11 Ideas for Turning Your New Store Opening Into an Event

new store marketing

With a little planning, you can turn your new store opening into a “can’t miss” affair, that will drive customers to your grand opening.

For months you’ve made a significant investment of time and money to get your store ready for its first “close-up.”  From a marketing standpoint, your work is just beginning.

You have to do everything you can to ensure you build a sizable, loyal customer base for your new store during the first 15 to 30 days.  Your grand opening plan can involve any number of advertising and promotional strategies.  One idea is to focus on making your next store opening more than just a fleeting moment in time.  Turn it into a memorable event!

Here are some ideas to get you thinking:

1. Put together an external “sign” package that lets passersby know something is happening.  Consider promotional items like:  billboards, inflatables, balloons, searchlights, pennants, directional sandwich boards at your parking lot entrance, etc.

2. Host an actual ribbon cutting on the day your store opens.  Be sure to invite local VIP’s (e.g., city and county officials, other prominent business leaders).

3. Organize a street party or neighborhood festival as part of your festivities.  You can hire a DJ or, if you have enough budget, bring in a turnkey vendor to handle the entire affair.

4. Sponsor radio remote broadcasts to help create additional foot traffic.  If your brand has a family appeal, be sure to see if there’s a Radio Disney affiliate in your market and learn about their remote model.

5. Set up a “like live” television remote broadcast or on-location weather report with a local station.  If you’ve never seen one in your market, ask your local rep to investigate stations in other markets that do them – and do them well.

6. Offer face painting for kids.  Parents love this activity because it may be one of the few times they can get their child to sit still in public for more than 30 seconds.

7. Hire a photographer to chronicle your opening.  Just be sure to get releases signed if you want to use the photos for future marketing purposes.

8. Invite (or hire) local celebrities or athletes to appear at your grand opening.  Autograph sessions can be a huge attraction and gives the public added incentives to visit your store.

9. Offer free food to your customers.  You can either cater the festivities or work with a vendor for added exposure for their product.  If food is already an inherent part of your brand, think about sampling!

10. Offer door prizes to the first set (e.g., 50, 100, 250) of customers through your door on opening day.  You can offer t-shirts, bounce-back coupons, loyalty cards and more.

11. Establish a sweepstakes or giveaway that can help drive traffic.  The bigger the better.  Work with a local dealer to give away a boat or car.  Or, a free vacation package can also create a lot of buzz around your opening.

These are just some ideas to help get your brainstorming started.  Your final list needs to be tailored to you – your type of business, your trade area and your brand personality.

Regardless of the kinds of activities you choose to include in your event, remember to find ways to promote each and every one of them.  A grand opening is definitely one of those times when the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.  But, each of those parts has the marketing potential to bring more customers to your store.

What are you waiting for?  It’s never too early to start planning your next event!

photo credit: pierofix via photopin cc

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20 Must-Have Public Relations Tips

Create an effective public relations plan to launch your next new store!

This guide provides advice on the three basic components of a public relations plan:

  • Writing a great press release
  • Selling your “story” to the media
  • Tracking your media coverage
Scott Kuhn

About Scott Kuhn

Scott is CEO of Sheehy, a regional advertising, marketing and media agency. He has been helping companies plan and execute store grand openings and remodels for more than 20 years.


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