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Friday, January 1, 2010


When Russ Berrie started his company in 1963, he had $500 in capital and a rented New Jersey garage. The first plush creatures he introduced to the country were Fuzzie Wuzzies, followed by the rubbery Bupkis Family, and the Sillisculpts. The company expanded rapidly and in 1992, kids all over the world discovered the same unexplainable attraction their parents had for Troll dolls in the 60’s. Those goofy dolls became the hottest retail product of the year with Russ having record annual sales.
However, there are times when Russ Berrie, and other companies like them, have inventory problems. Most of the products Russ makes are hits and almost jump off the store shelves, but some do not meet sales expectations. Those items are identified by many departments within the company. What happens to those items?
Some of the excess is cleared through liquidators and some is donated to charitable organizations. One of the organizations that Russ Berried discovered is NAEIR, the National Association for the Exchange of Industrial Resources, located in Galesburg, Illinois. NAEIR accepts donations of overstock, slow selling, and discontinued products and redistributes them to schools, churches, and nonprofit organizations nationwide.
The companies making the donations earn an above cost federal income tax deduction than can be up to twice their cost of the goods.
“The products we donate to NAEIR represent our overstocks,” said Bill Hammer, Director of Inventory Control at Russ Berrie, headquartered in Oakland, NJ.
The Russ policy is not to keep slower moving products in inventory, but rather to move on to products with greater potential in the market place. The preference is to donate the best of these slower selling items to charity.
Some of the items Russ Berrie has donated include, kitchen magnets, posters, bumper stickers, stuffed animals, pencil sharpeners, picture frames, dolls, key rings, and novelty items.
NAEIR member organizations are probably most familiar with the popular Troll Dolls that have been frequently donated over the years. Trolls have been a big donation in the past year.
Hammer said his experience in working with NAEIR has been a positive one.
“I have nothing but good things to say about the professionalism of the people I’ve worked with at NAEIR. They are very accommodating and respond promptly to our requests. I have not heard of any problems from our Distribution or Accounting people in their dealings with NAEIR,” Hammer said.
He added that he enjoys reading about the schools and nonprofit organizations that receive products through NAEIR. It makes it very meaningful to see Russ Berrie products going to children and adults who appreciate them.
If you would like more information about donating to NAEIR, call the Corporate Relations Department at 1-800-562-0955 or log on

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