Grand openings are your welcome mat to the community and local businesses.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a franchise or a small business, a successful grand opening can increase the bottom line the first year. Successful retailers will go all-out to make their presents known in the community. They try to involve all aspects of government, newspapers, TV, radio stations, and community groups into the grand opening. These companies have learned that the community along with local business can impact the success of a business.
My personal experiences working and planning a grand opening.
As a promotional entertainer I have worked for major retailers like Target, Ace Hardware, A.J. Wright, Cold Stone Creamery, and Barns & Noble to smaller companies like Parcels+, Lindy’s Chili & Gerties Ice Cream, and Panda Express. They all had one thing in common – they worked very hard to get the public involved in their grand opening.
Here are 18 grand opening tips and ideas for planning for your grand opening that I have seen or heard about over my 24+ years of entertaining.
Tips, Ideas, and Insight for Planning a Grand Opening
- Create a budget for the grand opening. Creating a budget that will allow you to have a successful grand opening, but is separate for the monthly advertising budget.
- Select a grand opening date immediately. By selecting a date you can now properly prepare, plan, and schedule special guest for the grand opening in advance. You can inform customers, vendors, and staff months earlier and create a buzz about the “big grand opening event”.
- Check local government regulation regarding advertising signs, inflatable, or marquee that you use to advertise your grand openings. Some communities have regulations and permits maybe required to have a large purple inflatable gorilla, advertising a grand opening in parkway.
- Make it a business-to-business grand opening. Send out special coupons to local businesses – networking with business and create business accounts. Allow owners to enter the night before the grand opening to preview the store.
- Create customer loyalty from the beginning. Offer special incentives for returning customers who shopped prior to the grand opening. If a customer brings in a receipt dated prior to the grand opening date, give the customer a special prize or discount for being a loyal customer.
- Hire a promotional entertainer. Promotional entertainment is about gathering crowds, getting a message heard, registering people, and for that you need a professional entertainer.
- Have maximum staff on hand. Make sure your sales staff is fully knowledgeable about location of products, store hours, and store layout.
- No waiting at registers. Plan for crowds to come and buy. Have all the registers open and have entertainment available to entertain the waiting customers. When people are happy they don’t mind waiting in line. Have a comedian, promotional entertainer, or band to entertain the customers waiting in line.
- Network with adjacent business. Because you already have the grand opening date scheduled you can work with local business to create flier swap weeks in advance. Local takeout restaurants can give away fliers with each order in exchange for giving out their fliers to your customers.
- Contact local government and the Mayors office and request they participate in the ribbon cutting ceremony. Politicians love to make public appearances for local business and you should invite as many as possible.
- Contact local newspapers and talk to the editor to inform them about the new business coming to the community. Highlight the benefits that your company will bring by either providing a needed service or jobs to the community.
- Encourage local religious leaders to attend the grand opening. Let them know that your business is there to help support them and their parish.
- Blessing the business and those who come. Invite local religious organizations to attend prior to the ribbon cutting ceremony to bless the business. Religious leaders can invite parish members to come and participate in the special event.
- Contact local animal rescue centers to see if they would like to participate in the grand opening. Provide them with a location to setup and display their charity information. Show the community that your business has a heart and cares for animals, the environment and charity organizations.
- Invite local high school marching band to perform at grand opening. A small donation to the school band program can help with goodwill for the community. Present a donation check at ribbon cutting ceremony so community leaders and newspapers can hear of your good deeds.
- Request the honor guard from the local VFW to present the United States Flag. Kick off the ribbon cutting ceremony with the national anthem and honor guard presenting the flag. Offer the VFW a special discount to them and their members for their service in the military and for their participation in the grand opening.
- Vendor sales presentations to education consumers about products. Vendors and manufactures have qualified sales staff that can assist in the grand opening to educate consumers about their products and how to best use the merchandise.
- Talk to manufactures and vendors and see if they would provide grand opening support with signs, banners, or sponsor food booths.
Keep in mind, the grand openings are “GRAND” and should be fun, entertaining, educational, community building makes it easier for your business to be accepted into the community.