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Entertainment Earth

Entertainment Earth is giving Santa Clause a run for his money. From its new Simi Valley warehouse, the company on Dec. 5 shipped out more than 4,000 orders of collectible toys and action figures, setting a company record. Brothers Jason and Aaron Labowitz dreamed about doing that kind of volume when they started the retail and wholesale business 15 years ago out of a small garage in Sherman Oaks. Today, the company operates out of a 65,000-square-foot facility and offers more than 13,000 individual items that appeal to the “big kid” toy enthusiast. Entertainment Earth sells collectible action figures and memorabilia from popular brands and licenses such as DC Comics, Hasbro, Mattel and Nintendo. The company’s wholesale division, EE Distribution, caters to retailers and merchants. It also holds about 12 property licenses under its sister company, BifBangPow!, which Jason Labowitz owns along with Jason Lenzi, who serves as the company’s CEO. The company already has surpassed its 2010 revenues of $16 million and expects a 10 to 15 percent increase in revenues for 2011, Labowitz said. “We never would have been able to do this type of business in our old location,” he said, noting the company moved from North Hollywood in July. Appealing to a niche market of adult collectors has its share of challenges. Avid collectors who once gladly purchased entire collections now are much more cautious with their purchasing decisions, Labowitz said. In response, the company expanded its product lines beyond the popular action figures and bobblehead dolls to include novelty gifts that would appeal to the “one-item consumer.” It has now become a source for licensed gift items such as apparel, water bottles and key chains. And as both a retailer and distributor, Entertainment Earth has a lot of competitors in the marketplace. On the retail side, the company is up against big names such as Toys ‘R’ Us and Amazon, while on the distribution side competition includes Boley Corporation and Diamond Comic Distributors. Labowitz says he isn’t discouraged by some of his rivals — he does business with them. Diamond Comic, for example, is a major supplier and a customer. For now, he said, Entertainment Earth is focused on topping its own success. “With the move, I really took my eye off the ball this year, and we still had an increase,” Labowitz said. “Next year, I’d like to see what happens when we really focus.”

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