Car Bow Store in Warminster, Pa. supplies ribbons for gifted vehicles

Dan Smith

It's the season for cars with big red bows, at least in TV commercials, if not in our driveways. just outside Philadelphia.

Car Bow Store, a subsidiary of MBR Marketing of Warminster, Pennsylvania, was launched approximately 13 years ago. Since his founding in 1982, MBR has supplied auto dealers with many products and supplies (everything from sales forms and key tags to disposable floor mats, etc.), but it is at odds with the large decorative bows sourced from overseas. I started noticing that there is .

"In our opinion, they weren't done well at all," Michael Rudolph, president of MBR and Curbow Stores, told the Inquirer. I may have underestimated it. Create your own. "You know, 'We make better products and that's it,'" said Rudolph.

But then reality set in. The company had to purchase "thousands of pounds" of plastic to make the bow. ”

MBR started contacting competitors Increase your sales and make it worth your efforts. Many tended to buy from alternative domestic manufacturers for products that dealers only buy in small numbers each year.

Now, in a strong year, the Car Bow Store will sell about 25,000 large bows, both wholesale and direct-to-consumer orders. Individual bows measuring 30 inches start at just under $40 each, and customers can choose between magnetic or suction bases.

For instantly recognizable products, Car Bow Store also boasts movie and television uses such as "Good Morning America" ​​and "Gilmore Girls."

The bow originates from the Warminster warehouse which also houses MBR and other businesses. Subsidiary Flagdom offers a wide range of flags and other fabric products, including promotional hood covers and banners. MBR sells windows his paint his markers for dealers to write promotions and prices on windshields, dealer service department fixtures and even inflatable air dancers.

“We basically sell to car dealerships across North America and sometimes Europe,” he said. And after his 40 years in the industry, business is doing well enough that MBR has reduced the size of the Warminster location he called home to for his 10-plus years. I am doubling it.

Lexus is often credited with popularizing big bows thanks to holiday commercials depicting someone gifting a spouse or loved one a car. A few years later, the Wall Street Journal reported a shortage of large ornamental bows.

There is no shortage of bows now, but there may be a shortage of cars.

"For the last two years we haven't had a car," said Rudolph. "We visited dealers and they had a lot of four or five cars."

Citing research from BofA Securities, CNBC reported that auto inventories rebounded to their highest level since May 2021 in September after prolonged delays due to the pandemic. But as inventories rebounded, vehicle prices soared, with the average new car price in November hitting a record $48,681, according to the Kelly Blue Book.

Rudolph said bow sales this year have been down compared to past years, but "this wasn't a bad year overall."

The holiday season is the biggest season in the bow business, but Warminster does not rely solely on the holiday season for sales.

"There's never a day when you don't sell half a dozen," says Rudolph. Beyond the holidays, graduations and sweet sixteen celebrations are popular reasons to purchase decorations.

"It's amazing how many people give cars as gifts," Rudolph said, adding that people would make the "two- or three-hour trip to get a bow" from his company. rice field.

Bows also have other uses. It's a new house.

Recently, "I got a call from a woman from Texas who desperately wants a bow on the door," Rudolph said. The Car Bow Store sells two of his bows specifically for door use. This is what is often referred to as the "photo shoot" moment for new home buyers.

Rudolph himself keeps one on the door of his family's vacation home all year round.

"Some people are different colors," he said. "I wear a blue ribbon in spring."