By Sarah Trefethen
Halloween is right around the corner, and retailers are gearing up for the associated spike in demand for wax teeth, curly-haired clown wigs, plastic pitch forks, pointed black hats and little frilly aprons.
The NYC-based fashion chain Ricky’s and the national retailer Spirit Halloween are both planning to roll out seasonal pop-up stores across the city in the coming months.
Lines of shoppers purchasing wigs and glittery makeup sometimes stretch out the doors of Ricky’s locations in October, according to Alexander Hill of Winick Realty, who is representing Ricky’s this year.
“It always showcases the retail space in a positive light, because it does show that there’s business to be done there,” Hill said.
Ricky’s is planning at least 20 pop-ups in the NYC area this year, Hill said, and a handful of sites have already been locked down, including storefronts in the Upper East Side on 125th Street, on Fulton Street in Brooklyn, Staten Island, Chelsea, on 14th Street in the Union Square area, and one site in midtown.
Ricky’s pop-ups will augment the company’s 28 permanent stores in New York and Florida.
Spirit Halloween, a subsidiary of Spencer Gifts, only opens storefronts for the holiday season. This year in the New York City area, the company is planning between 15 and 20 small stores under 3,000 s/f and four to six stores above 5,000 s/f, according to Lisa Barr, senior director of marketing for the company. Barr declined to name the broker or brokers working with Spirit Halloween.
Ricky’s is looking for locations with a minimum of 2,000 s/f of usable selling space as well as a basement, Hill said. The company pays the full rent for the two-month leases upfront, and leaves the space broom clean in early November. In some locations where the company is unsure of the market, they will make a profit-sharing arrangement with a landlord.
Vanilla box spaces previously occupied by fashion retailers are ideal, Hill said, and bathrooms and HVAC are essential. This year, the company is taking a couple of spaces that were previously Duane Reade pharmacies.
Sometimes all a landlord needs is a short-term tenant.
“A lot of times in a prime location, a landlord will have a deal in place” that’s under a lot of pressure, Hill said. “When Ricky’s come along, it lets them take a little breather.” In other cases, such as a space that is destined to be leased to a bank, a temporary or pop-up store can cover rent while the long-term tenant is going through its approval process.
Occasionally, one of Ricky’s pop-up stores will turn into a permanent location for the expanding company, which sells makeup and health and beauty products as well as costume gear year-round.
“If a store does well, it’s a no brainer that we’re going to want it for a permanent store,” Hill said.