7 Seasonal Events That Sparked Foot Traffic at Our Fireworks Store and Tent
We hosted several events at our Missouri year-round retail store and tent over the last year. Here’s what worked and what didn’t.
MAY 2023 by Spirit of ’76 Fireworks – Looking for unique ways to get more foot traffic at your fireworks tent, stand, or store? Whether your selling operation is seasonal or year-round, hosting events is a fantastic way to drum up buzz and bring in potential customers.
The Spirit of ‘76 team operates both a year-round retail store and a seasonal fireworks tent in mid-Missouri (located at Midway right off Interstate 70), primarily for research purposes to inform our wholesale customers on the best selling tactics for their own independent retail operations.
Over the past year, we experimented with several different events to see which would bring in the most customers and cash. Here’s what we found.
Pyro Movie Night (June 2022)
We hosted two big events during our 2022 Tent summer season, one of which we called our Pyro Movie Night on the first Saturday we were open (June 25th). We advertised the event on social media, shared press releases to local news organizations, and included it in our seasonal radio spots and direct mailers.
Premise: We offered a free screening of the Disney movie Encanto on an outdoor projector screen, with choreographed fireworks going off behind the screen at key musical parts, across the parking lot from our seasonal tent. We also partnered with a local kids’ football league to sell concessions (popcorn and drinks) to the audience. Prior to the movie screening, we showed a safety video, an advertisement for our year-round retail store across the street, and a video encouraging the audience to shop inside the tent.
Results: We counted over 1,400 people (including kids) in attendance and made over $12k in in-person sales that night. Many audience members voiced gratitude towards our company for hosting the free event, indicating they’d come back again next year. People posted about the event on their social media channels for days afterwards, and we earned several high reviews on Google. One consideration: because the sun didn’t set until nearly 9pm and the movie was an hour long, many families left before entering our tent to shop for fireworks.
Summer Kickoff (June 2022)
The second big event we hosted at our seasonal tent in 2022 was a Summer Kickoff, hosted on Wednesday June 19th before the weekend leading up to the 4th of July. Marketing efforts to promote this event included social media pushes, press releases to local news organizations, and mentions in our seasonal radio spots and direct mailers.
Premise: This was a free-to-attend summer party at our fireworks tent! We had six food trucks (including Dippin’ Dots, Hokulia Shaved Ice, Wrap It Up, Fresh Lemonade Co, and Ozark Biscuits) on-site, a dunk tank with fireworks and coupons as prizes, bounce houses, face painting, and special appearances from world champion Mizzou wrestler Keegan O’Toole as well as two local radio hosts Shags (97.7) and Scotty (Clear99). We rounded out the event with two product demos, a Daytime one in the early evening and a Nighttime one after sundown.
Results: We counted 425 people from the public in attendance and made $20k in sales that day alone. Using the dunk tank as a means to win fireworks was very popular, with people earning a $10 Off Today Only coupon when they missed, which earned us $1.8k in sales from 42 transactions with coupon usage.
Haunt Walk (October 2022)
Using inexpensive decorations from local party stores, we transformed the front section of our retail store into a mini haunted house! Our store manager operated the Haunt Walk throughout the month of October without extra staff. We advertised the Haunt Walk on social media and via email promotions to our subscribers.
Premise: Customers walked through darkened shelves that featured Halloween-themed items like smoke bombs, the SawWorks handheld fountain, and multi-shots like Zombie’s Revenge and Howling Wolf. Once victims – er, patrons – exited the Walk, they were prompted to spin a wheel for a chance to win a prize. We used our digital ‘Wheel of Boom’ (renamed the ‘Wheel of BOO!’ for this particular event) to collect the customers’ email address for a free spin. Prize items included novelty items and merchandise like drink koozies and t-shirts with our logo.
Results: We counted 123 customers for the month of October, historically a low-yield month. The store made just over $7.5k in sales (approx. $4.4k more than the previous year). Our decoration costs were under $800, and many of the decor can be reused for future Haunt Walks. While we did see some foot traffic, by no means did we exceed our goals. We learned from this effort that events with limited-time specials, rather than month-long offerings, are more likely to mobilize shoppers. With our next retail push in October 2023, we plan to host at least one single-day Halloween event with exclusive in-store specials and activities.
Food Drive & Black Friday (November 2022)
Food Drive: We partnered with the Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri to collect food for their bins, and offered a coupon incentive for anyone who brought in eligible food donations. This effort was advertised on our social media and via email promotions.
Food Drive Results: This event was a bit of a miss for us on the retail front. We only received a few donations from customers, and the coupon was not a large enough incentive. Instead, we turned it into an internal competition among ‘76 employees, which became extremely popular and yielded nearly 1,300 pounds of donated food!
Black Friday: We offered Half Off all fireworks on the Friday and Saturday only following Thanksgiving. This promotion was advertised on social media and via email.
Black Friday Results: 17 customers came in the weekend of our Black Friday deal, with total sales at approximately $1.3k.
Meet Santa (December 2022)
For the holidays, we went all out by hiring a professional Santa and Mrs. Claus to pay a visit to our retail store on Saturday, December 17th from 11am-3pm. Our “Meet Santa” event was advertised on social media, in our email promotions, and in paid local radio spots.
Premise: The event was free to the public and tailored to families with small children. Families were invited to meet Mrs. Claus, take a photo on Santa’s lap, and receive a free goody bag filled with novelty items and safety materials branded with our store’s information. We also offered specials on certain festive items.
Results: Our store filled up that Saturday with families! We counted at least 162 individuals attending the Santa event. We had a total of 18 transactions with just under $1.7k in sales. Many families posted about the event on social media and shared it among their friends, making the event a big success in terms of community awareness. This was one of the more costly events to put on: we spent $2k for the professional Santa, Mrs. Claus, their helpers, and their decorations. The radio ads cost us $3.6k. Next year, we plan to save on the advertising costs and rely more on organic social pushes, owned emails, and word-of-mouth from the previous year’s attendance.
Easter Egg Hunt (March 2023)
When Easter rolled around, we decided to host a free egg hunt across the street from our retail store. We advertised the egg hunt with a banner at the entrance, social media posts, and through our email newsletter.
Premise: The free event was catered to families with small children. The hunt was divided into sections for each age group, with the 7-12 age being the largest area. Eggs filled with candy and fireworks gift cards were scattered on the ground. We also had a retail table set up where we offered small assortment bags for $20 each. We also had a food truck, shaved ice truck, and lemonade stand attend, all of which did reasonable business following the hunt.
Results: Several dozen families came out for the hunt with an attendance of around 175 individuals. While we only sold a handful of assortment bags on that day, the gift cards steadily came back to us as attendees visited our store later (estimated $4.3k in gift card sales).
Fireworks Demo (April 2023)
This year, we decided to invite the public to attend our annual Spring Fireworks Demo on Saturday, April 22nd (in addition to inviting our wholesale customers) to promote our retail store. We promoted the event with a banner at the Midway entrance, social media posts, a press release, and via email to our subscribers.
Premise: Our free fireworks demo took place up the hill from our year-round retail store. We shot 56 items and ended the evening with a fireworks competition between local pyro clubs KCAP and MoPyro. We had two food trucks selling food & drinks, alcoholic beverages sold by Bur Oak Brewing, and bounce houses and lawn games for kids. We advertised 30% off fireworks at our retail store, which was open all day and open the previous day, and we gave out fliers advertising our free fireworks events being hosted at our tent later this summer.
Results: Our retail store made excellent sales, earning just over $11,000 that demo weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) and boosting our sales to $7k more than April of the previous year. Despite Saturday’s cold weather (it dropped to 40 degrees!), we saw a great demo turnout of 250 members from the general public in addition to another 200+ of our wholesale customers. Many folks posted about the event on social media, creating free buzz for our company and retail location.
With each of these events, our ultimate objective was to raise awareness of Spirit of ’76 as a company while simultaneously promoting both our year-round retail store and seasonal tent. We sincerely hope that the success we’ve achieved through these events serves as inspiration for you to embark on similar ventures at your own retail location. It’s time to spark excitement and make your presence known!