Yes, Businesses Still Have Grand Openings! Five things to think about when planning an opening event.

What To Do With a Store Opening

Our newest client recently opened a new store and it’s the first of its brand in the state. It’s a franchise and it had its Grand Opening at a particularly unpredictable time of year when it comes to weather. It also is a store that sells a product that tends to make people think “warm weather.” What does an event manager do when faced with a true brick n’ mortar store opening, and many things are out of their control, like weather and no clue how many people will attend? Sure, event managers deal with uncertainties all the time, but in a time when storefronts are shutting down due to the Amazon’s of the world, what are some things to think about to help make any brick and mortar opening event grand?

Plan for Weather

First on the list, weather. Assuming there is marketing surrounding the opening, people have been waiting for this store to open and people can gather inside the store, a line could form outside. What will the weather be like so plans can be made to provide protection and to make them comfortable? No weather report is 100% accurate, but the time of year and time of day/night can help you have contingency plans in place just in case.

Offer Solutions for Unpredictable Weather

Second, protection – A great way to offer protection from weather (heat, sun, rain, snow, etc.) is a tent. Inside the tent, a line can get started and can be a great place to entertain guests why they are waiting in line. If cold, tent heaters can be brought in or fans if too hot, but one thing to remember is that tents require permits by the city or county. Working with a professional event planner with a solid tent supplier is key. They will make sure all permits are applied for, electrical is set up correctly, fire extinguishers provided, and the tent is secured properly based on requirements.

Make Waiting Worth It

Third, activities and line management – No one likes to wait in line. Doesn’t matter if it’s for the best burger in town or the fastest roller coaster in the world. People will do it, but they’re not happy about it. To keep your guests from leaving and staying in line, give them some entertainment such as music, games with prizes, artists, etc. You’re also providing them a place to hang out after they exit the shop, too. They will let those still in line hear how great the product/food is. Another thing is to make sure to manage the line. Keeping it moving and informing approaching guests where the line starts will help eliminate confusion and lessen frustration by those already in line.

Give the People a Sneak Peak

Fourth, pass out samples – If you’ve got a food product or a smaller version of what you’re selling, hand out samples of what people will get inside your store. This will compel them to stay in line for what they really want by peaking their interest.

Don’t Forget Ribbon Cutting

Fifth, ribbon cutting and local public representation – Get the local chamber involved and hold an official ribbon cutting ceremony before letting the public in. If local pubic representatives that support commerce can also be included, the more the merrier. It’s a fabulous photo and PR opportunity. Plus, the local chamber helps spread the word about the opening as well among their members and the community.

Our client’s VIP Opening Night went off great! It was freezing outside but by utilizing the above activities and protections for the guests, nearly 400 people waited in the cold for shaved ice of all things in the dead of winter!