Thursday, October 15, 2009

Get Your Commercial Retail Space ready for the Holidays

Holiday decorating in the 21st Century can be a tricky task. You want to stay seasonal and festive, but you don’t want to offend or seem biased to any cultural or religious groups. We have some tips and ideas for you, but remember to filter them through the specific needs of your business, your neighborhood, and the wants of your customers.

A) Music
We are kind of biased, our favorite holiday tunes are most definitely The Charlie Brown Christmas Special soundtrack. But, that might not work for you and your business. If you are going to play holiday music in your facility, you have two options: keeping it holiday neutral (no Christmas mentions, etc.) or letting it run the gamut of holidays. We prefer the later. You can find on iTunes, or through other online services, a plethora of songs about Kwanzaa, Christmas, and Hanukkah. Add in some non-secular songs, some modern interpretations, a little bit of this and that, and you can create a play list that will not offend anyone, but delight everyone. Just do us one favor, don’t start playing it till after Thanksgiving! PLEASE!

B) Lights! Lights! Lights!
Lights always help to create a mood! AND they are "friendly" to all backgrounds and affiliations - especially the classic white light. A simple string of lights (and it is totally your choice whether to go with a small white classy strand or the more gauche big colored bulbs) can transform your simple store into a winter wonderland! If possible, unveil some special candles or tea lights (fire codes permitting). Remember, orange and red lights for the spooky and scary Halloween season can be slightly modified to give off a friendly glow near Thanksgiving. Respond to your customers needs, make sure to keep your business properly lit, but have some fun! Whatever you do, try to keep things appropriate for your clientele.

C) Decorations
Almost as tricky as the music you will play, any decorations you display have to be carefully thought out. Again, think of your business and customers. Go with simple, all inclusive colors, ornaments, or signage. If you think witches, ghosts and goblins might be too much for your place, go with fall colors, some autumnal colors, leaves, branches, hay bails and other signs of the harvest. In December, anything with silver and gold will probably please everyone, and snow elements and winter themes like snowmen always are popular. On the flipside, you can embrace all cultures and give them display. It can be a hardy task, unless you have the room and creative talent to showcase all of the holiday season’s many special dates. Most of all, remember the holidays are a time of peace, thanks-giving, generosity and kindness. This is what should be reflected.

D) Specials and Promotions
If you are a restaurant, consider featuring new seasonal menu items that highlight the season. If you’re a retail store, bring in some special merchandise, run a few holiday promotions, and make sure your inventory reflects the mood of your shoppers. Dentist can run post-Halloween specials for kid’s teeth, and gyms can suggest increased work-outs after gobbling down a lot of food over the holidays. Make your advertisements and marketing efforts reflect the season – and the general public will respond. You don’t have to make huge changes to your routine, but adding Pumpkin Pie or selling Holiday Cards certainly takes you from “Bah Humbug” to “Happy Holidays!”

Now all decorating advice is subjective. While the common trend a few years ago was to remain rigidly politically correct, society has loosened up a bit and people seem to welcome the celebration of our holidays. Dressing on Halloween doesn’t mean you’re a Satanist, having a stuffed turkey cut-out by your register doesn’t mean you are anti-Native American, (or anti-vegetarian) and a Christmas tree sometimes is just a beautiful tree--and a symbol of sustained life. As long as you and your staff are friendly, welcoming, and polite – your decorations will only accent your business.

Best of luck and have a wonderful holiday season!

Property Manager
Kuester Companies

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