Halloween store doing scary good business

Halloween Alley manager Shelley Wise arranges a Donald Trump mask on a Mexican costume at the seasonal store on Exmouth Street. Cathy Dobson

Cathy Dobson  

A local couple says they couldn’t have predicted the success of their seasonal Halloween store.

“Our Sarnia location is the number one Halloween Alley store in Ontario,” says dealer/operator Peter Kyte. “It’s been fabulous from the moment we opened the doors Sept. 9.”

Kyte and partner Shelley Wise operate Halloween Alley locations in Sarnia and Windsor this fall. In 2014, they became associated with Halloween Alley, Canada’s largest independently-owned Halloween store, with 40 temporary locations across the country.

Halloween Alley leases the space, pays for the inventory and provides a marketing budget, while operators like Kyte and Wise hire and pay for staff, decide where the marketing dollars are spent, and run the shop for two months.

“We get a commission on sales,” explained Kyte. “And based on the way things are going at our two stores this year, sometime soon we’re going to be able to take the rest of the year off.”

During last year’s Halloween season the couple operated an “express” version of Halloween Alley at the Harvey’s plaza on London Road. That convinced the parent company to lease a much larger space this year at the former XS Cargo location at 1330 Exmouth St.

“They also brought in almost half a million in inventory to Sarnia,” Kyte said. “It shows you that the Halloween industry is really growing.”

The store is full of makeup, costumes, décor and Halloween accessories for everyone from babies to adults.

Inflatable costumes with built in fan systems are proving popular this year, says Wise. Every inflatable T-Rex costume in the store sold out in two days, but there are still other inflatables including Godzilla, which retails for $99.99.

“Anything Star Wars related is moving quickly, as well as Monster High and Descendants costumes,” Wise said.  “People aren’t waiting to buy their costumes. We’ve been busy for weeks.”

She believes the store’s success is tied to Sarnia’s love for Halloween parties and home decorating.

“Many people who come in say Halloween is the holiday they prefer, even more than Christmas,” Wise said. “This year, I know there are weddings in Sarnia on Halloween, as well as stag-and-does and other get-togethers.”

Children’s costumes range from $19.99 for a Friday the 13th Jason mask and machete to a King Tut costume for $26.99.

An adult costume can run anywhere from $29.99 for a Donald Trump mask, to $89.99 for a Sponge Bob Patrick get up or a $349 Assassin’s Creed costume.

“Our animatronics are just about sold out,” Wise said, referring to the moving lawn and house decorations.  Everything from talking trees to cackling witches stirring caldrons is gone.

But there is still one scary 10-foot witch greeting customers as they enter the store. She retails for $349.

 

ATLAS HELPS HUMANE SOCIETY

Jason Blais, owner of Atlas Technologies on Murphy Road, is raising money at the Lambton Mall for the Sarnia Humane Society this Saturday.

Jason Blais, owner of Atlas Technologies on Murphy Road, is raising money at the Lambton Mall for the Sarnia Humane Society this Saturday.

From 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Blais will provide on-the-spot computer system stress tests, surface only virus removal and tune up and cleaning for $60. For every serviced computer, Blais will donate $10 to help our four-legged friends.

His shop will also match the total donations at the end of the day.

Blais will be located near the Children’s Place and is also selling $10 raffle tickets for a special bundle of Atlas products that includes a laptop. The winner will be selected Nov. 2 with partial proceeds also going to the Humane Society.

 

Got an interesting business story?  Contact Cathy Dobson at cathy.dobson@thesarniajournal.ca or 226-932-0985.