Spirit The Halloween Costume Store that Could

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Halloween is fast approaching and we here at eClincher decided that the best way to celebrate this spooky delicious day is by giving you the lowdown on your favorite neighborhood pop-up store Spirit.

As predictable as pumpkin lattes and UGG boots, a Spirit Haloween store will suddenly pop up in your neighborhood come October.  So what is this magical cephalopod appearing in Oct only to be replaced by a turkey in Nov?

The History of the Spirit Store

In 1983 Joe Marver owner of the Spirit Women’s Discount Apparel dress shop in Castro Valley was a bit peeved when he noticed how much more business his neighbor’s costume shop was bringing in. “I used to drool at the business he’d do at Halloween,” said Marver. After the costume shop closed Marver decided to try his luck.

With a loan from family and friends Marver switched from selling dresses to selling Jason masks. After selling out all his costumes in record time Marver decided to up the ante. Marver opened a Halloween store in a nearby shopping mall, the first Spirit pop-up store made $100,000 in 30 days.

Spirit The Halloween Costume Store that Could

In the mid-’80s licensing agreements between comic book publishers and movie studios helped bring variety to traditional Haloween costumes and add an adult tone.   All of the sudden Larry the custodian could become Robocop for Halloween, and Patricia the hairdresser Wonder Woman.

This shift helped Halloween transition from a suburban parent’s chaperoning event for their kid’s sweet tooth addictions to an excuse for parents and non-parents alike to go out in the evening.  A Halloween for Adults.

Spirit The Halloween Costume Store that Could

In truth, experts say the traditions that gave rise to Halloween – the Celtic “Samhain” festival and the British All Hallows’ Eve – were mainly for adults in the first place.

Everybody wanted a costume and Marver was happy to help.  Unlike mainstream retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target who carried 1,000 Halloween items (hoping for a fast turn-around so that they could be ready for x-mas), Spirit had over 6,000 Halloween pieces.

Spirit offered a wide selection of costumes and makeup and was your one-stop shop for all things Halloween.  Business soared and Marver grew the Spirit brand to 60 seasonal stores nationwide before selling it to Spencer Gifts LLC in 1999 for an undisclosed sum.

Spirit The Halloween Costume Store that Could

Spirit The Store for all things Halloween

Today, the Spirit Halloween network of pop-up stores is bigger than any other specialty retailer in this category.   Spencer Gifts expanding Marver’s original concept to more than 1,300 locations across the US and Canada.

Spirit Halloween has one single goal, to deliver the very best Halloween experience possible to all of their guests.

Every season the Spirit team works tirelessly to create new and innovative ideas in Halloween costumes, accessories, animatronics, décor and more.  Utilizing the latest technology to dazzle even the most hardcore Halloween fans.

Spirit stores offer complete selections of costumes and accessories for infants/toddlers, children, ‘tweens, teens, and adults along with exclusive décor you won’t find anywhere else.

The Spirit of Children

At the heart of Spirit Halloween is their Spirit of Children program which focuses on making hospitals less scary for hospitalized children and their families.  Spirit of Children brings fun and funding to local hospitals year round, not just on Halloween.

Spirit The Halloween Costume Store that Could

Throughout the Halloween season, all Spirit Halloween stores conduct in-store fundraising.  Since 2007, Spirit of Children has raised $45 million to provide Child Life funding for art, music, aquatic and pet therapy programs as well as the purchase of educational items and toys used for distraction during medical procedures.

100% of every dollar donated supports the Child Life Department in our 140 partner hospitals across the United States and Canada.

To donate to the Spirit of Children program click here or Share your support for #SpiritofChildren on social media.

We hope you enjoyed our Spirit Halloween retrospective and got a few ideas of your own on how to advance your brick and mortar business.  Next week we will talk about the social media component that makes the Spirit Halloween brand viral.

The key takeaways from this blog post:

  • If you see a company succeeding when yours is not, learn their business model. 
  • Offer more options than your competitors.
  • Take advantage of current market trends.

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