||Halloween Stores: Here One Day and Gone the Next
Like spirits in the night, they appear out of nowhere and just as quickly disappear, spending only a brief time among the living.
But fear not. They're Halloween stores, those costume and make-up shops that pop up around the state and then, almost unnoticed, disappear before the trick-or-treat candy is all eaten.
And they are welcome guests to strip malls with vacancies.
"We've had very good experiences with them," said Robert Carson, senior vice president of Levin Management, which oversees several shopping centers in the state. "There's a couple we work with that have sophisticated operations."
While landlords would prefer to rent to year-round tenants, they're happy to have "somebody to light up a store, to draw customers, even if it's for a short term," he said. "These are spaces we haven't been able to find a tenant for."
The added foot traffic, he added, is a bonus to the neighboring stores.
Most of the successful stores are franchises. Halloween City is a subsidiary of Rockaway-based Party City, and Spirit Halloween is related to Spencer Gifts, which is headquartered in Little Egg Harbor. Another, Halloween Express, with four stores in New Jersey, operates out of Owenton, Ky.
Spirit Halloween sells franchises, however, its 33 New Jersey stores are all company-owned. It has more than 1,000 stores nationwide, according to a spokeswoman.
The idea of a store being open for only two months a year may seem like a spooky one, but it isn't.
"There is a tremendous profit to be made in a very short period," said Howard Davidowitz, chairman of Davidowitz and Associates, a New York-based national retail consultant and investment firm.
"Halloween merchandise is a product that's in demand, so you can do a lot of business, with very low overhead, in a short amount of time. It's a tremendous one-shot deal."
One could say it's a boo-ming business. Sales topped $6 billion last year, according to the National Retail Federation.
Vincent Nicastro operates the Halloween Express franchise on Route 18 in East Brunswick.
"When I got started with it, it was fun and we made it into a party," he said.
He's been at it for 7 years -- and he's only 25. He's been in four different stores, but basically in the same strip mall because of its high traffic volume.
Nicastro has entertained thoughts of extending the business and opening a Christmas store in the same location. "I tried it once," he said, "but it didn't work. Halloween works better."
Nicastro said Halloween Express charges franchisees a $10,000, one-time fee, giving the entrepreneur the right to use the Halloween Express name and logo, advertising material and advice. It also takes 5 percent of gross sales, Nicastro said.
Inventory can cost as much as $180,000, depending on the size of the store, and fixtures can run from $15,000 to $17,000.
But sales can be in the hundreds of thousands.
A survey by the National Retail Federation showed consumers spent more than $70 on costumes, decorations and candy last year -- $15 more than they spent in 2009.
The survey also found that 68 percent of Americans partake in the holiday in one way or another.
Although Spirit Halloween's New Jersey stores are company-owned, the employees are, for the most part, seasonal.
"It's a very good seasonal job," said Lisa Barr, senior director of marketing. The company declined to give sales figures.
"Even though we are a seasonal store, we have a lot of people who are enthusiastic about Halloween."
Spirit Halloween is as much about the experience as the sales. The stores sport a different theme every year. This year it's a Halloween farm, with "limb-ripping werewolves and baby zombies," Barr said. Each store has life-sized animatronics, which are also for sale.
But shop while you can. Once the trick-or-treaters are all safely tucked in for the night, these stores will return once again to the dark netherworld they came from--until next year.
(Source: The Newark Star Ledger, 09/09/12)
How You Can Make Money:
Pop-up stores are the new retail darlings, and like the Halloween stores, many pop up seasonally or with predictable regularity to showcase new trends (Yes, Target, I'm talking about you.) In addition to their need to inundate the market with short-term advertising, they are prime for promotions and sponsorship spending to make an unmistakable impact in your market. If you have a late-September or October event, on-air contest, or other sponsorship opportunity, look for money from these pop-up entrepreneurs.
Click here to email to client
Back to Radio Sales Today
Click here to view Job Postings.
Upcoming Webinar: Deep Account Selling
Decisions on where to place the Big Dollars are made by Chief Marketing Officers, Brand Managers, and Agency Account Executives.
To reach the serious decision-makers and build an integrated campaign worthy of the Big Dollars, you must expand your relationships vertically within marketing and agency organizations.
Join RAB's Brandeis C. Hall for this idea-filled presentation, as you learn how to determine categories that are on the upswing, identify key decision-makers, create probing CNA questions, and utilize RAB research to save yourself time and effort.
This webinar will be offered twice: on Tuesday, October 9, at 3 PM (Central), and again on Thursday, October 11, at 10 AM (Central). For registration information, click here.