Fanime 2013 Wrap-Up
Another Fanime has come and gone, and it was one of our most hectic yet! This year we left the comfortable confines of Dealer's Hall to set up shop in Hall 1, where the swap meet and archery demonstrations took place. We're still reeling from the impressive turnout during the 4-day convention. After a full weekend of technicolor costumes, we are slowly readjusting to normal life, but we are glad to have served the legions of Fanime attendees many boxes of Pocky, bottles of Ramune, and bowls of ramen.
This year was a bit chaotic as construction was taking place in the convention center and various events were being held in new locations. Many people didn't even know we were here when they didn't see us in the Dealer's Hall, but once word got out that a pop-up Asian grocery store was in the house, things got crazy quick.
This year, we brought not only snacks but also plush dolls, cool mugs, and iPhone accessories. These new products took up 1/3 of our booth space, and we were happy at the reception. Our large plushies and body pillows quickly found an audience, as did our anime iPhone cases.
As always, the anchor of our pop-up store was our large stock of Ramune sodas and Pocky/Hello Panda snacks. It was flavors galore, as people marveled at the wide selection of over fifteen Ramune flavors and Pocky variants. Thirsty patrons were taken aback at the availability of obscure flavors such as Curry and Chili Oil. Some bought multiple novelty flavors to be consumed as dares, but of course we offer standard tasty refreshments as well. Customers definitely did not lack choice, and we were happy to see many repeat customers throughout the weekend.
We had trouble keeping our items in stock. Tables filled to the brim on opening day were bare by the time the con was over, and we were trying our damnedest to restock our booth.Whole boxes of imported Japanese bread were consumed within a few hours every morning. Our melon bread went quick as anime fans wanted to find out exactly what the fuss Shana makes about melonpan is all about (hint: it's delicious.)
For the first time in the five years we've attended Fanime, we stayed open 24 hours everyday, for the entire duration of the con! In the wee hours of the night, the Asian Food Grocer booth was the destination for anime fans looking for a meal. And we were totally ready for you bleary-eyed people. Our ramen station, complete with a hot water cooler and a microwave and a full complement of condiments such as Sriracha and sesame oil, played host to many hungry revelers. People gathered round the cooler, emptying their seasoning packets and cooking their noodles while resting and trading con stories. With snacks and Ramune freely flowing, the late-night AFG booth had the cozy feel of a tavern within the wide expanses of Hall 1.
The die-hard anime fans, taking a break from their all-night video room sessions, as well as hyped-up ravers, came by to raid our store for any thing caffeinated. Our coffees and themed energy drinks were a big hit, fueling folks up for more hours of late-night gaming and viewing in the adjacent halls. And when our caffeine drinks ran out, we offered up Black Black gum for those still needing an extra tick of energy.
The convention had some issues this year, but the real attraction has always been the people who flock to San Jose Convention Center, and in that sense, Fanime delivered 100%. We saw Bronies, cosplayers dressed up to the tee, and people in street clothes simply taking in the sights. Thank you to all that showed up to our booth, for your creativity and passion in your cosplays made our weekend all the more memorable. Hope all you guys had a good con, and we'll see you next year!