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HRC News Special Report

HRC Paris Pinapalooza 2006 - what a fantastic weekend..

Pinapalooza 2006 is history... and what a FANTASTIC event it was. I never felt so much welcomed to any HRC Pin Collectors Events in YEARS...

We took the THALYS (super fast train) from Cologne to Paris. Very nice ride - great service. After less than 4 hours we arrived at Gare du Nord where a limosine from our hotel (Le Grand Hotel / right at the Opera) picked us up. We did not even wait for the bell man to bring our luggage to the room. The weather was so great we just went out to Champs Elysee and had our first crepes in the sun :-) After a few hours of sight seeing (we had been to Paris before) we went to the Hard Rock Cafe. We were greeted by HRC Paris Retail Manager Luli and her team. Already about 15 collectors were in the upstairs VIP room of the cafe. There were softdrinks and juices and even pitchers of beer for us - all for free. It was great to see some of our old time pin collectors friends from the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium and it was a big hugging and kissing all over. Then Luli showed us that they even had a buffet set up for us pin collectors - also for free. I could not believe what I saw... I am a BIG Fajitas fan... and here were unlimited Fajitas... I felt like in heaven... :-) Also Chicken Strips, Nachos, Salad, Mini-Hambugers, Mini-Cheesburgers and more... it was breathtaking to see how much HRC Paris had put up for us. Luli and her team sat together with us for hours and we talked about pin collecting, the HRCs and a lot more. We got a very nice timetable for the weekend and later in the evening Roberto, the Restaurant Supervisor, joined us. He even had a free round of great tasting shots for us - and told us to keep the HRC Paris shot glasses... whow. But this should not be our last gift to remember the weekend. When we went back to our hotel we felt: HRC Paris really cares about us pin collectors...

On saturday we arrived at the cafe around 10:30 am. About 30 collectors were already in the cafe and the first Pinapalooza pin (Sexy Nurse) was already on sale. Vania took care of registration and everybody got a very very nice welcome bag. Included were 3 vouchers for every pin that would went on sale, a Paris map, information about the charity organization, a ticket for a sightseeing bus tour (compliments of HRC Paris) and even a HRC Paris Pin as a gift (Eiffel Tower pin). Soon all tables of the VIP room were filled with pin bags and heavy trading began.

Luli introduced me to Sophie Vakili, Regional Retail Manager, who came all the way from Madrid.

HRC Paris Retail Manager Luli welcomed all pin collectors officially later on and told us about what was to come up. The atmosphere was just great. Very relaxed trading - like we were all long time friends. HRC Paris again had set up a great welcome buffet for us with free coffee, juices, milk, croissants and a lot more - again all for free.

Sophie (left) the Regional Retail Manager came all the way from Madrid. Right: Luli, Retail Manager of HRC Paris

At about 1 pm the buffet was getting even better with chicken strips and other warm stuff... you could eat and drink all day long for free in HRC style... what a nice treatment for all of us.

For me the best part of it all was to see Luli, Sophie, Vania, Cathy, Viviana, Morgane and all other Retail ladys to come up to us, to browse through the in bags and to chat with us like to good friends. We talked about pins, Rita, the HRCs, upcoming openings and the pin collectors community. It was just wonderful.

At about 1.30 PM the big auction started. 20 items were auctioned off for charity (Petits Princes - a children charity organisation). A reprensentative from Petite Princess was present to tell us a little bit about them. From rare Staff Pins to Teddy Bears and from cool and rare shirts to shot glasses - it was all here in the auction. And Hassim from HRC Paris did a FANTASTIC job during the auction. When the auction was over the lady from the charity organisation seemed to be very happy with the turn out.

Hassim, the great auctioneer

Trading continued and we had lots of fun with all the collectors and the great HRC Paris staff. But in the afternoon we grabbed our bags and brought them back to the hotel cause we really wanted to use the free sightseeing bus tickets that we got. We did the GRAND TOUR of Paris with Louvres, Champs Elysees, Notre Dame, The Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower and everything else. The bus tour was great and I made a lot of PARIS IN FALL pictures... click here if you wanna check them out...

At about 8 pm and after a fantastic dinner in a great paris restaurant we arrived back at the HRC. The 2nd Pinapalooza Pin (Can Can Pin - with a MOVING Leg - how cool) was on sale. And a live concert was about to start. The best tables in the house were reserved for us pin collectors - although HRC Paris was PACKED with people. The drinks were great and the atmosphere fantastic. The live band was a great blues band. They really ROCKED the house... whow. For us pin collectors all night was HAPPY HOUR... with great discounts on our drinks. And Roberto even brought another round of shots for all of us. We partied untill Sunday morning... I love these european pin collectors events :-)

On Sunday it was time to say GOOD BYE to everybody including our new friends at HRC Paris. But before that they had a bunch of more surprises for us. Needless to say they had a great breakfast buffet set up for us again. Also everybody got a ticket for a special raffle. Everybody won something... from HRC T-Shirts to HRC Laminates, HRC Shot Glasses and HRC Teddy Bears went to Maria-Paula and Els of course :-)

The 15th Anniversary Pin was on sale. A very nice Guitar pin...

Viviana browsing for pins, pins, pins...

Later on some of us even got a nice diploma with the Pinapalooza Logo on it. Mine says: "This certifies that Jens survived and rocked at Pinapalooza 2006 in Paris and recieved this diploma for being the most photo-crazy !"

Well, if that is true you can check out here with all the pictures I took during the event :-) Just click here...

When we had to say BYE BYE to HRC Paris it was really hard. I fell like this retail ladys really became friends of the HRC Pin Collectors community. I have to say: I never felt that much welcome to a HRC Pin Collectors event for years... like at HRC Stockholm in the early PIN March days...

Not only because there was so much to enjoy for free... but most of all because the whole staff made us feel VERY special, always was there for us and were part of our event.

Me in the middle of HRC Pairs retail staff...

I wanna thank Luli, Sophie, Vania, Hassim, Cathy, Viviana, Raed, Victoria, Armadno, Roberto and Morgane. You were THE BEST... Thank you so much for everything you put up for us. You made us feel like HRC Paris was our home... and for sure: We will be back soon at fantastic HRC Paris...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


2006 Jens Beckmann, Germany (www.jens-beckmann.de)