Thursday, December 30, 2004
Well, Happy New Year to you all!
Thank you all so much for your tremendous support this year. 2004 was the biggest and most successful year for Hocus Pocus, and all of you are responsible for it!
As we move into 2005, look for even more new ideas, projects, and events, to unfold. We have many, MANY irons in the fire, and we guarantee that you'll benefit from keeping yourself up-to-date alongside us!
I don't know how you'll be celebrating the New Year, but at the Gross household, it will be pretty quiet. We'll watch some movies, munch some popcorn, and my youngest son, Max, will be banging his pots and pans throughout the neighborhood once 2005 hits! I know I said it before, but I'll say it again: I'm a very lucky man! You all know why...
Things that happened this year that we're thankful for:
1. Mike has finally found the perfect medication to keep him sedated! Ha Ha!
2. Jason and his wife Angela have a brand new baby girl.
3. Jan's (from shipping) daughter is getting married next year!
4. Nick we're still trying to figure out...
5. Jason from shipping got a new Costco Card (yeah, that's just what he needs)!
6. Brian from maintenance has a new sweetheart!
7. Jay from advertising and graphics finally had enough time this year to get the magazine ads out!
8. Louis, jack of all trades, has a daughter who will finish Brown College with high honors!
9. All other Hocus Pocus employees are under a gag order.
All kidding aside, on behalf of myself and everyone here at Hocus Pocus, make sure you have a happy and SAFE New Year! See you in 2005!
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
Exciting news here at Hocus Pocus!
Our very own Jason London and his wife Angela pulled off their best magic trick to date: they are proud parents of a brand new, 6 lb. 5 oz. baby girl! Angela gave birth to Madeline last night after only 5 minutes of labor! Wow! We can't wait to meet her. Mom, Dad, and Baby are all doing well, and what a great way for them to ring in the new year!
Things haven't slowed down here at all. We're still as busy as ever with packages going out the door and the Fed-Ex and US Postal people staring with gaping mouths at the abundance of our outgoing shipments! It's as if Christmas is still around the corner!
We hope you all had an enjoyable holiday as we are all excited to celebrate 2005 in a few short days! Start practicing writing it now, because you'll soon find yourself still writing 2004 in the date portion of your paperwork...
Until next time, keep those emails coming with your ideas and comments. They are most welcome, I sincerely appreciate them.
Thursday, December 23, 2004
Remember when we were all kids, our families had certain holiday traditions? When I was young, I remember waiting anxiously for my father to come home from work on Christmas Eve while my sister and I would gather all the presents and put them in stacks: a stack for my mom, dad, hers, and mine. When my dad would finally arrive, we could barely sit still. The moment finally arrived, and in minutes the floor was saturated with wrapping paper and bows! Next, we would get dressed in our best clothes and go to my grandparents' house. This was the biggest thrill for me during the holidays; every relative, friend, and neighbor came to my grandparents' house on Christmas Eve, some as late as 1:00 AM. Their house looked like the final scene in "It's a Wonderful Life," where everyone and their brother was in George Bailey's house and no one could move! There was lots of laughter, great stories, and cheer. Always.
Today, we must pass tradition onto our children the same way we learned from our families. I'm very happy that both my daughters, Renee and Aimee, are here from Santa Barbara, my oldest son, Cole, just got home from a skiing trip in Wyoming, and my youngest son, Max, we can't pry him away from at least ten feet from the Christmas tree. We'll all be together for Christmas to celebrate in our way, hopefully creating similar memories for them as I had when I was their age. So please, spend that extra time with your family during the holidays and enjoy that tradition that makes your family truly unique.
I want to thank all of you, our Hocus Pocus family, for your continued support and loyalty. Without you, there would be no Hocus Pocus, and we all know this. We've received over 150 Christmas cards and photos, and we appreciate each and every one of them. We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday!
Ever since I started this blog, we have gotten literally hundreds of emails expressing delight and thanks for doing so. There were three particular emails that stuck out and I wanted to share them with you; they made my entire week!
After reading numerous positive comments about your on-line service on several magic forums I decided to give your business a try. Yesterday I ordered "Just in Case" and the"Spider Pen." That was Tuesday, December 21st. I just got my order this morning, Wednesday December 22nd, and that was with your regular shipping service. I will admit, I am in California, but still, to get it the next day during the busiest shipping season of the year.....well, that's just fantastic. Also, I thought I had a problem with the Spider Pen (my mistake by the way) and when I called, the gentleman who assisted me was just so helpful and offered to let me return it if I wasn't happy with it. He didn't rush me, or brush me off. He was seriously concerned and extremely helpful and resolved my "problem" completely to my satisfaction. I did realize after talking to him that it really wasn't a problem, but just a silly misobservation on my part. I just want you to know, that if this is the level of service that I can expect during the busiest season of the year, then you can count on me being a customer for a long time. Many thanks to you and your fine staff and happy holidays...
Nice to put a face to a name that I now associate with friendship. Even though we have yet to meet, our conversations on the telephone are always a joy. On behalf of all professional magicians here in England, I would like to wish all of you at Hocus Pocus my best wishes for Christmas and the coming year. Hocus Pocus is the finest magic dealer I have EVER dealt with & I will continue to buy all of my magic from you in the future.
Merry Christmas one and all.
Dear Paul, Jason, Mike, Jan, and everyone else at Hocus- Pocus,
Have a great Chrsitmas and all the best for 2005! Thanks again for your great service during the year - one that has seen me go from hobbiest to semi-pro. A big step for me and one that has been made easier through you all.
Once again - have a great Christmas!
Wow. Thank you all very, very much. These are the best presents anyone could ever receive.
Monday, December 20, 2004
Can you believe it? Christmas Eve is upon us. My son, Max, keeps circling our Christmas tree like a hawk trying to guess what's inside his presents. I remember doing the very same thing as a kid, wondering if my parents got me the newest magic item on my Christmas list.
As I'm writing this, my daughter Renee just drove in from Santa Barbara, and it was a terrific surprise! She hasn't yet seen the newest addition to our family, Mugsy, so she's in for a big surprise!
I'm very happy to report that my wife, Betty, and I both got our holiday shopping done this past weekend. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, but now comes the endless task of wrapping all the gifts... Ah well, no rest for the weary.
We are planning a Christmas Eve luncheon here for all our employees on Wednesday. None of them know about it yet, but they're in for a nice surprise. I really appreciate everyones' efforts here at the shop, and I want to take some time out to say thank you to them.
Got a very nice note from Mr. Brian Tanner the other day and wanted to share it with you:
Just wanted to drop a line to say that I recently recieved my order from you. Everything arrived in tip-top shape. Also the order arrived very promptly. Not to mention, I got a real deal, due to the recent 20% off sale. You folks are a great source for us magicians. I will be doing my business with Hocus-Pocus for many years to come! Thanks again
P.S. I have told all of my friends in magic about you. Keep up the excellent work!
Thank you, Brian. We try our hardest, and there's not one person here at the shop that isn't working hard to make sure you get the best service possible!
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
As you've probably noticed, I am happy to announce that we have moved the Hocus Pocus blog to Google's Bloglines! We did this to accomodate those who use Macs and PCs alike and who may already subscribe to blogs. You'll can now be notified whenever this blog is updated. All you need is the free and tiny program aptly called Bloglines Notifier, which can be downloaded here. Don't worry; it's adware-free and won't take up any memory and space on your computer. Once you install it, simply subscribe to this blog, and you will be notified every time we update it. Cool, isn't it? Ah, the times...
Meet Mugsy. He's my brand new 3 year-old pug that was adopted by the Gross family. Isn't he cute?
He's a great addition to our family, and our other dog, Buddy, seems to really enjoy his newfound friend. We've been looking for a pug to adopt for the last few years, and we'd all but given up until Mugsy came into our lives last Saturday. Looks like there will be another stocking hanging on the ol' Christmas hearth at the Gross Family household.
Here we are, less than two weeks away from Christmas, and what a whirlwind this month has been! We've been here seven days a week and as early as 5:00 AM to get your orders packed and shipped out right on time. I want to say special thanks to all of you who have sent Christmas cards and well wishes via email. My office wall is covered with them and both my staff and I love to read them as they come in.
Remember, it's easy to get crazy during this harried and hurried time of year. Please be sure to take time out for yourself and with your family and remember that they are most important!
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
Boy, are we runnin'! Runnin' to keep up! I know I've said this before, but I wanted to say it again: thank you for all your orders this holiday season. If it keeps going the way it has, this will be a benchmark in our holiday history here at Hocus Pocus. I did have some time this weekend to spend with my family, and we did it all: we hung the lights, we trimmed the tree, and the entire house looks like a giant invitation for Santa Claus! My son Max has now resubmitted his Christmas list for the umpteenth time. What am I going to say to him when he asks for a 72" plasma big screen TV besides "Yeah, right"??? Is this on the Christmas list of all 12 year-olds? Your suggestions and comments on this are appreciated. My oldest son, Cole, attended his first Winter Formal and boy, did he look dashing and debonair in his tuxedo. My younger daughter, Aimee, continues to travel with a fashion design company for whom she's working and is anxious to come home for the holidays. My oldest daughter, Renee, is working hard on finals as she prepares to graduate this year from U.C. Santa Barbara! It will be wonderful to have all the kids home for the holidays this year.
It was good to hear from Paul Kozak today. As you may know, Paul is one of the entertainers and the emcee for the World's Greatest Magic Show in Las Vegas. Paul informed me that the show has consistently run for 8 months straight at the Greek Isles, and not one of the performers has had one day off! He also said that the schedule will change shortly and there will now be two shows back-to-back every day! If you're in Las Vegas and want to see one of the best magic shows ever, you need to see the WGMS!
In other news, our very own Mike Giusti has just put the finishing touches on his Radio Show, "Mike on the Mike Show" for the Magic Broadcast, the Internet's first 24-hour/7 day per week radio show about magic. The first show deals with performance bloopers and unexpected moments, and it is very entertaining to listen to.
Please do your best and try to support the Magic Broadcast; it has tons of potential, and we would like to see it grow!
In other Hocus Pocus news, we are receiving new products daily, and Mike is working his fingers to the bone to get them on the site as soon as inhumanly possible. He begins to cringe at the sight of me walking towards his desk each day. Ha!
So stay tuned for more soon. Make sure that you take it easy during the holiday rush.
Thursday, December 02, 2004
And this is just one small part of the shipping department!To top things off, we were visited today by none other than Criss Angel and David Baram. Criss is the driving force behind popularizing his very unique kind of magic to the masses. You've seen him on many television specials, including Mindfreak and Supernatural! David Baram is the president of The Firm, Criss' management company that represents many of today's top celebrities. He's also a magician in his own right. Criss, Dave and I spent most of the morning discussing a huge upcoming project is working on, and Hocus Pocus is honored to be a very special part of it! I can't reveal any further details about it at this time, but I will tell you that it is going to be a HUGE boon to magic! Stay tuned as I'll reveal more details about it when I am able.
From left to right: David Baram, Dexter, Criss Angel, and yours truly.Paul
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
A Svelte Robert Baxt.Friday morning, and the big season has finally begun; the phones are still ringing off the hook and the orders are coming in faster than we can keep up, but trust us, we will. Just to give you an idea of how busy it's been, we've shipped over 500 packages since Friday! We've had to order a couple of new computers and hire additional part-time help just to keep up with all the activity around here. What started out as a "small business" many years ago has turned into something much more. It has surpassed my wildest expectations! For that, we must thank all of you. I'd also like to thank all of you for all your well-wishes, emails, and letters. They really made our week here amidst all the magic and mayhem.
If all this activity in November is any indication, the upcoming month of December promises to be an exciting one. If you are planning on making your purchases before the holidays, do so now before the last-minute crunch and deadlines. Remember, you are the reason we are here, you are the most important factor in our business, and we continually recognize this by providing you with special promotions, sales, emails, incomparable products, and what we believe is the best possible customer service anywhere!
Before I go, I wanted to leave you with a heartfelt message we received from our good friends over on the other side of the pond, Colin & Sharron Rose:
Colin & I just wanted to say we have been reading the 'Message from Paul Gross' pages and they are almost as addictive as the Product Pages! But your recent message really 'hit the button' and we both wanted to empathize with your thoughts and feelings about what you do.......we have always felt truly blessed to be able to make our living from Magic and like you....... to be able to create our Magic together as a team, we are living our dreams on a daily basis, and again, like you we have the MagicBrotherhood to thank for making it all possible.......we would like to express our sincere thanks and appreciation not only to The Hocus Pocus Team....but to all of your customers who have bought our Magic over the last couple of years, the support and encouragement we receive is our reward forwhat we do...we are both very happy to have been invited to be a part of the Hocus Pocus Success Story............
Happy Holidays to all our American Friends!
In Magic & Friendship
Colin & Sharron Rose
Thanks, you two.
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
I'm thankful to be able to do for a living what I enjoy the most. Hocus Pocus has grown exponentially (in leaps and bounds) every single year, and none of this could have been possible without you. So I thank you, our loyal Hocus Pocus family! As this year comes to a close, on behalf of my staff and I, we promise you that the best is yet to come! There are so many new projects and plans in the works, we are all very excited to be able to bring them to you!
So, as you sit down with your loved ones for your Thanksgiving meal, remember what and who you are thankful for. Take time with your family to enjoy them and enjoy what you have. Don't get too caught up in the Holiday Hubbub; stay safe and enjoy this time of year!
Below are some of the comments we've received about this blog. It looks like it is becoming a very popular edition to the site. Here are a few:
Great Offering! I love having a chance to see you, the store, and hear a bit about your life. Seeing Carl Ballantine is a treat too. Your life and efforts I'm sure, have effected many others in wonderful ways you may never even know...both in your performing, and now in helping to provide performers with the best possible tools of the trade. I commend you, and wish you many more years of fun and growth in this most magical world.
Thanks so much for an informative blog to read about Hocus Pocus. Magic is something that we all love. It gives us a kinship, no matter how far apart we are. As you know, I was in a bad auto accident four years ago. Magic has been a big part of my rehab. I'm grateful to Hocus Pocus and other magic friends for helping me be a part of life again. I will be speaking at the Magi-Fest in February 2005 about "Hope Through Magic for People With Disabilities". Thank you for your wonderful service for all those who love magic, beginners and advanced.
Dr. William Jarvis
I've been meaning to tell you that "A Note From Paul Gross" is a nice touch to your web site. I've been fortunate enough to visit your shop the November 2 note gave those who may never have the opportunity to visit you shop a virtual tour. I have enjoyed reading them all. Well done, keep them coming.
Your Friend & Patron,
I just “found” your message page. (I usually leap right into the product listing.) Great idea! I enjoyed being able to put faces with names and a visual of your operations with the name Hocus Pocus. While this wasn’t a true interactive experience, I felt as though there was a “connection” made which made Hocus Pocus more “human” and real.
Monday, November 15, 2004
Starting left center clockwise: R. Paul Wilson, Pete Biro, my son Max, my son Cole, my daughter Renee, me, Robert Baxt, Carl Ballantine, Gerald Kirchner (obscured), Chuck Kirchner, my wife Betty, Lou Hirschorn, and Joe Porper.
Mike steals Carl's cigar!
Carl receives a gift from Max!R. Paul Wilson, Pete Biro, and Joe Porper showed us several of their new releases, which you'll see appear on our web site first. In fact, the rumors are already flying around the Internet about how cool these new products really are. I agree!
We stopped by and visited Hollywood Magic, but not before saying hello to Houdini!My daughter, Renee, having just turned 21, couldn't wait for her first time at the Castle. She sang with Irma, and even got involved in the acts that evening!
My daughter Renee and me
That evening at the Castle, we enjoyed an excellent dinner and headed over to the Palace of Mystery where we saw the performances of Joseph Tran, David Deeble, and Jason Baney. All great acts, the highlight was watching the young Joseph Tran and his unique approach to the Shadow Box Illusion involving Barbie and Ken dolls. If you've seen Joseph's act, you know just how clever and cute this routine is. It never fails to get the crowd's reaction! Next up, we saw Doug Brewer in the Parlor of Prestidigitation. He borrowed my $100.00 bill without even knowing it was me and reproduced it one of the final loads in his Cups & Balls routine. Very clever.
The next day was pure pandemonium. I have never been to a Castle Swap Meet that had so many vendors and buyers. I was able to pick up many antique and hard-to-find items, which you'll see popping up on the web site (if you haven't already). One of the things I am most excited about was finding and original Richard Himber Upside-Down Pail! I couldn't believe it! This thing is terrific, and if you've ever seen Richard Himber perform it (look on volume 2 of the Magic Ranch video series), you know what a head-scratcher it is!
No matter where you looked, there was magic, magic, magic everywhere!
After a great 2 days of wheeling and dealing and seeing old friends, it was time to leave. I was happy to see that my other daughter, Aimee, was able to visit and spend some time with us from Santa Barbara (she's standing to my right). Can't wait until the next one in April!
I appreciate all your comments and suggestions. Please keep 'em coming and thanks for taking time to read this page.
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Hello HP –
I really like Paul’s message page. Thanks for posting it. It’s nice to put a face with the names from HP and to see the ‘behind the scenes’ of a place most of us can only dream of visiting, much less working at.
I wanted to take the opportunity to share someone with you. Anyone who knows Jerry Foster knows what a gentleman and consummate professional this man is! Never having a bad thing to say about anyone, Jerry is always upbeat, positive, and he never fails to share his experiences with anyone who asks. When Jerry sent these recent promo photos, we thought it would be kind of cool to post them here so everyone could see them. As you can see, Jerry has a very unique kind of act.
If you have any suggestions and/or requests of what you would like to see here, let us know. Simply email your suggestions to email@example.com
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
We're gearing up to go down to Hollywood, California this Friday through Sunday to visit the Magic Castle and have lunch with some good friends, including Joe Porper, Robert Baxt, Mike Giusti, R. Paul Wilson, Chuck & Gerald Kirchner of Magic City, Louis St. Pierre of Hollywood Magic fame, and the legendary Carl Ballantine! One of the greatest experiences of my life was getting the opportunity to meet and know Carl. If you've ever seen Carl perform his classic comedy magic act, you know what we mean when we say he's tremendously funny. Trust me, this guy was just born funny! He's also a very keen cigar aficionado. We're currently working on a project with Carl that we're very excited about, and I hope to announce it very soon!
Carl Ballantine in one of his more "cerebral" moments.While there, we'll also be attending the semi-annual Magic Castle Swap Meet, as we're always keeping our eyes out for great bargains and antique collectibles for you, our loyal Hocus Pocus customers! We also enjoy seeing our old friends and some of our customers there as well. We'll definitely be snapping photos and keeping you up to date right here, so stay tuned.
We've finally finished construction on the second tier to the warehouse to accommodate all the shipping materials and new products coming in each day to insure that you receive your orders in the fastest, most professional manner possible. It really helped us out as we are constantly running out of space, even in our 6,000 square-foot building!
The holidays will be here before you know it. Listen for those Christmas tunes to hit the radio waves soon but not before you've sampled some Thanksgiving turkey!
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
We had a special treat today! Dan Harlan stopped by with two of his new products: The Jug and My Word Dan is well known for his other great products like the Band Shark DVDs, CardToon, and Premium Blend DVDs!
I want to thank everyone who emailed and called us with their compliments and thoughts about this particular blog spot. We've had tons of compliments and inquiries as to what the store looks like, both outside and inside, so here are a few teasers:
And that's just one corner of the warehouse! Recently, we've added new space (including a second tier) to accommodate the immense amount of products and packages arriving for the holiday season! Although it can be a little overwhelming at times, we love it and also love this time of year!
It's easy to get lost in the warehouse! In fact, it can drive you a bit insane. Right, Mike?
Actually, he's like this all the time!Keep checking out this page as we'll be updating it often. If you have any suggestions or even special request, we'd be happy to hear them!
Don't forget: Go out and vote!
Thursday, October 28, 2004
This is a new feature of our web site that functions as a Blog, and that means it will be updated to reflect changing events, information, and of course, opinions. Blah, blah, blog!
I thought I'd start off by officially introducing you to Hocus Pocus. Over the 30 years I've been in the magic business, I've received literally thousands of requests to post pictures of the shop, staff, and merchandise we carry. Well, we've got the merchandise covered, that's for sure, so allow me to update you further about the business. What does Hocus Pocus look like? What does its staff look like? Is Hocus Pocus a real brick & mortar shop or what they are now calling a "click & mortar shop?"
Hocus Pocus originally opened on November 8, 1974. I remember the day as if it were yesterday. In fact, I was performing all over the country before I decided to open a magic shop. Don't believe me? Just look at this picture taken almost 30 years ago: what I wouldn't give to be that thin and have that much hair again!
My early influences were Mark Wilson, Harry Blackstone Jr., Jack Gwynne, Channing Pollock, and a few others. I started out like most everyone does: performing children's shows and birthday parties before graduating to become the official magician of such companies like Bank of America, Pepsi Cola, Holiday Inn, and Comfort Suites. I then turned my attention on the business side of my profession. And that was the day Hocus Pocus was born.
The Official Hocus Pocus Magic Shop!
I have been extremely fortunate in that this business has given to me so much, including the opportunity to meet my mentors and make many new friends both here and abroad. I believe that has transcended over into Hocus Pocus, where I surround myself with those who are the best in the business, including Mike Giusti, who is in his own right a talented comic magician in addition to maintaining the Hocus Pocus web site with his creative graphics and Internet knowledge. He's also the guy you see in all our ads and on the web site with that rubber face of his.
Then there's Jason London, a classy entertainer with loads of product knowledge inside that Rolodex in his head. His first love is close-up magic, and if there's something he likes or dislikes, he's sure to let me know.
The shipping department is one of the most dedicated in the business. They bust their hump each and every day to make sure that all orders go out in a timely fashion. You'd be hard pressed to find a harder working team of individuals.
The most important thing I want you to know is that Hocus Pocus is committed to providing you with the best choices of products along with the best customer support possible. We all work hard each and every day to make sure that you are happy, and we hope you keep visiting and considering Hocus Pocus for all your magic needs. Above all else, your satisfaction is guaranteed here at Hocus Pocus.
If you find this page helpful, email us and let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org I appreciate you taking the time to read it.
More to come,