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Archive for November, 2010

The Gift Of Christmas Candy Makes You The Sweetest Secret Santa!

Is your office holiday gift exchange coming up? Or do you and your friends or family members celebrate the tradition of Secret Santa to keep the gift-giving affordable and fun? Personally, I’m a huge fan of Secret Santa. I know it can be tricky to find a really great gift for a modest price, but I adore the thrill of the bargain hunt. I also enjoy knowing that the gift in my Secret Santa bag isn’t socks or a dollar store lotion. Remember – if you buy someone stinky lotion, they just might use it! Do you really want your coworker to have the office smelling like simmering sandalwood well into June? No. No you don’t. And luckily, that is not your only option!

Typically, the spending limit on Secret Santa is relatively low. After all, it’s meant to be a creative and fun exchange, not an adventure for the Platinum credit card. Looking at the Blair Secret Santa as a reference point, we cap the limit at $15; enough room to get something cool and useful, but not so much that it cuts too far into already-stretched holiday funds. If your limit is between $10 and $20 as well, and you’re scratching your head over what to get, fret not! We have a delightfully delicious idea that requires just a little sleuthing on your part.

You may not know the guy from the IT Department’s favorite movie, you may not know the musical artist that gets the woman from Finance singing along every time, but if you listen for a candy wrapper opening, you’ll know what tickles their sweet tooth in an instant! And the spy work gets even easier if they keep a candy dish on their desk.

No crinkling wrappers? No candy dish? No worries! Candy is actually quite a social thing. We may talk about it more at Blair than most places, but even in casual conversation with friends and family the opinions start flying when candy comes up. If you’re shopping for a candy gift for a close friend or family member, chances are you already know exactly what to get them. But if it’s for a coworker that isn’t leaving any clues, start an open discussion the next time there’s a lull in communal conversation at the office. Something as small as, “I could sure go for some Skittles right about now!”, is sure to elicit a response from everyone within earshot. All you need is one little, “Me too!”, or, “As much as I love Skittles, it’s Starburst that I can’t get enough of,” and your Secret Santa solution is in the bag! The candy bag, that is. :)

Candy Pam Goes Back To Elementary School…Then Straight To College!

Anyone who knows Blair Candy’s Pam is aware that she’s one smart cookie! But even we were surprised that she was able to climb the academic ladder from 4th grade to college in a week’s time. How did she do it exactly? What’s her late night infomercial secret for these kinds of instant results? It’s rather simple, actually…she drove! We can’t guarantee all the 9 and 10-year-olds of America can zip through 4th through 12th grade that quickly, but Pam wasn’t actually taking classes, she was visiting them.

Her educational journey began at her friends’ 4th grade class, where she chatted with the children about the importance of math, spelling, and even manners. These are all key components to running a successful online store, no matter what you sell. In fact, spelling is even more important for eCommerce store owners than brick and mortar store owners as a misspelling could cost you valuable rankings. After all, a lot more people are looking for Candy Canes than candy cones! Pam also filled the students in on all the candy deliciousness that’s based in Pennsylvania – home to Blair Candy. It’s not every state that can boast being home to Hershey’s, the chocolate magicians behind Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Kit Kats, and a host of other tempting treats. She also let them know about Boyer Candy, which is located just a 3-block walk from Blair! You may not be as familiar with Boyer’s name as Hershey’s, but you’re certainly no stranger to their ooey, gooey, oh-so-amazing Mallo Cups. Or Mmmmmallo cups as I like to call them! And Pennsylvania’s candy cred does not end there – we musn’t forget RM Palmer, and Just Born, just to name a few.

After sharing her background in the candy business with the kids, reminding them that no matter what your aspirations in life may be, learning math, reading, writing, science and more is an absolute must, Pam shared something they might have considered even more exciting – candy! In keeping with her lesson plan, she offered up Dum Dums and Smarties, explaining that both are delicious, but it’s better to be a smartie than a dum dum!

Her next trip found her at Elizabethtown College where she was one of several great speakers that day teaching students, faculty, and business owners about the ins and outs of eCommerce. Anyone who runs an eCommerce business knows there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes than meets the eye, from blogging to social media interaction to managing a PPC campaign. These are all key components of a good business plan, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed by it all, particularly if you’re growing your business from brick and mortar to online as well, or even replacing your brick and mortar business. A lot of the same rules apply, but it truly is a whole ‘nother ball game, and Pam was excited to share all she’s learned so others can start on a better playing field from the minute the gates open! As for the candy…well, she didn’t forget! It’s no secret that adults love candy too, and everyone was treated to a seasonal favorite, Reese’s Peanut Butter Trees.

Thanks to Mrs. Z and Mrs. B, and your fantastic 4th grade class, for letting us bring a little Blair into the classroom. And thanks to Elizabethtown College for letting us be a part of your fantastic seminar!

A Few of Blair Candy’s Favorite Things

You might imagine that the Blair Candy team is immune to the overwhelmed feeling that Christmas can bring. After all, we’re surrounded all day by candy and orders of candy that are sure to make countless people smile when those boxes arrive! And to be honest, it is a fulfilling job. There isn’t a single thing I can think of that I’d rather be selling than candy. It’s fun to be in the business of enjoyable goods – to sell things that make people happy. It’s exciting to see the seasonal candy both new and nostalgic roll off the truck and onto our shelves, serving as a more reliable calendar than any I know. Do I know the exact day of the month or time of the year? Yes…it is Christmas Time! That’s all I need to know.

However, for as upbeat and Christmas-loving as we all are here at Blair, even we have the occasional bad day where it all seems like too much. There’s ever-growing ‘To Do’ lists that cover everything from finding the snow shovel in the mountain of stuff in the garage to finding suitable Christmas gifts for kids’ teachers. And all of this is to be accomplished with the cold air biting at our fingertips and toes, the sun setting sooner than ever, and the line of traffic just to enter the mall parking lot reaching seemingly as far back as our driveway at home! Don’t get me wrong – Christmas is worth it! It’s worth every long line, every dinner and dessert prepared for company, every minute spent cleaning my house to prepare it for that company. It’s the warmest, most wonderful time of the year. But it’s also insanity-inducing. It makes people behave in ways they would never imagine behaving the rest of the year. It can leave us tired and frustrated. Its heart of happiness can be lost in the shuffle. And it’s up to us to ensure that doesn’t happen.

I can’t promise I won’t beep my horn at someone this holiday season, or sigh a mildly exaggerated sigh upon seeing the line at a favorite store. I can’t promise I won’t sometimes lose sight of the love and laughter that Christmas is made of. I can’t promise I won’t be rushing around on December 24th like a madwoman because I forgot to get my nephew a present…again! But I can promise I’ll try my best. I will keep pushing myself to smile and mean it. I will hesitate before honking the horn. I will take a deep breath and remember my favorite things.

I think it’s safe to say almost all of us are familiar with the song My Favorite Things from The Sound of Music. It’s a catchy song with cute lyrics, and at some point most of us had to learn it for a chorus class or concert. It’s a song that gets stuck in my head from time to time, so I decided to rewrite it a bit for the holidays like I did with the Monster Mash for Halloween. I hope you enjoy it, and encourage you to think of it when the bah humbug bites! I know I will. Promise. :)

Gumdrops in candy bowls and Luden’s in pockets
7 days a week made better with Sixlets
Stockings hung high, filled with Candy Rings
These are a few of my favorite things

Peppermint Tootsie Pops and Hershey’s Kisses for lunch
I don’t eat a few – I eat a whole bunch!
Gingerbread House Kits full of icing
These are a few of my favorite things

Popcorn Balls make me all a’flutter
Like falling in love (with Reese’s peanut butter!)
Time with family and friends and oh-so-glad tidings
These are a few of my favorite things

When the traffic bites
When the cold wind stings
When everything seems amiss
I simply remember my favorite things
I simply remember Christmas!

Blair Candy Presents: Christmas Candy – A Sweet Story of Sugar and Spice

Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, there lived a friendly Candy Queen whom everyone called Pam. She required not that she be addressed as ‘Queen Pam’, or ‘Her Royal Majesty’, for what brought her joy was not her status, but sharing her sweets with the world. Each year, the Candy Queen would eagerly anticipate the great candy holiday of Halloween. She would delight in every morsel of candy corn, relish every lick of a witch finger lollipop. And every year, when the clock struck midnight on October 31st, Pam could be seen walking slowly with her head hung low, saddened that Halloween was precisely as far away as it would ever be. You see, for as happy as Halloween made the Queen, it also inflicted upon her a rare but serious ailment – Christmasnesia! This ailment strikes fast and fiercely at midnight on October 31st, rendering its victim completely unaware that while Halloween passing is indeed a lamentable event, its passing also means that Christmas is right around the corner!

This year came with the same familiar depression as years past, leaving the Queen in her annual post-Halloween slump. But this sadness only lasts for 9 hours, as each year Captain Candy is waiting in Pam’s office for her arrival at 9am, November 1st. And he is waiting not to chitter-chatter, as Captain Candy is so very fond of, but to present to Pam the only known antidote to Christmasnesia…the all-powerful Candy Cane.

Carefully unwrapping the candy cane, Captain Candy presented it to a very confused Queen. “What…what…what is it,” the Queen inquired, “What is this mysteriously-shaped yet sweet-smelling cane?” “It’s a candy cane, Pam,” replied Captain Candy, “A peppermint treat that’s oh-so-wonderful to eat!” And as the Queen took her first hesitant taste of this strange candy cane, as in years past her face immediately flushed with happiness as she exclaimed, “A candy cane, it’s a candy cane! And a candy cane can only mean Christmas!”

With Christmasnesia cured, the Queen rushed to the candy warehouse to take in all she could handle of the Barley Candy now remembered, and the Cella Chocolate Covered Cherries she’d never believe she forgot if we told her, even if they had only been forgotten for 9 hours! And with the Queen in a Christmas state of mind, Festive Fever swept over all of Blair Candy, where more and more Christmas Candy is arriving every day. And the only antidote for the 9 hour lull that follows Festive Fever? You’ll just have to wait until December 26th to find out!

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