Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Congress Finally Cleans Up Toys

Well, it looks as if the US Congress is actually going to do right by the children of America and ban lead and phthalates in toys. Exxon Mobil, your friendly neighborhood phthalate manufacturer, led the opposition, but they seem to have lost in the end. President Bush may veto the bill, which also strengthens the Consumer Products Safety Commission, but you never know. Maybe even he doesn't want to be cast as an advocate for poison toys.

Unfortunately, the bill won't take affect until 2009. Read here for a complete account of the bill.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Here's our Plan for the Holidays

Well, we ran low on Plan Toys last season, including toddler toys, kitchen toys, and dollhouses. We thought we'd improve the situation this year with a little bit of Planning ahead. So, today, a big truck pulled up and now we've got lots of Plan Toys! It took seven of us 3 hours to get it all priced and put away. Yippee!

Metro Independent Business Alliance announces "Business to Business Teach-In"

We've been helping to plan this event with MetroIBA, so if you own or work for a small business, take a look. We think it'll be pretty interesting.

MetroIBA B2B Teach In: "Making Your Business Greener"
Join us Wednesday, September 10 at 6:30 pm for a panel discussion featuring local environmental and business leaders. Learn practical and effective solutions to make your business more environmentally friendly and your bottom line a little greener, too. At the Warners' Stellian Headquarters in St. Paul (Just South of Como & Dale, 1 mile north of I-94.) Cost: $10 for member, $25 for non-members (which can be applied to your membership fee if you join).

Visit metroiba.org for more info about promoting and strengthening locally owned independent businesses.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

A Belated Remodelling Update

From Dan: This post is a couple of months late, since we finished our remodeling back in May. We were in such a hurry to get it done that we forgot to post anything here about it. Basically, we ripped out the threadbare carpet, put in a new floor, and painted the walls in the half of our store that we originally occupied before our expansion 2 1/2 years ago. We meant to do it sooner, but...well, it was a really big job. Millie and I did all the work ourselves.
^ That's me getting ready to paint the walls.

We immediately noticed an improvement in our air quality after we took the carpet out. After seeing how yucky it was after 8 years of use, I don't think we'll ever install carpeting in our home or store ever again. We replaced it with commercial VCT tiles, which aren't necessarily a green product, except in the sense that they will last a long, long time and don't offgas like carpet does. You see them in a lot of high-traffic retail spaces because they're virtually indestructible. Most places don't choose bright blue and green colors, though.

With the remodel, we've also done some rearranging. Our aim was to group stuff togther better so that all the baby stuff was together and all the big kid toys were together, etc.

We also updated our light fixtures in that half of the store, adding more light toward the back. We found these new CFL spot lights, which burn cooler and are more efficient, to replace some of our halogen bulbs. Our lighting is now about 85% CFL and 15% halogen.

Someone asked me in the middle of the project who our architect was, which I thought was funny as I explained that we, um, did it ourselves. Which is maybe an example of what makes an independent business different from a chain store. That guy with the paint in his hair and that woman with floor adhesive on her leg? They're the owners.