Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy New Year!

First of all, I hope all of you had a great Christmas. Hard to believe it's already been a week since the celebration. We all had a great time with friends and family. On Christmas Eve, we spent part of the day at my mother in-law's house and then later in the evening, we headed over to my cousin Karen's house to cap off the evening. Christmas morning, Betty and I prepared for our celebration. This year, we spent Christmas day at home with all our kids. We had a great Christmas dinner, watched old movies, and reminisced about past Christmases. Before you knew it, the day was gone and it was time to go to bed to get up early for all those after-Christmas sales.

I arrived here the day after Christmas promptly at 5:00 AM, and it was like the day after Thanksgiving all over again. The phones were ringing off the hook, orders were coming in online, and we have all of you to thank! So, as I sit here today, on the eve of New Year's Eve, and I reminisce about all that's happened here this year, I think it's been pretty amazing. So much has happened this year: so much good and a few not-so-good, but that's OK. I feel pretty fortunate to be able to do what I truly enjoy every single day. So many of you have been with us since the first days of Hocus Pocus, and some of you have just climbed aboard the Hocus Pocus Express. The bottom line is: you are responsible for the continued success and growth of our business. Your support, suggestions, and viewpoints mean everything to us. We have never lost focus of that, especially in today's society of the rapidly-diminishing notion of customer service. So, for that, I sincerely thank you.

For the first time, I'm going to actually take tomorrow off and not return until next Monday. I say this every year but never do it. I'll sleep in a little bit, catch up on some movies that Betty and I want to see, and spend our New Year's quietly at home. So, all in all, I'm a pretty happy guy; my life is great and I can't wait to see what 2009 brings. On behalf of myself and everyone here at Hocus Pocus, I wish you a safe, healthy and happy New Year.

Until next time,


Friday, December 26, 2008

Hope You Had A Great Christmas

Hope you had a great Christmas. I’ll be back next week.

Until then,


Friday, December 19, 2008

Light The Lights; It's Christmas (Almost)

We're only a few days away from the big day now. Last year, I posted pictures of the lights display of the Gross family household, and it's gotten even bigger and better since. So bright are the lights from our house now you can immediately see them as soon as you turn the corner on our street. Many of our neighbors, like us, have added more and more lights and displays as well since last year. Our street is turning into a miniature Christmas Lane. It's great to watch all the cars slow down at night to look at all the block's lights and decorations. We even had a surprise group of 25 Christmas carolers who showed up the other night to entertain us and to share in the holiday spirit. So below are a couple of photos of our home:

The only thing missing is real snow

Today, we are going to have our annual Christmas party/luncheon with all the employees of Hocus Pocus. Gifts were exchanged early this morning, and everyone is getting ready for a great catered lunch, which should be delivered shortly. My stomach is already grumbling in anticipation.

It has been so busy here that we barely have time to breathe. We cannot thank you enough for your support in making this one of the most successful years in the history of Hocus Pocus. Hopefully by now, you've done all of your Christmas shopping, but if not, and you are still looking for that one special gift for the magician in your life or yourself, I suggest the following:

One of the most beautiful and intriguing (not to mention fun) items we have received this year. Produced by Will Tsai and SM Productionz in collaboration with Hocus Pocus, this is an incredible visual effect suitable for any performer! Both Mike and I are having a great time showing it to everyone who comes into Hocus Pocus. Poor Betty, however, I've forced her to watch me perform this close to 100 times! But in true Betty style, she just smiles and says, "It's a great trick." This is a limited production item and a Hocus Pocus Exclusive. Check it out HERE!

Don't forget, the Sorcerer's Apprentice and the Allakazam Egg from our good friends, Mark and Nani Wilson, are still available and the perfect gift for both the magician and the beginner looking to start their "career" in magic. What better way than to learn from the best in the biz: Mark and Nani! Many of you are buying multiple units of the Sorcerer's Apprentice as they make the perfect stocking stuffers for those looking to get into magic.

And finally, we are excited to announce that the True Astonishment Box Set by Paul Harris is available now for pre-order with free shipping! This is the most anticipated project this year and has been in the works for years and years. There's so much in this Box Set that you'll just have to go and see it for yourself HERE!

So the next time we get together, Christmas will have passed, so on behalf of myself, Betty, Mike Jan, Karen, Ken, and the entire staff at Hocus Pocus, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Until next time,


Friday, December 12, 2008

Oh, There's No Place Like Home For The Holidays

So the other night, Betty, Cole and I are out having dinner. Afterward, we decided to walk down the various shops and stores near the restaurant and do a little holiday window shopping. You'll never guess what I saw: an 8-foot tall animated nutcracker. The look on my face as I saw it moving and lighting up must have been obvious, because Betty knew I had to have it! I looked at her, she looked at me, and she said, "Where would we put it?" I immediately replied, "In our dining room, of course." "Of course," she replied, and so we purchased it on the spot and took it home. Now getting it home was another story. It wouldn't fit in my Jeep, so a quick trip home to get the pickup and back we went.

At this point, Max was waiting for us and wanted to know why we were going back to where we just came from. When Cole and I explained why, he had to join us. So off the three of us went back to the store. After about a 1/2 hour of examining our purchase and a phone call to the owner of the store, we figured out how to disassemble it and get it into the truck, because it was still too big! Arriving home, Betty now doubts that we'll actually fit it in the dining room due to its height. Fear not, I tell her. But Cole and I have doubts ourselves at this point, not letting on, however.

So in we carry the legs, then the body, then the arms, and keeping our fingers crossed, we put on the head. With 1/2 inch to clear, we bolted him together, plugged in the wires, and started him up. What a magnificent display! Now, we just have to figure out where to store him once Christmas is over...

The 8-foot tall Nutcracker in all of his glory

Last weekend was Max's first Christmas Formal. He looked pretty sharp in his tux, and from what we heard, had a great time. A group of 50 of his friends rented a party bus which picked them up and took them to the Formal and restaurant, and then home again. First time I've ever seen a party bus -- it's really a good way to travel in style with a large screen TV, deluxe stereo system, and all the other bells and whistles that go along with it.

Max ready for his first Christmas Formal

There are only 13 days left, believe it or not, until Christmas. We've been busier than ever this holiday season, and we cannot thank you enough! There is still time to do your last-minute holiday shopping, and we'll do everything in our power to make sure it arrives in time for you and your shows. Speaking of last-minute Christmas gifts, many of you took us up on our offer on the new Sorcerer's Apprentice Magic Kit by Mark and Nani Wilson. We even had a grandmother who purchased 10 of them for her grandchildren! Don't forget to check it out HERE!

My son, Cole, comes home today from college to spend the holidays with us. He'll be here next week helping us at Hocus Pocus on the phones and in the warehouse. I'm really looking forward to the holidays this year more than ever, and I am hoping you are feeling the holiday spirit like I am.

Until next time,


Thursday, December 04, 2008

It's Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas

Well, Thanksgiving is officially over, and I hope you all had a great holiday. If Friday, the day after Thanksgiving is any indication of what's to come for the holidays, watch out! I got here at 5:00 AM Friday morning, and the phones were already ringing. We were incredibly busy all day, and it hasn't stopped yet. Many of you took our advice and printed your wish lists for your family and friends, which has made their shopping for you here much easier for them.

Make it an Allakazam Christmas

Here's a perfect holiday gift or stocking stuffer idea! How many of us owe the very fact that we got started in magic to Mark Wilson and Nani Darnell? I'm sure that you can remember as well as I can watching them each week on the Magic Land of Allakazam. Being involved in magic as long as I have, I cannot express the joy and fun magic has both given me and to those for whom I've performed. If you are looking to share that same joy and fun, look no further than the Sorcerer's Apprentice.

This top-secret project by Mark and Nani has been in the works since the beginning of 2008. What was once a dream is now a reality. Now you can relive and share the same memories you had of watching Mark and Nani the first time by giving the gift of magic to your children, friends, family, co-workers, no matter how young or old; the Sorcerer's Apprentice is for everyone!

Magic is a great hobby and Mark and Nani have made learning how to perform magic a breeze! Not just a magic kit; a perfect package of easy-to-do magic for all ages each effect is personally taught by master magician, Mark Wilson, making it easy for anyone of any age age to understand. You'll instantly become a magician in a matter of minutes. Mark has put countless hours and months of work to bring you the Sorcerer's Apprentice. What a great way do get someone you know started in the art of magic!

Imagine the thrill of sitting with your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, or anyone for that matter, on Christmas day and watching master magician, Mark Wilson, perform and then teach in detail each and every trick provided in the Sorcerer's Apprentice. I personally can't imagine a better gift! If I got your attention, do yourself a favor and read more about the Sorcerer's Apprentice and get it for half off the original retail price HERE! You'll be glad you did. Thanks, Mark and Nani, for another great product and allowing Hocus Pocus to be a part of it.

While you're checking out the Sorcerer's Apprentice, make sure you check out all the other new and hot items being added to the web site, almost at an hourly basis. No kidding! Pretty soon, we'll have to put splints on Mike's fingers.

The Three Wise Men?

Hardly. Mike snapped this picture of me, Tim Wisseman, and Matt Sconce in deep discussion over their latest collaboration, The Mage Touch! Tim and Matt have come up with one of the most convincing demonstrations of psychokinetic energy I've ever seen. Stealthy. Silent. Deadly. And oh, so smart! As many of you know, Tim Wisseman is our resident wonder boy genius. There is no project that he has tackled yet that he has not been able to not only accomplish, but exceed any expectations! Matt Sconce's Power Word: Fall! was his first offering to the magic community, and it took the world by storm, garnering rave reviews everywhere! These two guys together will become a force to be reckoned with! I'm extremely proud to say that Hocus Pocus is the exclusive dealer for these products. Check out the Tim Wisseman product category on our web site while you're there.

"Dad, can we go look at this car after dinner?" That was the question my son, Max, asked me last night. Let me start by saying that yesterday was an extremely long day for me, and the thought of going to a car lot was not particularly appealing in any way, shape, or form. However, my son is a good kid, and I thought, "What harm could there be?" After 3 different car lots, and on our way home, we saw the truck he was looking for. Before we even got out of the car to look at the truck, I made it abundantly clear to Max that no matter what, we were not buying a car tonight; we were just looking. Long story short, at 9:00 PM last night, my son is now the proud owner of a 2007 Chevy Silverado pickup. Oh, when will I learn?

So there you have it: my week in a nutshell.

Until next time,