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