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
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
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
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 !"
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...