The day your retail business opens will be a very exciting, much anticipated day for you, your family and your employees. That day represents months (maybe years) of planning, saving and hard work. You want to make it special and you definitely want open your retail business with a splash! Here’s how to plan a grand opening for your retail business that is affordable and memorable:
- Give yourself enough time to properly plan and promote the event – don’t leave it to the last minute.
- If you don’t have event experience, you may want to consider hiring an event planner to coordinate activities. An event planner will cost you so money up front but his or her expertise and contacts should save you steps and money in the long run
- If you have decided to hire a PR firm, check with them – they may be very helpful in planning the event and can definitely assist with getting some local media coverage and city participation
- Determine a tone and theme for the opening – should it be festive and filled with music like a party or more subdued and elegant like an art show opening? Try to match the tone of the opening to the style and concept of your retail business
- Consider testing the main event with a ‘soft opening’. A soft opening is like a dry run without the pressure of the general public and the presence of the media. Invite friends and family and test traffic flaw both inside and out of the store, figure out how and where to serve refreshments and how the lighting and any technology features may function. A soft opening is like a dress rehearsal.
- Try to keep the event contained indoors, so that you aren’t cramped for space if the weather doesn’t cooperate
- Check with the city to make sure that your refreshments (including alcohol) don’t violate any ordinances
- Notify the city of with the time, date and number of people invited to make sure there aren’t any security or occupancy issues
- Create signage for the event
- Advertise locally and online
- Contact local reporters
- Order any decorations or flowers in advance
- Stick with a specific time frame – for example from 7:00 to 9:00 PM and limit speeches and presentations
- Consider grand opening giveaways that will help promote the event and make the evening memorable
- Check out options with local radio stations to see if they have reasonable rates for broadcasting live from the event
You have many options to create a special occasion that you and you customers will always remember, Try to hand off as many activities on the day of the opening as possible, after all, you want to enjoy your success and meet as many customers as you possibly can!