Time to Plan Your Annual GRAND OPENING!

Tom Egelhoff  |   Wednesday Jun. 1st, 2016

Yes, you heard me right, “Annual Grand Opening.” Every retail business should have a grand opening once a year.

Here are the two biggest reasons for an Annual Grand Opening

New Locals
A sizeable amount of Bozeman Magazine readers are not Bozeman natives. They might not even be Montana natives. But they are local locals. Many moved here like I did back in 1993.

Were there retailers here in 1993? You bet. Do you think they all might have wanted me for a customer? I would hope so.
Unfortunately they didn’t come looking for me I had to go looking for them. I was a new local who needed everything new locals need. I needed a shoe store, grocery store, barber, bank, mechanic, tire store, insurance agent, realtor, baker, florist, optometrist, car dealer, dentist, doctor, tax accountant and the list goes on and on.

Driving up and down Main Street, or any street for that matter, I think I would have noticed a grand opening. And I am sure I would notice a sign that said “14th Annual Grand Opening.” Curiosity alone would have prompted me to stop in to see why a yearly grand opening was happening.

Temporary Locals
Temporary locals, A.K.A. tourists, also have needs while they’re in town. They’re looking everywhere for everything. This is your chance to stand out to both local locals and temporary locals alike.

Everything is new to tourists as soon as they cross the city limits. What’s more inviting than someplace new where they can rub elbows with the local locals?

Risk vs. Reward
What are the risks of having a yearly grand opening? There are some. Unless the yearly grand opening has value it’s going to be old hat in a couple of years. Not only should it be an annual event but it should also be the kind of event that people get excited about. That they ask about before it happens.

It should be a yearly tradition that shoppers look forward to.

The downside is bringing in people who are there just for the sale items or free cookies and freebies who may not darken your door again until next year.

The other danger is store traffic and average sale. If you operate on a 30 percent margin and have a 20 percent off sale you’re going to have to sell twice as much merchandise to make the same amount of money had you not even had a sale. So floor traffic is critical for any grand opening, annual or not, to work.

Some Final Thoughts
Make your grand opening a big deal. Think family. The more people you have looking the more they will buy. Create an image of excitement. Have demonstrations if possible, have something for the kids if possible.
Use the same tactics that retailers use during Christmas. Set times of the day when certain items are on sale. Create package deals to increase margin.

Train employees before hand on directing customers, upsell suggestions, and store layout.

Everything should be designed to make shopping easy and profitable to both the store owner as well as the customer. If you can do all that then your annual grand opening will be an annual success.

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