I found the same thing at the Spirit in the old EXPO in San Jose CA. Many extra wide aisles of pre-packaged costumes and the nicest fitting rooms I've ever seen in a Halloween store, but only five or six full sized props and nothing new.
last year our spirit halloween was absolutly amazing. it was in an old ashley furniture store and it was big, they had like 4 different professionally set up displays, and a ton of props. Normally there is like a building in the store made out of carboard with a facade which house the large props. The store i went to yesterday is in an old linens and things, which didnt take up a quarter of the store. they had a fake forrest set up and half the props on display were broken, they didnt work.
the large props in the fake building were NON existant. only the executioner. in the other "rooms" there was a broken pumpkin and a folding chair, lol.
I asked the one associate if they have any of the larger props like michael and jason, or a stirring witch, and he says "no, but we have costumes".... grrr...
this store just opened the day before, so im hoping that they just didnt get a shipments in or something, because this spirit is very disappointing. the cashier did say they should have a shipment of michael next week, so thats prmoising. I will go back again maybe some time in October. Last year i went to spirit probably 3 times a week.
That's my experience too. Went to a mall and it was the little stuff. Went to one outside the mall in an old Linens and Things and it had everything and still adding. Next week I will have 3 in comfortable driving distance. Woot!
I believe the Spirit kids call that "corporate" versus "consignment" or something thereabouts. It's like the chain fast food joints; some are owned by the corporation outright and may receive more robust product offerings and corporate support, while the others are locally owned franchises and operate a bit differently. The Spirit I visited last week had a pretty full loadout, and the operator was excited about it because he had gotten more stuff and it was all brand new. This enthusiasm for receiving what I would have thought any store would have gotten leads me to believe that the franchise store owners are used to getting a pretty weak load of goods. The Halloween Express I visited looked like hell on opening day. I'm going to check our other versions of both stores and see what they are like.
A further note about enthusiasm: the Spirit operator was overtly excited about his store and merchandise. We walked in and he took us on a tour of their prop diorama setups and new products. I don't remember the last time I was in a store and somebody actually understood what they sold and was happy to show it off. I plan on returning.
I have seen what you mean too. I am curious of wheter areas have to also do with what is stocked. For instance, if a store is in a more frugal neighborhood, I would think that they would stock less of the higher-end props than those stores in properous neighborhoods.(?)
And a plug for our sponsor SpiritHalloween.com... They not only have all of the Halloween costumes that the local stores have, they also have Halloween props that are only online.
(Hey...when we have a premium sponsor...gotta plug them)
I haven't visited a Spirit store yet, but from my experience it should get better.
I worked for Spirit a couple of years ago. I was one of the managers and I guess I did a good job for them since they moved me from the slow store I started at to the BUSY store about half way through the season. I noticed that when the store first opened that it was pretty basic stuff. Costumes, masks, pitchforks etc etc. As the season moved along the props and such got better and better. (especially at the busier store).
Oh, I worked for a Franchise store(s).
The season is still early, be patient! (I hope...)
A couple years ago, I was in talks with the Spencer real estate people helping them identify locations in our city.
Sparing the details, they made it clear that "poor" people spend a much higher amount per visit than "rich" people. Thus, they do better locating in low rent areas than you'd think. They admit that shoplifting is a problem, but it's more than compensated by the higher average transaction.
My guess is there is probably some magic income number where you stop going all out for Halloween. ;-) I guess I'll never know!
Bringing good props in later in the season makes no sense at all. I went to my Spirit Store, nothing but costumes....I have no intention of going back. Bring in some good stuff early so I want to come back.
Again, my Spirit store hasn't opened yet but I'm sort of agreeing with the demographics idea. If they don't sell a lot of props maybe they don't get much in anymore because they don't want people to snatch them up cheap after Halloween? Just a thought.
I worked for Spirit for 2 years as a manager. When a truck would come in, we never had any idea of what was on the truck until we started unloading it. It was a franchise store. What bothered me was that when setting up the store, the first things that come to you are what you packed up the previous year. That explains why sometimes you see really old merchandise in the stores. Your shipments are based on what you sell. If the store isn't successfully selling the higher end products, they don't get any of them in future shipments.
The last few years I have stayed out of the Spirit stores and have had as much luck finding things in other large retails stores.
We are finally getting one in our area....I've been making the trip every weekend to find it not open yet....This is a rare time for me this year to actually have extra money too...This past Friday they finally had the sign up and the paper off the windows.....I was excited until I looked in the window to find lot's of boxes on shelves not unpacked yet and those cardboard trees grouped together with nothing else around....AARRGGH!....So, I did what I've done for the last 3-4 weeks and went down the road about a quarter mile to PC and spent my overtime money on Halloween there about $250-$400/week....I'm sure Party City is glad Spirit isn't open yet because they are getting most of my money....Each weekend I make the trip and Spirit isn't open for business, they are losing at least $200 in sales from me....ZR
I seen a special on the news about spirit stores.they are the biggest retailer in halloween props,they do 75% of their business the last 10 days of the month(october)and they like to be fully stocked by that time.so mabey it will get better.i was disapointed that the location i been going to,the last 3 years did not open.i did find it in another town and it was very nice.still lacking in a ton of props.they had the haunted trees theme up.