2/28 UPDATE: The Burger Cafe has been sold and has a friendly home in Pennsylvania. Anyone interested in purchasing a Calico Critters Bakery at the pre-retired price of $24.99 (plus shipping), do reach out.
I often tell kids that there's hidden treasure everywhere, you just need to know how to spot it.
This past weekend, I did a quick online price check to see what the Calico Critters Burger Cafe was selling for as a retired item. Had it gone up in value? Dropped? Wasn't affected? I wanted to make sure we were offering the only one we have left at a fair price ($59.99) in the event it had dropped.
It had NOT dropped. Retirement is good.
In fact, at the time there was only one left on Amazon. Its price? $239.99. (86% 5-star reviews.) On eBay, the price wasn't quite as high. You could get one, slightly used (just some nicks on the packaging) for $188.92.
Two days later, I went back and checked again - the one that had been available on Amazon was sold. Same for the one on eBay, although there were two others available - each at a reasonable price, but both used. One is missing pieces.
After doing a final online search last night, I found a new one available on a different site - for $244.99.
All that said, we have one Calico Critters Burger Cafe left at Mountain Top Toys. For $59.99.
It was a complete fluke. My daughter, Quinn, was watching a classic TV show with me that I'd introduced to her months ago. Watching it, suddenly it clicked. I knew who Supreme Leader Snoke from Star Wars: The Force Awakens really is!
No, not Darth Vader or Kylo Ren from the future. Not Darth Plageuis, either. Something even more unbelievable.
First - a short clip with audio of Snoke as a refresher... then the reveal, below.
Okay, so who is (or was) Snoke, where did he come from, what did he do before becoming the Supreme Leader?
Don't click this link unless you really want to know: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1j7lyRnxVE
We had a great 2015, but nowhere did we see faster growth than with our birthday bin program. What are birthday bins? Your birthday child fills a bin with toys s/he wants 1-2 weeks before the party, you fill out a note card with the items listed and their prices, and your guests choose something out of the bin and cross the item off the list.
Pretty simple. For everyone. But we've found two ways to make it even simpler. And more rewarding.
1) No more note card required. Which means no more cramped fingers or frustration as you try to quickly write down toy names on a small card as fast as your child is piling them in the bin. Instead, we will scan in the items and print a line list with prices for guests to reference. (Without having to read your chicken scratch.) Better for you, better for your guests.
2) Every purchase made out of your child's bin = loyalty points for you. A birthday bin can only deliver on your child's expectations if party guests shop out of it. Which means letting your guests know it exists. When you do, you'll be rewarded. For every $2 spent by your guests on birthday bin items, we give you 1 loyalty point. (100 loyalty points = $10 off a future order.) So if $100 in birthday gifts are purchased out of your child's bin, you get 50 points.
That means you now have TWO ways to earn loyalty points: 1 point for every $1 you spend at Mountain Top Toys, PLUS 1 point for every $2 spent out of your child's birthday bin. And trust us, birthday bin points can add up FAST when your guests know the bin exists.
A day or two after your child's party, we will go through their bin and tally what was purchased, add loyalty points to your account, and shoot you an email with any items not purchased in your child's bin for your future consideration.
We plan to kick off these enhancements January 5th. As always, your feedback is welcome.
Patrick Holland, born in a Cabbage Patch and raised inside the Honeycomb Hideout, is a former Oompa Loompa. He is now co-owner of Mountain Top Toys (with his not-so-silent partner and wife, Joanna), and parent to two daughters, both of whom are beginning to realize their father is just plain nuts. .