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Thread: Merchandising

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  1. Default Merchandising 
    #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    270
    We are considering having a gift shop and/or haunted cafe/snack bar this year. How successful have you been been with either of these merchandising efforts? What types of items have you found sell well in your gift shop? How do t-shirts do? Collectibles? Posters, flags, etc? And what kind of food do you sell? What is popular? On the same note, what kinds of things have you tried to sell that have not worked?

    Any and all advice on this subject greatly appreciated!

    Dave
     

  2. Default  
    #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Ravens Grin Inn, 411 carroll st.mount carroll ill.
    Posts
    12,783
    I can't justify hiring a person to run a gift shop here, even on my busiest nights not really many people want to fork out more money after investing the 2 to 3 hours to drive here, ex cetra.
    Previously on this site other haunt owners have commented about this subject of having a food stand and/or gift shop and many expressed the opinion that it may not be worth the investment and time spent away from your main income making enterprise, your haunt, but in this line of entertainment what works for one , may not work in another setting or part of the country........
     

  3. Default  
    #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    270
    I know of several haunts that have done fairly well in food sales, but in both cases they brought in outside vendors/food carts. I would still like to hear more of other's experiences in this area.

    As far as gift shops, I have seen a few haunts that make an attempt at this type of merchandising, but I have honestly rarely seen it done well. It has, for the most part, seemed like a half hearted attempt or a throw away. I have been told that Castle Blood does very well with their gift shop, though I have not been there in person, so I could not say why they do so well or what types of things that they sell.

    Anyway, I am looking forward to what others have to say on the subject. Thanks Jim.

    Dave
     

  4. Default  
    #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Tyler, Texas, United States
    Posts
    2,614
    For the most part unless one of your offerings is something you do all year round the profit is slim. It requires routine performance to get good wholesale prices on things and you are limited in a seasonal venture to being able to only charge perhaps double the cost. So it really does come down to paying for the booth, the merchandise and how much it costs to man such a thing. Plus, there is more to running a succefull side business than just standing there feilding requests for consumerism.

    It requires subtle pushing of items to turn a 50 cent sale into another $1.0purchased while sitting on a thousand dollars worth of stuff. Generally $500 in T-shirts will be a several year supply even at a 25,000 customer attraction. It might be such a thing as the T-shirts lose money but if anyone ever gets in their closet you have another customer.

    $500 in glow sticks might sell in one night but the mark up is slim. Food is an entirely different affair as it might require health inspection compliance for equipment and processes. Small vendors that do face painting, sell masks, various toys tend to bail after one year and even during the season as other venues are so much more predictable.

    Most attractions that do well with gift shops have the haunt exit dump right into the gift shop and some one telling them to look around and pick something out. Oh, it isn't part of the tour? It costs how much? Kind of a hard sell situation.

    The only one I know of that has their own restaurant sees 60,000 and has a liquor liscence on a 56 acre park. At this same place all the gift stores are outside vendors in permanent looking facilities.

    Everyone else from 800 to 30,000 customers has vendors paying $40 to $100 per spot per weekend or has things like the local PTA selling hot dogs and hot chocolate and cokes as a fund raiser for their own purposes.

    The hearsay is that it brings in at best 1% of the total gross when attatched to a haunt and the big capital required to do these thing right would better be put into haunt detailing. The source someone over 1 million is ticket sales.

    Certainly to some extent these activities are expected behavior at an event but I would not anticipate a profit.

    In fact, Having all of these things even at a loss is part of the experience that bring fond memories and return customers from year to year. Some people buy something at a place just to use the bathroom.

    It generally takes a customer base of 2,000 people per day to meet expenses. If only 1 in 10 actually patronize that is not enough. Or so I have been told by the big boys. So you can't have competing vendors either.

    I would like to hear more about this too.


    Another fabulous post from the U.S.Department of Wild Imaginings, now in spectaclar stereo, sponsored by the Adhesives and Sealants Council, suggesting ways to stick things together since the 1800s. Not fabulous in a gay way. Your results may vary. Illinois residents add 8% sales tax. These posts have been made by professional post makers, do not try this type of posting on your own without extensive training, lovely assistants and a trusty clown horn.
     

  5. Default  
    #5
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    1,721
    No first hand experiance on this one.

    I DO know something that failed miserably! The first year the "Haunted Carnival" was in business, they tried to make a 'fair way' style waiting area with carnival games. That was just DREADFUL! For the most part, they didn't want to invest in 'on the site' prizes, so some of the games were to "Win a Gift certificate." :roll: Others were just to expenive to play and the prizes were not haunt related. It just didn't work.
    ------------------------
    The child is grown, the dream is gone.
    I have become comfortably numb.
     

  6. Default  
    #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Tennessee *Hellbilly Hills*
    Posts
    526
    If you market it right - you can make money!
    @ Ruby Falls we have a Green Screen and photographer. We have 3 to 4 backgrounds that can be selected and bought -
    So they take the pic as they enter to pay and we corral them into the pay area as they exit to pick up the pictures and they have to walk through the T-s etc.

    There was quite a bit of money made on pictures and Merchandise this season, since we based it off the "Theme Park" mentality. Drop them off in the gift shop corral.

    We have done this in Memphis also and it works or doing combination buys - T and Ticket for a $5 discount when bought together. As for other items, we have sold glow necklaces as "Safety Device" the monsters won't scare the glow folk... yeah right and people actually buy them...

    The picture idea has by far been the best I have seen. And of course food always does well if you have the access to do that.
    :wink:

    I have considered building a haunt in within my Spirit Halloween Store and dumping folk into the store, but I believe it would be more hassle than value. But I may try it at some point, as of now - I keep them separate!
     

  7. Default  
    #7
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    1,721
    KEN! You have a gift shop at the end of Dream Reapers. How does it normally do? I know WE have bought several things from you... Including the "It's Alive" baby puppet. I can't tell you how much FUN the boys had driving home playing with that thing in the window "attacking" other drivers.
    ------------------------
    The child is grown, the dream is gone.
    I have become comfortably numb.
     

  8. Default  
    #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    1,070
    I am in the process of putting together
    a special package for haunts that use
    Virgil music called "The Sounds Of....".

    CD's will be packaged with your haunt's
    artwork on the cover and a special wholesale
    price with orders as small as 10 CDs.

    I'll have more on this special package deal
    coming up.

    Hopefully this will help you folks promote your
    haunt by giving folks something to remember you
    by!!!
    Virgil: Master Of The Ethermuse
     

  9. Default Well 
    #9
    Well we bought a trailer this year to be used as a concession stand.
    Flipout side with power to it for the pizza warmers and stuff.

    It paid for itself in 2 weekends.

    The gift store thing......we have done it for 6 years now.
    It all depends what you put in there to sell.

    We always sell Bump in the Night...last year someone had a brain cramp and forgot to order the stuff....it always sells

    Tshirts...we sell them too....
    YTC skeleton stuff
    Candy
    Pop
    Pizza
    Handwarmers
    Hoodies
    The pics from Morbid

    The key is not to gouge the customer....yes it is tempting to put a SPIRIT price on it...Sorry Todd....BUT you have 2-3 weeks to unload the product,
    or back to storage it goes.

    Small stuff if you have a kiddies place........little light up stuff
     

  10. Default  
    #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    1,738
    Quote Originally Posted by virgil
    I am in the process of putting together
    a special package for haunts that use
    Virgil music called "The Sounds Of....".

    CD's will be packaged with your haunt's
    artwork on the cover and a special wholesale
    price with orders as small as 10 CDs.

    I'll have more on this special package deal
    coming up.

    Hopefully this will help you folks promote your
    haunt by giving folks something to remember you
    by!!!
    That's SWEEET, Virgil! And the fact that you have a small order package as well is keeping beginning haunts like mine in mind. Thank you!
    We want in.
     

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