Jun 9, 2010
The Store Room – Oddest Items in Storage

Our monthly column is devoted to what works and what doesn’t – for our readers, from our readers.

Question: “What are some of the ‘oddest’ items you keep in storage and why?”

Karin Miller
Spring Green General Store
Spring Green Wis.
We have music equipment because my husband plays in a band, a horse trough to collect water when the dishwasher leaks and a fish net to catch a bat (which we never found). I think that might be telling enough!

Zozzie Golden
Zozzie & Heidi Innovative Party Planners
Owings Mills, Md.
When clients ask to use our restroom, we have to warn them about the lady in the bathroom. Yes, we have a lady in the bathroom – a mannequin that is draped in a feather boa and wearing very sexy lingerie. We once used her in a centerpiece and she has since been waiting for her next debut. In the meantime, it always brings a chuckle to our clients.

Adriane Brandenburg
Fun Party & Wedding Services
Shawnee, Kan.
I am embarrassed to say, but I have Mylar balloons from the 1990s that say “Congratulations 199_ Graduate.” I also have Mylars that are not self-sealing. I keep thinking I will use them for reunions or my sign, but I haven’t yet.

Pam Krantz
Fun Creations Special Event Decorators
In the stock room, we keep the “Bride dragging the Groom” cake top. Personally, we don’t care for the message, but we were getting requests for it. We said we could order it, but it seemed the event was always the next day.

Other than that, since we have been in business for so long, nothing really seems “odd” to us. Fuzzy handcuffs, fuzzy dice, hats with fuzzy hair…yep, we have it all.

Wilma Serafini
Jokers Wild Inc.
North Reading, Mass.
I have a box full of, or rather HAD a box full of, assorted color graduation cap and gowns that I purchased a number of years ago. My employees questioned my sanity, not only for purchasing them in the first place, but for not dumping them the following year when we didn’t sell a single one. Of course, they were still sitting in a box in the store room never seeing the light of day on the sales floor, but I didn’t care. Eventually someone hung a couple on the floor and needless to say, they were not readily accepted by our clientele as an item they had a need for.
But there have been many instances when that box of nothingness has pulled through in a pinch. The assortment of colors ranged from yellow and green to purples and blue. With costume manufacturers cutting back on the lesser-sold colors of certain items, the gowns have proven to be a very handy essential.
As a matter of fact, I recently sold a yellow one to be used as a body for Charlie Brown’s Woodstock in a school play. Tie up the bottom, add a tutu and a few feathers on the overly-large sleeves and you’ve got a very presentable Woodstock-all for a modest price.

Margo Jolly
Signature Celebrations
The oddest things we keep in storage are diapers! When we have a bouquet that is for a baby shower, we wrap the balloon’s sand weight in tissue paper and a diaper to give it a better baby feel.

Tony Loiacono
Copenhagen Balloons
San Carlos, Calif.
We keep everything from vinyl bongos to pink Astroturf here, but the oddest/funniest thing has to be this huge mermaid prop whose (clamshell) bra keeps slipping off!

Daniel Hazen
Los Angeles
I frequently ask myself, “Why do I keep these 200 or so Nehru shirts?” I know I didn’t pay much for them, but it’s just that I know that one of these days that style shirt is going to come back in and I will be ready for that onslaught! I know the tides will turn and there will be some sort of fad where we all want to look very transcendentally cool in one of those collarless shirts.
But I keep fighting myself on how much room those boxes take up and how it could go to something more useful. Maybe someone will throw some cold water in my face to wake me up to the reality of this redundant situation. I guess I’m truly a merchant and can’t let the possibility of making some profit slip away. Oh well, life goes on!

Henry Miller
Captain Henry’s Pirate Store
Portland, Ore.
Our store is heavily pirate themed and includes a party facility, so we stock unusual items for a retail location. In addition to our store, we also produce large-scale exhibits, tradeshow booths and theme party decorations, and because of this our 6,500-square-foot storeroom looks like something backstage at a theater or theme park. There are skeletons, trees, treasure chests, ship’s masts, large scale rockwork, barrels, nets, a cannon, a pirate ship parade float, costumes, painted murals, animated human and animal forms and much more.

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