Convenience retailers have a connection like no other with their local communities and Halloween was the perfect opportunity to celebrate and strengthen that special bond.
Solo Convenience in Glasgow had locals hooked with a huge pirate ship, which appeared outside the store for the annual Baillieston Community Spirit Walk. Built by store owner Martin Lightfoot from crates and the inner tube from a roll of carpet, the ship has been a focal point for customers over the past four days.
The Lightfoot family all dressed as Peter Pan characters, with Martin donning a feathered cap as the boy who never grew up and his wife and store co-owner, Natalie, sporting full pirate regalia, including a fetching moustache, as the dreaded Captain Hook (see above and main pic).
The couple gave out goodies to around 400 local kids as part of the celebration. “We got 200 toffee apples [to give out to kids], and they all went very quickly and there were other sweets and stuff that we handed out,” Martin told Convenience Store. “It’s just a good way of just getting the community staying local.
“We had one customer that donated a £50 prize … so we would just get people to take photos of themselves with us all dressed up and then they get entered into a draw to win the money.”
The event didn’t immediately result in a sales increase, but there are undoubtedly longer term gains. “It might be a little bit quieter in store for those few hours because we’ve got everybody walking up and down the street because they’re not all coming in and buying stuff at that point. But obviously it’s not about that. It’s just about the whole community coming together and staying local,” explained Martin. “You’ve got a give back to the people that come in and show your appreciation, but it’s just nice to do with all the kids and just to get involved.”
Amrit Singh of H & Jodie’s Nisa in Walsall embarked on what he called “proper community engagement” this season too. The freakishly large spider which usually adorns the roof of the store during Halloween crawled its way down to the front of the store, along with an equally creepy talking scarecrow, so that locals who were brave enough could grab a photo opportunity.
Meanwhile, over in Llanelli, Wales, community-centred Trudy Davies printed out pumpkin colouring sheets, which she branded up with Woosnam & Davies News, and encouraged kids to get creative in return for a treat and the chance to get their artwork displayed in store. “They’re all absolutely amazing pictures, so I didn’t want to have to judge them, so I just said I’ll put them on display and the children will have a lollipop or a bar of chocolate.”
Well done all you fabulous children of Llanidloes 🎃🎃— Woosnam & Davies News (@trudydavies1964) October 27, 2023
Don’t we just #LoveLlani
Thank you for brightening up our darker Autumn nights 🍂 🎃 #pumpkins #ArtWork #Llanidloes #LocalShop #CommunityMatters pic.twitter.com/0bLFUhYrU7
Although she organised the initiative purely for the enjoyment of locals, it still generated incremental sales.
“It’s amazing how many grandparents and big sisters get dragged down to see the kids pictures displayed in our window,” she said. “Their parents, or whoever was with the children, were very often buying things from the store because if they needed something that day and they were coming in here, they’d buy them from here … rather than the nearest shop.”
However, the impact on the local area was by far the biggest reward. “Success is not always monetary,” she added. “It definitely helps - don’t get me wrong, you’ve got to make a living - but it’s about the actual feel good of it all - it’s brightened up the whole town.”
Check out all the images below to see how other stores embraced Spooky Season:
Nisa Local Leven in Fife, Scotland, had its very own make up artist, Kara, turning customers into vampires and black cats.
Jimmy’s Store in Northampton welcomed a wealth of trick or treaters in fancy dress.
Staff at Welcome Ashurst in Southampton became blood-spattered zombies for the occasion.
Costcutter Barassie in South Ayrshire, Scotland, was overrun with ghosts, wizards and even Oompa Loompahs as local kids flocked to the store for Halloween treats.
Nisa Local Chesham in Buckinghamshire decked out the store in spooky skeletons and orange baubles, offering up a fantastic prize hamper for the winner of its pumpkin competition.
There were plenty of ghostly goings on at The Windmill Select & Save in Birmingham with skeletons and devils taking over the shopfloor.
A colouring competition at Nisa Local Burton Upon Trent in Staffordshire saw two youngsters win Halloween buckets packed to the brim with candy.
Mulkerns Eurospar in Newry went all-out on in-store theatre with ghostly ghouls hanging from the ceiling and a Autumnal pumpkin display.
@mulkernseurospar From witches to Wicked Wine, dive into our Spooktacular Selection before Storm Ciaran brews! 🎃🍷🍏 #Halloween #Halloween2023 #HalloweenHaul #TrickOrTreat #Newry #NewrySupermarket #StormCiaran ♬ Halloween ・ cute horror song - PeriTune
Themed cakes caused a stir at Broadway Convenience in Edinburgh where plenty of customers wanted their mummies!