We started TTI in my 3rd year of running the Golden Apple. Our small San Ramon store was starting to burst at the seams, and our companies were really breaking loose with fun designs for classroom decorations. Every year, Trend, Creative Teaching Press, and ATA (now gone) would try to top each other with new, cute designs in borders. 40 or 50 new designs a year was now normal. It was easy to see that without discontinuing some old styles, we were going to run out of space fast. However, innovation in borders was a new thing. For many years, teachers had used the same style, year in and year out. I think I have some of the designs burned in my head. So when I decided to discontinue for example the plaid design that was in Trend's first catalog, it was a catastrophe for some teachers. And they told me about it by waving a strip in my face: "I've done my classroom in this trim for 5 years, what do you mean you don't have it!" Turning that strip of trim into a coupon for a new style was an easy solution. It often diffused the situation, and got teachers to change their classrooms decor around.
Twenty or so years later, teachers are now used to styles changing. We rarely have the same thing for more than a few years. Plaid came back into fashion for a while, Gingham was a hit again. Now we do it as a tradition, since most teachers like changing things around anyway. Many stores across the country do a similar promotion, since the idea caught on at other stores, but it started here and it's something we can't discontinue!