Northeast Retailers React to Hurricane Sandy Washing Out Halloween | Selling Halloween
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Northeast Retailers React to Hurricane Sandy Washing Out Halloween

  • Posted On: 27th November 2012
It’s not every day that a holiday gets postponed by executive order, but that’s exactly what happened to Halloween when New Jersey Governor Chris Christie delayed trick-or-treat in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Citing dangerous conditions caused by the storm and its subsequent clean up, Christie called his five-day postponement of Halloween “a necessary step.”
 
While the effort to reschedule Halloween might have given hope to disappointed children, retailers in the Northeast report that the holiday was a complete wash out.
 
halloweensandypartyfair112512.jpgMarvin Levy, owner of the Party Fair discount party store in Toms River, NJ, said that the storm brought a dismal end to an already flat Halloween season.  While Sandy didn’t make landfall until Monday, October 29, Levy said the hurricane’s impact was felt well before its wind and rain.
 
“People were very cautious and hesitant in their buying,” Levy says about the days leading up to super-storm Sandy.  “On Sunday it was like a morgue in here.” Levy admits the hurricane had a major impact on sales for the last seven or eight days of the month. Party Fair, which Levy, a local resident, has owned for 30 years, lost all electricity and remained closed for six days. Levy explained that when the store finally reopened, people’s priorities had understandably shifted and the rescheduled holiday did little to make up for lost sales.
 
halloweensandyspirit112612.jpgWhile the Jersey Shore felt the brunt of Hurricane Sandy’s wrath, Halloween retailers in many neighboring states were also impacted. Of the nearly 1,000 temporary stores Spirit Halloween operated in 2012, more than 120 are located in the Northeast. According to Crystal Baxter, Spirit Halloween’s manager of marketing and licensing, most of the stores that had to shutter due to Sandy were closed Monday and Tuesday, and reopened on Wednesday, October 31.  
One of the areas hit hardest by the storm was Staten Island, NY, where the year-round retailer Halloween Warehouse has been selling costumes, makeup and dancewear to area residents since 2000. “It was a disaster,” store manager Monica Trejo describes, when discussing the impact of Hurricane Sandy. “We lost power Monday morning and left.” The store reopened four days later when power was restored, Trejo explains, but the main phone line was out of order for over two weeks.
 
Trejo asserts that while sales are slowly getting back to normal, she realizes her concerns are minimal compared to the devastation of the surrounding areas where lives and homes were lost. “You keep things in perspective,” she muses.
In fact, some Halloween retailers put lost store hours and unsold merchandise to good use. Spirit’s home office is located in South Jersey, where employees witnessed the storm’s destruction firsthand. In response, the company donated more than 800 costumes and accessories to shelters and schools to help restore a sense of normalcy for children during Halloween.  

robaxin for sale no While Party Fair was closed on October 31, Marvin Levy visited local shelters where he handed out free candy and toys from his store. He told Selling Halloween that he doesn’t think of these people as displaced residents – he calls them neighbors.

 

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