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Posted Date: 01/11/2016

A Halloween Retail Hybrid

The original Halloween Dreams to Screams Costume Store (www.dreamstoscreams.com) opened at North Versailles Valley Pool and Spa (www.valleypoolspa.com) in 2007. In the years since, the Halloween retailer has expanded to six stores across Pennsylvania, becoming annual destinations for its loyal costume-loving customers in the weeks leading up
to Halloween.

Halloween Dreams to Screams is a hybrid with both a year-round location in North Versailles, plus five temporary locations that open in August for the Halloween season. Each of the stores transforms into a Halloween headquarters with more than 5,000 affordable Halloween costumes and accessories, for all members of the family including baby, toddler, girls, boys, men, women and couples. Kristin Poppa, executive director, says they pride themselves on being “the only Halloween costume store in the area to stock a variety of costumes in extended sizes for adults and children.”

The stores are also stocked with merchandise to help shoppers transform their homes into their very own haunted house with a variety of props and decorations such as graveyard tombstones, spider webs, skeletons, animatronics and much more.

Selling Halloween asked Poppa to give some insights into several areas that have been seen to impact Halloween retailers. Here are her responses:

WINNING THE MARKETING & PROMOTIONS GAME
“Halloween Dreams to Screams is branching out into other areas of the community by cross promotions with other local businesses, joining in on community events, creating an e-commerce site, and opening our own temporary locations to compete with the big box and usual temporary stores,” Poppa explains. “We try to put ourselves in a different category than most Halloween stores by still giving the customer service you would get in a smaller business but with the prices and selection of a big box store.”  
 
COMBATTING SHOWROOMING
“We make sure that our in-store customers realize that buying online is risky during the short Halloween season,” Poppa asserts. “Many orders are not sent in time or may be the wrong size which puts more stress on the consumer instead of trying it on in the store and having it in hand at the time of purchase.” Because of these efforts, Poppa says that showrooming has not impacted their stores to any noticeable degree.

SHIPPING & DELIVERY NIGHTMARES
“Our biggest challenge has been getting shipments from vendors in a timely fashion,” Poppa says. “We create the purchase orders in January yet are still waiting for product in October. Halloween is a very very short season and vendors need to step up and get their products out to their consumers not only in a timely fashion but in an organized fashion as well.”

Poppa goes on to stress that having just a couple boxes in an order shipped at a time cuts into profits when shipping is being paid numerous times. “My stores are set up and ready for business at the end of August,” she claims. “If the orders are late then it throws off the set up and organization of the stores.” 

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