’s CHA Show was the best in years for us. Not only was it a great forum to see many of our current customers in one place, but it also presented an opportunity to meet new buyers from the international community.”  Ryan Newell – President, Spinrite LP.

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“The CHA Conference & Trade Show is the only event on the planet where we can greet hundreds of customers in three days. We cannot imagine choosing not to be there. The 2013 CHA Winter show was our best show ever; the quantity of customers, the quantity of leads and the sales dollars written were all record numbers. The CHA Winter Show was a great start for a new year!” Bobbie Medema – Marketing Director, Notions Marketing

Another key contributing factor to the positive momentum was the launch of the CRE8TIME industry consumer awareness campaign and the new CRE8TIME.org website.  CRE8TIME is a movement funded by the CHA Foundation, designed to encourage creativity by getting participants to pledge 8 hours per month to doing something creative. CRE8TIME.org serves as the hub of the CRE8TIME social movement. It is a community where “CRE8ERS” share their crafts, pledge their hours, get inspired, stay informed and learn how to reclaim 8 hours a month.

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“The positive energy from both exhibitors and attendees is very encouraging and speaks volumes to the vibrancy and momentum building for the industry. We look forward to carrying that excitement forward with all the new programs we are launching in 2013.” Andrej SuskavcevicCAE, President and CEO, Craft & Hobby Association.

Every year CHA gives out awards to select exhibitors for outstanding work in product innovation.  Those receiving awards for their products include: Innovative Product Award – Katy Sue Designs/Flower SoftSilicone Molds (www.katysuedesigns.com); Attendee Choice Award – Spellbinders Paper ArtsImperial Gold (www.spellbinderscreativearts.com); and two Honorable Mention Innovative Product Awards – June TailorT-shirt Transformation Ruler Center (www.junetailor.com) and We R Memory KeepersEnvelope Punch Board (http://www.weronthenet.com).

CHA accepts nominations annually from members throughout the industry with the purpose of identifying individuals and companies making significant contributions to humanity, the industry, and the Association. This year Creative Leisure News’ Mike Hartnett was the recipient of the Meritorious Award of Honor. This is the highest award recognition the Craft & Hobby Association can bestow upon an individual past or present member, and is given for significant contributions made to the Association. The Special Recognition Award went to Mari Eriksson and the staff of Fusion Beads, a retail store in Seattle Washington. This award is presented to a person, group and/or company for their extraordinary contribution in an activity showcasing the craft and hobby industry in a positive way.

In 2014 the CHA Winter Conference & Trade Show will return to Anaheim, California January 10-14 to celebrate the 73rd edition of the Show.

Family Ties: A CHA Blog Video Exclusive With Beacon Adhesives


By Jason Baum

The CHA Blog was given exclusive access to the Beacon Adhesives factory for our Family Ties: Craft Business Pass Their Torch From Generation to Generation series.

Beacon Adhesives is a family owned and operated business located in Mount Vernon, NY. The company was founded by David Meshirer in 1926 and was originally a manufacturer and distributor of hat making supplies. David’s son, Milton (Mickey) Meshirer joined the company in the 1950’s and has since gone on to become the CEO as well as the chief chemist. Mickey’s vision and imagination led to the creation of some of the most popular adhesive products for the craft industry.

Today, Beacon’s President is Mickey’s son, David and his daughter, Debbie is Vice President.

It was a true pleasure discussing what it is like to own and operate a family business, especially one that has been around for more than 75 years! The insight provided by the Meshirer family is inspirational to those thinking about opening their own family business.

Thank you Mickey, David, Debbie and Bobbie for inviting us in to your “second home” in Mount Vernon. Also, a special thank you to Diane Newman who made this interview happen.

While compiling the article, “Family Ties: Craft businesses pass their torch from generation to generation,which appears in CHA’s magazine, Craft Industry Today (Fall 2012, Vol. 1, No.3) we were fascinated by the amount of family-owned companies, each with their own unique stories, within our industry.  Click to read about Katie Hacker & Dee’s Delights, Hobby Lobby, Momenta, and Mangelsen’s.

Family Ties: Craft businesses pass their torch from generation to generation (Part 4 – Katie Hacker & Dee’s Delights)


While compiling the article, “Family Ties: Craft businesses pass their torch from generation to generation,which appears in CHA’s magazine, Craft Industry Today (Fall 2012, Vol. 1, No.3) we were fascinated by the amount of family-owned companies, each with their own unique stories, within our industry.  In the upcoming weeks we will be expanding on this article and sharing CHA member stories on our Blog.

Katie Hacker

By Mike Hartnett

CHA has been profiling multi-generational industry businesses (Click to read about Hobby Lobby, Momenta, and Mangelsen’s). In most cases, the next generation eventually takes over the business from the parents/founders. But some stay in the industry on their own terms and carve out their own niche.

Katie Hacker’s parents, Jerry and Dee Hacker, bought Dee’s Delights in 1982 after Jerry had worked at the company’s general manager for seven years. Miniatures was a very strong category at the time, and Dee’s Delights grew into the largest distributor of dollhouses and miniatures in the world. Jerry and Dee sold the business in 2006 and retired.

Jerry was an industry pioneer, helping launch the Mid-American Craft & Hobby Association (MACHA), later renamed The Association of Crafts & Creative Industries (ACCI).

Katie was hooked on the industry at an early age. “The first trade show (HIA) I remember attending was when I was in the fourth grade. We stayed at the Jolly Rodger Inn and my sister and I were thrilled to take such a big trip across the country [from Ohio]. I sneaked a peek at the show and remember that someone gave me a bundle of Friendly Plastic, which I couldn’t wait to use. Then my mom took us to Disneyland.”

That started a family tradition. “Our family vacations consisted of spending extra days at various craft and miniature trade show locations,” Dee said, “a great way to see the USA.”

“When I was in high school and college,” Katie remembers, “I did different jobs for Dee’s Delights, from pulling orders to making samples, to helping with the 800+ page catalog. I got to wear a lot of different hats, and it has helped me look at my own business from a variety of perspectives.”

After college, Katie was hired by Hot Off The Press owner, Paulette Jarvey, as an editor/designer. “Our families knew each other from the industry, and I always wanted to live out west,” Katie said.

That was the start of a remarkably busy career. Today she is the host of Beads, Baubles & Jewels on PBS, with a new series starting in early November. Her most recent book series is Earrings 101, Necklaces 101, and Wire-Wrapping 101, published by Hot Off  The Press. She also created the Katiedids™ line of channel findings manufactured by Beadalon. Last month she launched her regular column for BeadStyle magazine. She’s also a regular guest on Jewelry Television’s Jewel School and a member of Beadalon’s and Halcraft’s design teams. She’s also a CREATE YOUR STYLE with SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS Ambassador and a CHA Designer Section council member. She conducts numerous workshops at trade and consumer shows, such as the Bead & Button Show.

Her Beading Blog is at www.katiehacker.blogspot.com.

If all that didn’t keep Katie busy enough, she married Craig Brown in 2000 and they have two crafty kids, ages 6-1/2 and 3. Craig is an organic farmer turned fitness instructor and they live near his family farm in rural Indiana. This past summer, they trained for and ran a half-marathon together. Last weekend they cycled in the infamous “Hilly Hundred,” a two-day, 100-mile bike ride in Southern Indiana.

Family Ties: Craft businesses pass their torch from generation to generation (Part 3 – Hobby Lobby)


While compiling the article, “Family Ties: Craft businesses pass their torch from generation to generation,which appears in CHA’s magazine, Craft Industry Today (Fall 2012, Vol. 1, No.3) we were fascinated by the amount of family-owned companies, each with their own unique stories, within our industry.  In the upcoming weeks we will be expanding on this article and sharing CHA member stories on our Blog.  In the coming weeks we’ll be featuring stories from the following members and more: Dee’s Delights and Beacon Adhesives.

Hobby Lobby

By Mike Hartnett

Hobby Lobby is one of the most remarkable success stories in American business – and it’s remarkable in many ways.

Hobby Lobby started as an outgrowth of Greco Products, a miniature picture frame company founded in a garage by David Green in 1970. David’s sons, Mart and Steve, began gluing frames together for seven cents per frame when they were nine and seven.

Hobby Lobby officially began operation on August 3, 1972. Size of the store? 300 square feet of retail space.

Today there are 514 stores from coast to coast, averaging 55,000 square feet and selling more than 65,000 craft and home décor products. Other divisions include Crafts Etc., the wholesale division; Mardel, a chain of Christian bookstores; and Hemispheres, a chain of high-end home décor stores. As a result, Forbes magazine has included David on its Forbes 400 list of the richest Americans since 2004.

The growth is attributable in part to his loyal employees, who have good reason to be loyal. Three years ago, at the depth of the recession when the unemployment rate was skyrocketing, Hobby Lobby raised the starting minimum wage, which was already higher than the federally mandated level. The company has increased the starting minimum wage $1/hour four years in a row.  The company also built an extensive medical clinic for employees at the headquarters in Oklahoma City.

The family has strong religious beliefs, and they put their money where their mouth is. The company probably loses millions in sales because the stores are closed on Sundays. Each Christmas and Easter, Hobby Lobby takes out a full-page ad in the major newspaper of each town with a Hobby Lobby store. The ads have a religious theme, not the typical “50% Off!” ads that are so common for retail advertisements.

Half of all pre-tax earnings are given to a variety of evangelical causes. The list of donations is almost endless; Forbes estimates David has donated “upwards of $500 million,” including property to help the late Rev. Jerry Fallwell, and tens of millions to save the almost-bankrupt Oral Roberts University, etc. The company is planning a national Bible museum to house the more than 44,000 religious artifacts that have been purchased and saved.

The ministry reaches around the world, too. The company has printed and distributed almost 1.4 billion copies of Gospel literature to more than 100 countries.

Hobby Lobby is remarkable in other ways, too: Despite it size, one of the largest privately owned company’s in the country, it is still a family-run business. Mart, David’s oldest son, is CEO of the Mardel Stores division, and Steve, David’s younger son, is President of Hobby Lobby. David’s daughter, Darsee Lett, is VP of Art/Creative Department overseeing approximately 70 artists and crafters. Stan Lett, David’s son-in-law, is VP for Manufacturing, International Dept., and Buyer Resources. Randy Green, David’s nephew, is head of the wholesale division, Crafts, Etc. And yes, David’s grandchildren are working there, too, or with the company’s numerous charitable and religious efforts.

A succession plan is in place. When David is gone, Hobby Lobby will operate as it has and to continue to donate to evangelical causes. The company has been set up as a managing trust with Green family members as the trustees to see that it remains true to its operating philosophy. If succeeding generations were to decide to sell the company, 90% of the proceeds will go to ministry causes – an incentive to not sell the company, but see that it continues to fulfill its purpose.

The current generation certainly can’t foresee Hobby Lobby being sold. Randy Green, David’s nephew and head of Hobby Lobby’s Crafts Etc. division, said, “We see Hobby Lobby as much more than just a business, but as a ministry that ultimately belongs to God, and as a family we are just stewards over it. If the company were ever sold and taken public, we would not be free to donate to and support various ministries at the level that we have done and continue to do.”

(Note: Forbes magazine recently profiled David. Read the article HERE. In 2004, when David made the Forbes 400 (richest Americans list), Hobby Lobby vendors were asked to explain the keys to the company’s success, given the fact that the stores are closed on Sunday, no fancy scanning equipment at the check-out counters, etc. Their answers are HERE.)

Family Ties: Craft businesses pass their torch from generation to generation (Part 2 – Momenta)


While compiling the article, “Family Ties: Craft businesses pass their torch from generation to generation,which appears in CHA’s magazine, Craft Industry Today (Fall 2012, Vol. 1, No.3) we were fascinated by the amount of family-owned companies, each with their own unique stories, within our industry.  In the upcoming weeks we will be expanding on this article and sharing CHA member stories on our Blog.  In the coming weeks we’ll be featuring stories from the following members and more:  Hobby Lobby, Dee’s Delights and Beacon Adhesives.

Momenta

By Mike Hartnett

Michael Barker’s parents started selling jewelry when they were college students in 1970. They went into the dormitories and went door to door. In 1972, they opened a retail store in Northwood, NH, and Michael was born the next year.

One of Michael’s earliest memories was of crawling around on the floor behind the glass display cases, amazed at the shark teeth his parents were selling. When Michael was five, his parents took him to his first craft fair. They sold jewelry and cookies and when the fair ended, they used the proceeds to buy Michael a bicycle.

Momenta’s original name was American Traditional Stencils, which began in 1978 when a customer asked Michael’s parents if they could recreate a brass stencil she owned. They said yes, and then quickly taught themselves about photo-etching, the process by which stencils are created from a sheet of thin metal. Michael’s dad later got a patent on a unique form of photo-etching for making jewelry.

“My entire childhood, I remember working in the family business,” Michael said. “After school and summer vacations were spent packaging stencils and assembling stamps. The stamps were the worst because you had to cut out each piece of rubber by hand, and then glue the rubber to a piece of foam before applying the completed kit to the wood handle.

“But it also taught me at a very young age the value of a dollar,” Michael added.

Like parents, like son: In college Michael started a mail-order company that sold craft supplies. After college he turned the business over to his mother (his parents were divorced by then) and went to law school, vowing never to return to New Hampshire — or the craft industry.

However, during law school, and later business school, Michael continually gave his mother advice on running the company. “I still insisted I wouldn’t return,” Michael remembers, “but I never really let go, either.”

But shortly after 9/11, Michael and his then fiancée decided to return to New Hampshire. He began managing the business with his mother, Judy Joyce, thinking it would be a two- or three-year adventure.

Challenges lay ahead, however. Stenciling had declined, and Michael made a major change: He transformed it into a paper craft and scrapbook company, and renamed it Momenta.

Marriage, two kids, and 11 years later, Michael is still running the company. Judy worked with Michael for about four years, during which time the company’s sales tripled, so she felt the company was in good hands and she could retire and follow her dream: Today Judy is a Peace Corp volunteer in Dominica. Will a third generation eventually take over?

It’s a little early to tell. Michael’s son Max is six and daughter Brea is three, but Max is interested. Michael has already taken Max to a Jo-Ann store, pointed out the Momenta stickers, and explained how they got there.

“I discuss business with him fairly regularly,” Michael said. “He is always very interested and I enjoy discussing it with him, although I leave out the more ‘difficult’ parts of running a company,” Michael added with a smile.

Family Ties: Craft businesses pass their torch from generation to generation (Part 1 – The Mangelsens)


While compiling the article, “Family Ties: Craft businesses pass their torch from generation to generation,which will appear in CHA’s magazine, Craft Industry Today (Fall 2012, Vol. 1, No.3) we were fascinated by the amount of family-owned companies, each with their own unique stories, within our industry.  In the upcoming weeks we will be expanding on this article and sharing CHA member stories on our Blog.  In the coming weeks we’ll be featuring stories from the following members and more:  Momenta (previously American Traditional Stencils), Hobby Lobby, Dee’s Delights and Beacon Adhesives.

The Mangelsen Family

By Mike Hartnett

The Mangelsen family has probably contributed as much to the growth of the craft industry as anyone.

Harold and Bernice opened a Ben Franklin variety store in Omaha in 1961. They had four sons, Bill, Tom, David, and Harold (“Hal”), Jr. who lived with their parents behind the store. Bill, the oldest, began working with his father when he was 13 and officially joined the family’s business at 18.

A decade into its existence, the family wanted to convert the store into an all-craft operation, but the executives at the corporate Ben Franklin said no. So the family dropped the Ben Franklin affiliation and converted to a more crafty format, HD Mangelsen & Sons.

Another family named Dupey operated Ben Franklin stores in the Dallas area, and son Mike heard about the Mangelsens’ store conversion. He visited Omaha and returned home convinced they had the right idea. Mike converted his stores and that was the birth of what is now the Michaels chain and the craft superstore.

The Mangelsens affected far more than retailing, however.

Bill made his first buying trip to Hong Kong in 1971and in 1977 Bill attended the Canton Fair in China for the first time. It was here that Bill met a number of suppliers and expanded his Far Eastern business relationships. While visiting various factories in Shanghai, Fujian, and Guangdong provinces, Bill realized there were many products which could be made in China and sold in the U.S. and Europe.

In 1973 the family opened a wholesale operation and became one of the industry’s premier distributors and importers.

Bill moved to Hong Kong and set up a buying office for the family business in 1979. His wife Ramona and their children joined him in 1980. Bill’s family suffered a tragedy with the loss of their 13-year-old daughter, Mary, in September, 1980, due to a congenital heart disorder. Bill and his family returned to Omaha, and approximately six months later their 10-year-old son, Paul, was struck and killed by a car while riding his bicycle.

Bill closed his office in Hong Kong to allow him more time to spend with his family and to care for their six-year-old daughter, Annie. They later had two additional children, Jennifer in 1983 and Michael in 1989.

In 1992, Bill joined the Greensward Company, serving in various capacities over thirteen years including Director, responsible for strategic planning, legal matters, sales, creative directing, public relations, and new product development. He left in 2005 to launch his own company; Sino Harvest Limited, to produce Makin’s Clay®, a new type of polymer clay modeling medium. It was introduced to the craft market in 2003 as “The No Bake Polymer Clay®.” Bill soon expanded the Makin’s Brand® to include product tools and accessories.

In 2006, Bill and daughter Annie started Makin’s USA, Inc., an import business providing Makin’s Brand® products to distributors and retailers in the U.S. and Canada.

Bill died in Hong Kong at the age of 64 in 2008 due to complications from pneumonia.  He was posthumously awarded CHA’s Industry Achievement award in 2009.

As an innovator, businessman and eventually an inventor and entrepreneur, Bill leaves a legacy that began at the family variety store when he was just 18. Bill is considered by many of his colleagues in the industry as a pioneer of the China import business.

And the Mangelsen influence continues. Bill’s daughter, Annie, is head of Makin’s Clay, which is now sold in more than 48 countries. Bill’s brother, David, still operates the store, David M. Mangelsen’s in Omaha, now assisted by his three children, Marla, David, and Matt. Hal has his own import company, Midwest Design Imports. The only son of Harold and Bernice not involved in the industry is Tom, who went on to become a world-renown nature photographer.

NORTHRIDGE PUBLISHING ANNOUNCES NEW CRAFT INDUSTRY TRADE PUB FOR RETAILERS


In a news release issued on April 14, 2011 CHA Member Northridge Publishing announced the launch of a new craft industry trade publication geared toward craft retailers engaged in sewing & needle crafts, beading & jewelry making as well as paper crafts & scrapbooking.  The publication called “Creative Retailer,” will address a wide variety of topics, provide project ideas and discuss solutions for common retail problems.

Since the demise of Craft Trends Magazine several years ago there have only been a handful of media outlets reporting on the craft industry as a whole and they include Creative Leisure News, Craft Business (UK based), Craft Focus (UK based) and CHA Portfolio Magazine (membership based). With the introduction of a new craft industry trade pub to the market there is hope that the industry truly is back on track headed for a full and speedy recovery.  Kudos to the Northridge team for seeing a need and filling it. See the complete news release from below or at http://scrapbooktrendsmag.com/pressrelease.html.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Northridge Publishing announces new industry business magazine “Creative Retailer”

April 14, 2011 (PROVO, Utah) Northridge Publishing is pleased to announce their newest publication, Creative Retailer, and the addition of Torrie Nelson and Kevin Nelson to their publishing team.

As former partners of Scrapbook Premier, Inc. and Scrapbook Business Magazine, Torrie and Kevin have provided the crafting industry with a decade of valuable content and marketing programs. Key to their success has been the valuable relationships they have developed within the crafting industry. Creative Retailer is designed to provide retailers the very best in industry information and product awareness. Northridge Publishing will provide leading-edge programs and media support that will strengthen business practices for both vendor manufacturers and retailers.

“With Northridge Publishing’s stronghold in the consumer market, commanding several magazine titles and the vast experience of its production, editorial, and design teams, we knew this would be a great opportunity for us to work together in launching new products and media services. Northridge has the resources and support staff to make all kinds of valuable and effective programs a reality. In addition to the rest of their team, the caliber of sales and distribution personnel makes us realize what a terrific organization Northridge Publishing really is,” remarks Kevin.

Brian Kunz, founder and president of Northridge Publishing, states, “We have been fortunate to have an incredibly strong group of people that keep our content fresh and inviting. We are striving to expand the industry by building greater awareness to our many subscribers. We get hundreds of new readers every month and hope that this will influence stronger retail activity. There are millions who have not taken advantage of what the craft and memories market has to offer.” He goes on to say, “We know that Torrie and Kevin have carved out a very valuable niche and have gained insights that will help us make the right choices as we develop trade services and media. We have always had a mutual respect for each other’s businesses and the efforts and visions that we both bring to the table. I’m glad we can move forward together as a collective. We have great things planned for the industry.”

Torrie comments, “I’m really excited that this opportunity will expand our media reach as well as influence more readers than ever before. Working with Northridge will allow me to concentrate on my relationships with manufacturers and retailers without the daily distractions of all the other hats I used to wear. We admire Northridge and the growth they have enjoyed when the economy was flat. As the economy is now finding strength, we look forward to the possibilities that will come from being part of this great organization.”

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About Northridge Publishing

Northridge Publishing is the leading publisher of a wide variety of consumer magazines including Scrapbook Trends, Cards, Simply Handmade, Bead Trends, Cricut Magazine, Cricut: Idea Books, and Create: Idea Books. Northridge Publishing is located in Provo, Utah and has a staff of 70 full-time dedicated employees. Northridge Publishing’s magazines can be found throughout the world at fine retail establishments, including Barnes & Noble, Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, Hobby Lobby, Michaels, A.C. Moore, and thousands of independent retailers. For more information, visit www.northridgepublishing.com.

For More Information: Kevin Nelson Director of Trade Media 888.225.9199 kevin@northridgepublishing.com

Creative Leisure News Reports Jo-Ann, Hancock & Michaels are all up…


In today’s issue of Creative Leisure News, editor Mike Hartnett reports Jo-Ann net income rose 20%, Hancock  sales were up 1%, and Michaels sales were up 4.2% while its same store sales are up 2.9%.  See excerpts below or go to www.clnonline.com for the articles or to start your own subscription today.

JO-ANN: SALES, MARGINS, PROFITS UP

For the third quarter ended Oct. 30, net income rose 20.7% to $29.1 million ($1.09/diluted share.) – better than analysts expected. Based upon the company’s third quarter results, management increased its previously announced expectations for the year: Earnings/diluted share to $3.35-$3.45 from the previously announced $3.20-$3.35; same-store sales to rise 3.5% to 4.0% versus the previously announced 3.0%-4.0%; gross margin to improve 90-100 basis points instead of 70-90 basis points; and selling, general and administrative expenses, as a percentage of net sales, to improve 60-70 basis points versus 50-70 basis points…

The stock had reached a 52-week high in the days preceding the earnings announcement, but analysts expected the new earnings prediction to be even higher, so the price dropped 5%…

HANCOCK: SALES UP, BUT….

Sales for the quarter ended Oct. 30 increased 1.1% to $73.5 million and same-store sales rose 0.3%. Operating income was down to $2.8 million from $4.5 million a year ago. Net income was down, too, to $1.4 million ($0.07/share), compared to net $3.0 million ($0.16) a year ago…

MICHAELS: SALES, MARGINS UP

For the quarter ended Oct. 30, sales rose 4.2% to $968 million, and same-store sales increased 2.9%. There was a 2.4% increase in transactions, a 0.7% increase in average ticket, and a negative impact of 0.2% from deferred custom framing revenue. Canadian currency translation positively affected same-store sales by approximately 40 basis points…

Creative Leisure News Update on A.C. Moore, Hancock, HobbyLobby and ProvoCraft


Yesterday Mike Hartnett of Creative Leisure News reported on upgrades to A.C. Moore’s stock rating, top-five positioning of Hancock, ProvoCraft’s new owner – BAML, and HobbyLobby.  Thanks for reporting on the big news in the industry Mike. See the articles below or go to http://www.CLNOnline.com for your own subscription.

A TURNAROUND FOR A.C. MOORE?

Wedbush Securities, one of the few stock market firms to closely follow our industry, raised its rating of A.C. Moore to Outperform from Underperform, Reuters reported. That resulted in a 16% jump in the stock price.

Analyst Joan Storms, who recently met with the company’s management, said in a note to clients that she “detected a positive change in management’s focus on driving sales and merchandising and marketing programs now that the building of a foundation of systems and warehousing functions are now in place.”

Storms cited the roll-out of an automated replenishment system that has resulted in stores having a better in-stock position with less inventory. Recent resets of three merchandise categories that are selling well without advertising was another factor in Storms’ revised rating.

Meanwhile, SmartTrend.com named A.C. Moore as one of the five top specialty retailers as measured by the potential gains between the current stock price and the projected average analyst target. The site reported that the chain “has a potential upside of 25.3% based on a current price of $3.59 and an average consensus analyst price target of $4.50.”

The site also included Hancock as one of the top five with “a potential upside of 65.9% based on a current price of $2.11 and an average consensus analyst price target of $3.50.”

PROVO CRAFT SOLD AGAIN

Sorenson Capital sold a majority stake in Provo Craft to BAML Capital Partners, Scrapbook Update reported. Sorenson had purchased a majority stake in 2005 and will retain a minority position in the company, as will Provo Craft’s management.

BAML Capital Partners is the private equity group of Bank of America, created by the Bank of America and Merrill Lynch equity groups. The company has invested $8+ billion since 1993; other recent acquisitions include the Bass Pro Shops chain of retail stores and Hertz.

Utah Business magazine said Provo’s 2009 revenues were $$250+ million.

(Comment: Apparently the Cricut, Cricut Cake, and the Yudu aren’t the last of the technology-related products Provo is planning for the industry.)

In an unrelated matter, Provo filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against software manufacturer Make The Cut, which produced software that allows for cutting with Cricut machines without using cartridges. Provo claims it’s a violation of Provo’s copyright and violates Cricut trademarks by using them in advertising for Make The Cut products.

HOBBY LOBBY DOES IT – AGAIN

Hobby Lobby has raised wages for full- and part-time hourly employees for the second year in a row. Full-time workers will make $11/hour, up from $10, and part-timers will make $8/hour. The federal minimum wage is $7.25. The raises took effect late last week and affect more than 9,600 employees, plus those in the company’s other divisions, Craft Etc. and Hemispheres.

“We want to continue to reward our employees for their hard work and share with them the success of our company,” CEO/Founder David Green said in a news release. “They are essential to the continued growth of Hobby Lobby, and they deserve to be recognized for their contributions.”

And the company is successful: Green told The Oklahoman that revenues for 2009 were $2.3 billion and same-store sales increased by 6%.

“What’s dumbfounded a lot of folks is with the economy the way it is and as many people struggling as there are right now, we have a company opening stores and increasing employees’ pay,” HL store manager Brooks McMillan told the Athens Banner-Herald. “[Green] is not just putting money in his pockets, but sharing it with his folks.”

A year ago at the height of the recession, HL raised wages and recently opened a medical clinic for employees in Oklahoma City.

“We believe the success of Hobby Lobby is directly attributable to our outstanding employees and our strong corporate values,” Green added, “which are based on Biblical principles, including integrity, service to others and giving back to those in need.”

HL operates 435 stores in 35 states and plans to open another 25 stores this year. The Banner-Herald reported HL will be expanding into new markets, including Nevada, California, Washington and New England states.

Caron International Signs Vicki Howell


Today Mike Harnett of Creative Leisure News reported that Caron International signed Vickie Howell as Celebrity Spokesperson.  See the press release below for the complete story.Television Host, Author & NeedleArts Celebrity Vickie Howell Joins Caron TeamKnitty Gritty host and best-selling author, signs on as Celebrity SpokespersonMarch 8, 2010, Washington, NC—Yarn and craft leader Caron International has signed Vickie Howell—host of television’s popular show Knitty Gritty—as Celebrity Spokesperson.

Vickie Howell is a needle arts expert, self-taught designer, writer, and viral media consultant–all endeavors which are housed under her company, Craft.Rock.Love Media LLC. On television and the internet, Howell has inspired hundreds of thousands of knitters, crocheters and crafters. Howell is best known as the Host and Creative Consultant of 8 seasons of television’s popular show, Knitty Gritty.  She was also the co-host of DIY’s Stylelicious, Lifetime Television’s web series, CRAFTED, and several craft-based TV specials.

“I am thrilled to be part of the Caron team,” says Vickie. “I love inspiring people to be creative with the best possible materials. Caron is such a great company with terrific yarns and craft products. I am looking forward to how we can work together to encourage and inspire creativity in more and more people.”

“Vickie is a valuable addition to our strategic marketing efforts,” notes Caron President Ed Bolen. “She brings both a perspective and an audience that will significantly contribute to our planned growth as a company.”

As Celebrity Spokesperson, Vickie will be available for traditional interviews, articles and appearances, Plus, she will be very active on behalf of Caron in new media coverage through trend spotting, articles and online social networking. Details and updates can be found at www.caron.com/vickiehowell.html.

“Vickie’s enthusiasm, talent and her strong connection with emerging yarn and craft consumers will be fantastic assets for Caron,” states Jan Kahn, VP of Sales and Marketing for Caron. “ We are confident that this new relationship is an excellent opportunity that will produce fabulous results for our company.”

Howell is also the best-selling author of several, knit and crochet related books including Pop Goes Crochet and AwareKnits. She is also a weekly blog contributor for I Love to Create, and columnist for PBS Parents’ Craft Apparent with Vickie Howell.

The book behind Vickie’s community-driven project, Craft Corps hits shelves in May ’10.  Until then, she’s encouraging artists, crafters and creative types of all kinds to join “The Corps” by telling their stories through profiles on www.CraftCorps.org.

Cari Clement, Director of Fashion & Design for Caron, is looking forward to the design possibilities in this new relationship: “I’ve known and respected Vickie’s work for years. She is very much in touch with the youthful aesthetic both on and offline. We will be working closely together to bring our customers just what they’re looking for…and something new, too.”

Caron International yarns and products have been American favorites since 1921.  They strive to bridge the gap between the traditional and modern, celebrating the many ways we express our creativity.

For more information on Caron International & Vickie Howell’s partnership, check out: www.caron.com/vickiehowell

For more information about Caron International, go to: www.caron.com.

For more information about Vickie Howell, go to: www.vickiehowell.com.

Follow Caron and Vickie on  …

Facebook

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Caron-International-Yarn-for-Knit-and-Crochet/255870129243?ref=search&sid=1059902974.2217799151..1

Ravelry

http://www.ravelry.com/groups/cuckoo-for-caron

Twitter:

http://twitter.com/caronyarns

Flickr:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/47652305@N06/