Spencer Gifts

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Spencer Gifts, LLC.
Type Private
Founded 1947
Headquarters Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, United States
Number of locations 600+
Key people Steven Silverstein, CEO
Products Retail
Owner(s) ACON Investments
Website www.spencersonline.com

Spencer Gifts, LLC., commonly referred to as Spencer's, is a North American mall retailer. Spencer Gifts has stores in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico.

The retailer offers rock and roll clothing, custom t-shirts, band merchandise, Playboy decor and apparel, sex toys, traditional and newer gag gifts, room decor, collectable figures, fantasy and horror items. It also offers a large selection of fashion and body jewelry.

Spencer Gifts is one of the largest mall-based specialty gift store chains in North America with over 600 stores nationwide coupled with an online presence which includes a unique Design A Tee studio at SpencersOnline. The company also operates temporary Halloween stores under the moniker Spirit Halloween Superstore.

Steven Silverstein, Spencer Gifts Chief Executive Officer and Spirit Halloween CEO and President, reports that in 2009 the Spirit of Children program, a charitable mission incorporating customer, vendor and partner donations, raised one million dollars to bring holiday celebrations to hospitalized children.

History[edit]

Originally founded as a mail-order catalog in 1947, Spencer's sold an assortment of novelty merchandise. In 1963, Spencer's opened its first retail store in the Cherry Hill Mall in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, where it continues to have a retail presence.

Shortly after launching its retail division, Spencer's was acquired by MCA, an entertainment conglomerate. In 1995, MCA was acquired by Seagram Company Ltd. and operated under the name Universal Studios. While a Universal Studios company, Spencer’s expanded its store base into Canada and the United Kingdom and acquired a Halloween seasonal retailer, Spirit Halloween. Under the name Spirit Halloween, Spencer's sponsor a holiday discussion website, Halloween Forum.

Typical merchandise at a Spencer's Gift shop.

In 2001, Vivendi, a diversified international entertainment company acquired Universal Studios and re-branded the entire organization as Vivendi Universal Entertainment LLLP. Less than two years later, in 2003, GB Palladin, a joint venture between Gordon Brothers Group, LLC and Palladin Capital Group, Inc. acquired Spencer Gifts LLC. Steven Silverstein is Spencer Gifts Chief Executive Officer and also serves as Chief Executive Officer and President of Spirit Halloween.

In the Fall of 2004, four new prototype stores were constructed and opened in Deptford, New Jersey, Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, Concord, New Hampshire and Des Moines, Iowa.

In 2005, Spencer's opened its first store in Puerto Rico at Plaza Carolina. The chain had three more stores on the island located in Plaza del Norte, Montehiedra Town Center and Las Catalinas Mall. Two of the Puerto Rican stores closed in 2009.

ACON Investments acquired the company in 2007.

Criticism[edit]

Following an undercover investigation by television station WEWS in Cleveland,[1] Spencer's was criticized for allowing children access to adult toys and explicit items such as a lollipop in the shape of a penis. This store is for ages 11 and up, but the adult toys, sex toys are for ages 18 and up. Parma, Ohio, Mayor Dean DePiero has vowed to force changes at the store located in the Parmatown Mall after viewing the story. On March 22, 2000, WFTS-TV in Tampa, Florida also did a story on it. Items that draw attention to the store are semi-nude posters of women hanging up in the window, Playboy items such as tote bags and delicates, and seasonal items such as Halloween costumes. Because of these complaints erotic material has been moved to the back of the store where it can be viewed and/or bought by those who are over 18 years of age and have proper identification. Sales may be refused to minors or persons without the proper ID at the discretion of the employees on duty at that particular location.

In February 2014, a boycott was started to protest items sold by the store which promote and glamorize irresponsible drinking in addition to stereotyping and denigrating the Irish. The Ancient Order of Hibernians; National Anti-Defamation Chairman Neil Cosgrove protested, “We note that Spencer's Gifts is a recidivist when it comes to denigrating the heritage and culture of Irish Americans. Spencer’s St. Pat’s merchandise seems to plumb new lows with each year." The AOH, which was founded in 1836, drew particular attention to a Tshirt on the company's site with the slogan “F*** me I’m Irish”.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Undercover Video Shows Kids Getting Access To Adult Toys – News Story – WEWS Cleveland

External links[edit]