Halloween shops scare up business
Pop-up costume retailers find fewer available vacant spaces this year.
Lara Kay, left, and Gina Dermamjian, right, both 23 and from Burbank, look for Halloween costumes at Halloween Superstore on Brand Boulevard in Glendale on Tuesday. (Raul Roa / Staff Photographer / October 23, 2012)
As the local real estate market begins to improve, there are simply fewer places for the itinerant businesses to land.
Glendale-based Halloween Time used to have stores on Honolulu Avenue in Montrose, at Pacific Avenue and Glenoaks Boulevard in Glendale and in the former Mervyn's department store downtown, said Patrick Abed, manager of the store on North Brand Boulevard.
But all three sites were leased this year.
The most anticipated new tenant is Bloomingdale's. The company is renovating the old Mervyn's space on Brand Boulevard and Broadway in preparation of a fall 2013 opening.
Crystal Baxter, manager of marketing and licensing for Spirit Halloween stores, said the chain, which has locations throughout the United States and Canada, faced a bit more of a challenge finding vacant spaces this season.
“More year-long leasers have been taking the spots that we normally would have been in,” she said.
Relocation of pop-up stores can sometimes have a negative impact on existing Halloween retailers, including RIP Halloween on San Fernando Road in Burbank, which operates as a bookstore the rest of the year.
Asst. Manager Kyle Hardesty said he's noticed business is down this year. He said one reason may be the opening of a Spirit store across the street. A Spirit store has been located on San Fernando Road in the past, but on the other side of Burbank Town Center.
“It was kind of like if you're on that side or this side [of the mall], you'll find a Halloween store,” he said.
He added that some customers enter his store thinking it's part of Spirit.
“A lot of people come here and they bring coupons with Spirit on [them] and it's like, ‘That's not us,'” Hardesty said.
Popular costumes this year include Spider-Man, Batman and Wonder Woman, say store workers.
“It's a superhero year,” Abed said, adding that a spate of superhero movies including “The Avengers,” probably piqued the interest of many revelers.
Hardesty said a two-piece Cleopatra costume flew off his shelves this year, as well as red wigs popularized by Disney character Ariel from the movie, “The Little Mermaid.”
“Everyone wants a red wig,” he said. “No one is asking for the costume, just the wig.”
Though the costumes will soon return to their coffins, at least one local store will enjoy an afterlife. The Halloween Time store on Brand will take on a Christmas theme after Oct. 31, and may operate as a party store the rest of the year.