Posts Tagged ‘Penguin Gift Shop’

This Penguin Speaks!

June 12, 2014

noodlesandalbiefrontcoverIt was indeed a festive atmosphere at Penguin HQ in downtown Northampton last night, as a half dozen friends and wanna-be aquatic thespians gathered for the first historic recording session of the Noodles & Albie e-book audio files.   Although we’re not sure which version of Noodles and Albie is going to be released first (print or e-book), as they’re presently waddling neck and neck.

The hardcover picture book is on its way to the printer and is now scheduled for an early July release, while the e-book is laid out complete and only missing the fun, interactive audio tracks.

That said,  last night we began laying down the much anticipated audio files which will enable e-book readers to click on multiple penguin footprints in the page margins that will enable Noodles and Albie fans to hear their favorite characters.

Annicca reading Noodles

Annicca reading Noodles

There will also be all sorts of fun sound effects like water splashing when Noodles falls in the ocean.  Last night Dave (the narrator), Annecca (Noodles), Kate (Albie), Maze (Noodles Mom and Confused Starfish).

Narrator Dave

Narrator Dave

Sophie (as Sophie) and yours truly (Noodles’ Dad, Old Eel and Crabby Crab) were recorded at our Penguin Igloo HQ “studio” by head penguin recording engineer Chris Ryan.

A fun time was had by all as we attempted to bring Noodles, Albie and their colorful Antarctic world to life.  There will be at least one more recording session, and then comes the editing and mixing to finish the audio files.  After that, interactive penguin e-book here we come!  Everyone involved is really looking forward to the finished project in the next couple of weeks.  Stay tuned for official release date.

Kate is all about Albie

Kate is all about Albie

It’s Penguin Graduation Time

May 16, 2014

It use to be hard to find penguin themed graduation gifts, but now that Penguin Gift Shop has a say in the matter, not anymore.  Now if you’re a penguin loving graduate, be it from, pre-school, elementary, middle, junior, high school or even college we’ve got a cool penguin graduate plush for you!

Our penguin plush graduate comes in 3 sizes!

Our penguin plush graduate comes in 3 sizes!

Not to mention a card and a funny t-shirt from our favorite make believe place of higher education, The University of Antarctica.

Penguin Grad Card

Penguin Grad Card

Slowly, One by One The Penguins Steal My Sanity

May 31, 2013

It’s not enough that we have a street sign that reads Slowly, One By One The Penguins Steal My Sanity, but today we received a shipment of t-shirts as well.  If you look closely you’ll see that the l’s in the copy are silhouettes of penguins.  Pretty clever, eh?


From Penguin Place to Penguin Gift Shop

March 15, 2013

The name change has been on the back burners for a while since we purchased the url name penguingiftshop from the retiring former owners in late 2012.  For years and Penguin Gift Shop had been friendly rivals in the world of all-penguin e-tailing, and in October when we received a surprise message from Penguin Gift Shop that they were thinking of retiring and offering us their domain name and inventory we jumped on it like a hungry Rockhopper.

When we were first starting on the web back in pioneering on-line days of 1997 we knew we needed a better, more penguin specific url than the name of our retail store, which was Next Stop…South Pole.  So, we pondered long and hard, searching for the cutest name we could think of, which turned out to be Penguin Place.  The inconvenient – (dash) in the middle was our 1997 webmaster’s idea.  Man, was he wrong about that dash.   For 16 years I had to repeatedly answer the question, “how come you got a dash in your url?”  Also, as the years went by we realized that the name “place” in Penguin Place was pretty much useless to search engines, and so we were schooled big time by websites that came along a decade or so later than our initial launch who by then knew how search engine optimization and specific key words work.   Although Penguin Gift Shop didn’t have as nice a website as ours, and only about half as many penguins in their inventory as compared to our, they did have a great, web friendly url for what they were offering (which was a penguin gift shop), and usually ranked higher than us in search engine results.  So, when the name was offered to us this past October we jumped at it.  Through this past holiday season and into Valentine’s Day we remained, but as we waddled into spring and approached our 28th anniversary day we decided it was time and have now officially changed our domain name to PenguinGiftShop on have the official changeover on March 15th, our 28th anniversary. But,  if you look at the masthead on our home page we’re the Penguin Gift Shop at Penguin Place, so Penguin Place will always be with us.  We may have changed our url hoping to bump up search engine traffic a bit, but looking at the website everything is exactly the same, and we’re even keeping the name of this blog the Penguin Place Post as well as our Facebook and Twitter pages.  My kids are upset about the name change and I’m a little emotional about it, but like they say, it was a penguin offer that we couldn’t refuse.


A 28 Year Old Penguin (Store)!

March 15, 2013

Penguins don’t usually live to age 28 in the wild, but an all-penguin store is another thing!  Yes, 28 years ago today on March 15th 1985, a generation and a head full of hair away, Next Stop…South Pole opened its pushcart doors on the 2nd floor of the old Fulton Market Building at South St. Seaport in New York.  If you need to know, the first penguin item we sold was a pack of penguin band aids to a woman who had very painful shoes.  Within a few months, we moved to a kiosk, and a year later to a permanent store on the newly opened Pier 17 at the Seaport, and from there our long waddle to 2013 continued.  Different locations, mail order catalogs, The Penguin Post Newsletter, moving to something called the internet and a name change to Penguin Place, moving from Brooklyn to Northampton, Mass and now another name change to the more search engine friendly Penguin Gift Shop.

28 years, not bad for a crazy idea of selling nothing but penguins.

Next Stop South Pole and Eric in 1985

Next Stop South Pole and Eric in 1985

About Halfway Done With The Penguin Merger

October 18, 2012

It’s been about a week since the penguins began waddling in from the west coast and Penguin Gift Shop.  Considering that we’re on a 3rd floor walk up here at Penguin Place soon to be Penguin Gift Shop and we need to unpack, inventory and shelf the new penguin goodies in a coherent manner we requested that PGS send us only 8 – 10 boxes a day.  They had no problem with our request as they have to wrap and  pack everything up anyway.  Tonight we finally caught up on opening, unpacking, cataloging and shelving our new penguin inventory (albeit it’s a bit of a mess in the auxiliary penguin store-room.  So, right now I’d say we’re about half way done, with the other half en-route. I’ll sure be glad when this is over.

New Holiday Figurines

Perky is one of our many new plush penguins

New Kids Romper

Penguin Place = Penguin Gift Shop

October 13, 2012

Penguin kiosk, South St. Seaport, October 1985

Way back in 1985 a young man (me) with a passion for penguins, opened a small pushcart filled with the aforementioned penguins at the fledgling South St. Seaport in NYC and he (me again) called it Next Stop South Pole.  A year or so later that cart became a store, then along came the All-Penguin Mail Order Catalog, by 1995 a newsletter called The Penguin Post, two years later a static website, and a year after that a shop at home on-line e-tail store called  By 2000 we opted to concentrate on Penguin Place, as we closed our Seaport Store and never looked back.

Back in ’97 when we first started the on-line version of our penguin vision we knew enough that we couldn’t call it Next Stop…South Pole, and that our website needed to have “Penguin” in the name and url, but back 1997 we simply didn’t realize how important the other key words in the url would become.  I remember while working on the website pondering long and hard over the right name and being so clueless as to what the correct parameters were other than it should have penguin in the name. We (myself and my web developer) were so naive back then that I simply opted for the “cool” sounding Penguin Place over something less cute and more straightforward, and to top it off my web developer somehow assumed that putting a dash between the words Penguin and Place was the right thing to do.  Don’t ask me why he thought a dash was the way to go, but since he had a better computer than me and nerdy glasses I assumed he had to be on to something and the dash was what was required.

1990’s Penguin Mail Order Catalog

Anyway, a few years  went by and things at are waddling along nicely,  when one day in 2004 my right hand man at Penguin HQ Jake (who’s getting married today) tells me that he just received an e-mail from a customer with some disturbing news regarding our exclusive hold on niche penguin e-tailing.  It was a link to a new store that went by the moniker  Suddenly, we were no longer alone in the world of  on-line penguin shopping.  There was now an east coast Penguin Place and a west coast based Penguin Gift Shop. One would think that in the world of e-tailing that the actual geography of our respective “Igloos” wouldn’t matter, but in reality it did because of what each penguin store brought to the table in the way of product.  You see, due to the fact that we (Penguin Place) found virtually all our inventory at the East Coast trade shows and the Oregon based PGS shopped at all the west coast shows our inventories were quite varied considering we both were exclusively penguins.

All things considered, the two all-penguin websites co-existed quite nicely, but there was no denying the fact that the name Penguingiftshop was far superior with a much more organic url as opposed to Penguin-Place.   Now, fast forward to about a month ago when out of the clear Antarctic blue sky I received an e-mail from Mark, the proprietor of Penguin Gift Shop stating that he and his wife were on the verge of retiring and wanting to know if I was interested in purchasing Penguingiftshop!   What he was offering was the entire inventory of penguin merchandise along the website, url and all.  The whole penguin enchilada!   It didn’t take me long to figure out that this would be a win-win for everyone and within a few days we had an agreement.  Earlier this week the penguins from PGS began waddling in (via FedEx) from the west coast and by the end of next week the migration will be complete.  As far as the name of our joined website goes we thought and consulted long and hard with everyone from my webmaster, SEO consultants, friends, family, my kids and even some penguins at the Coney Island Aquarium, and the consensus is that PenguinGiftShop is simply the perfect name for what our business was, is and will be, and had we known the importance of this 15 years ago we already would have been that brand or something close to that.

The fact remains that as familiar as we are to the name Penguin Place, it is far too clunky and awkward in this age of niche url’s to continue on as is, and given this opportunity to change it to something more Google-friendly we can’t be swayed by sentiment or nostalgia.  So, the compromise we’ve made following the advice of my kids is to call the new version of our on-line igloo, the Penguin Gift Shop at Penguin Place, with our url officially becoming  The website will basically be (and look) exactly the same, just with the new url and header, along with a boat load of new penguin goodies.  In other words, as told to me by my web developer, the present Penguin Gift Shop will disappear with its remaining penguin products incorporated into Penguin Place, but then Penguin Place will have its official url changed to  I’m told it will be seamless, and I have my flippers crossed that it will.  In case you haven’t noticed we’ve been adding about 50 new items a day for the past week, albeit most of them are still in “sold out” status until we unpack them.  But, by the end of next week we’ll have about 300 new (west coast) penguin items in our inventory, bringing our total to an unbelievable 1000 different penguin items (give or take a waddler).  To think we started 25 years ago with 40 penguin goodies.  What does this mean for you, the penguin loving public?  Nothing, unless you like having more penguins to choose from, convenient one stop shopping, cheaper / easier shipping and the same great customer service.  We’re still very much the same mom and pop (and two kids) penguin shop we always were. I guess that makes it a win – win – win!

The new look for when Penguin Place becomes the Penguin Gift Shop at Penguin Place.