Naperville Business Lawyer Discusses the Success of Spooky Seasonal Pop-Up Stores

Halloween, Naperville business law attorneyWe have officially made it to October. For many people, the month of October is seen as the transition from summer to autumn, complete with falling leaves, campfires, and pumpkin spice lattes. For others, however, the arrival of October means just one thing: Halloween is right around the corner. If you are already getting excited in anticipation of scary celebrations, you are not alone. In fact, Americans spent almost $9 billion on Halloween purchases last year. While some of the spending went toward candy and treats, nearly $6 billion was spent on decorations and costumes.

While there has been an overall shift in retail spending toward online shopping, Halloween shoppers seem to do much of their spending in brick-and-mortar stores. In recent years, one retailer has made a name for itself within the Halloween industry by following a unique business model. As a business law attorney, I have watched with great interest as Spirit Halloween has become a household name throughout the country—at least for a few weeks each year.

“Spirited” Beginnings

In 1983, a California businessman named Joe Marver started his first Halloween shop when he set aside his stock of women’s clothing and filled the aisles of his store with masks, wigs, costumes, and makeup. The concept was popular with his customers, and a year later, Marver leased some space in a nearby shopping center to open what would become known as a “pop-up” shop. The name “Spirit Halloween” was derived from the clothing store, which Marver had called Spirit Women’s Discount Apparel.

Over the next decade and a half, Marver’s operation grew to about 60 pop-ups, and he began receiving offers from larger retailers to buy the seasonal chain. In 1999, Marver agreed to an acquisition deal with Spencer Gifts. Today, the chain boasts more than 1,200 locations during the Halloween season.

Availability of Space

Ironically, the online shopping boom is one of the reasons behind Spirit Halloween’s success. While Spirit Halloween does have an online store, the company relies heavily on customers visiting its physical locations. If you have ever been to a Spirit Halloween store, however, it was most likely in a space that used to be another retail outlet. As big-box stores close and leave their buildings vacant, opportunities are available for pop-ups such as Spirit Halloween.

Halloween Shopping Is Unique

Unlike other types of shopping, purchases made for Halloween—costumes, at least—are tough to make online. It is nearly impossible to know how a costume will fit or how durable it will be when buying over the internet. In addition, very few people do their Halloween costume shopping with enough time to manage an online return or exchange in the event of a problem. Pop-ups such as Spirit Halloween address both of these concerns by allowing shoppers to try on costumes before buying them. They are also well-stocked right up until Halloween, which allows them to help even those who waited until the last minute to get a costume.

Despite the challenges that other retailers are facing, the success of Spirit Halloween shows no signs of slowing. This year, the chain is operating approximately 30 locations in and around the greater Chicago area.

Speak With a DuPage County Business Lawyer

If you have an idea for a seasonal or pop-up business, a knowledgeable Naperville business law attorney can help you turn that idea into a manageable business plan. Call 630-756-1160 to schedule a confidential consultation at the Gierach Law Firm today. With our experience and background, we are equipped to assist you in reaching your business goals.


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