Costume store in Apple Valley makes online shopping less scary

Halloween Costumes.com opens walk-in boutiques

HalloweenCostumes.com, known for offering the largest selection of costumes in the world, is opening walk-in stores for the first time. A boutique-style pop-up shop will open in Apple Valley this week.

While many retailers are moving toward only online sales, HalloweenCostumes.com is doing the opposite. Customers have scrolled through the online store for over a decade, but this year they will be able to visit the shop to peruse the displays.

Although it may seem like a risky business move, this is not the first time we’ve seen a company make a move from web to building. In August, Amazon.com purchased Whole Foods, showing customers and competitors alike that brick and mortar still hold value for businesses in 2017.

HalloweenCostumes.com officials said they will continue to offer high-quality Halloween costumes online but are opening these boutiques so customers can try on costumes and receive expert advice.

“We want to help families find the perfect costume,” HalloweenCostume.com’s Ross Smith said. “Families are going to be able to come up to our staff and say: ‘This is kind of what we have in mind.’ And we’ll be able to help them find the best costume for them. We wanted to bring a new experience to costume shopping.”

The store allows customers to try on costumes. Samples of each costume in each size hang on racks in the middle of each display, and customers can bring them into dressing rooms to find the perfect look and fit. Every sample costume has an insert attached to it that tells customers exactly where to find the costumes that are packaged for purchase.

Over 75 percent of HalloweenCostume.com’s products are exclusive, meaning customers will be able to find unique costumes that are not sold anywhere else.

“It’s not just a generic costume. We worked with the movie studios to make them as authentic as they could possibly be,” Smith said.

HalloweenCostumes.com says it takes pride in the quality of its costumes. Associates hand-select fabrics to craft designs. They claim their costumes are comfortable and durable, and they believe opening these pop-up shops will allow customers to feel and see the difference for themselves.

“At a lot of online costume stores, it’s really hard when you are looking through to see the quality,” Smith said. “You can’t really do that looking at a computer screen, so we wanted to bring a hands-on experience right here, to Minnesota.”

Apple Valley’s unique community attracted HalloweenCostumes.com to build a location.

“We are very family focused, and diversity is one of our strongest values,” Smith said. “We support people of all races, religions, orientations – and we stand against bigotry, racism, intolerance of any kind. Because Apple Valley is such a diverse and growing community, we thought it would be the perfect fit.”

While many Halloween stores use lights and music to make a spooky shopping experience, HaloweenCostumes.com’s boutique-style store aims to be fun, bright, and colorful. In place of flashing lights and a spooky soundtrack, customers will find well lit, playful displays.

“Halloween isn’t just about scary things. It’s about dressing up to be whoever you want to be, and sometimes that’s not always scary,” Smith said.

Fear not – there is a section filled with scary costumes. Customers will also be able to find such outfits as a unicorn costume, a Minion suit, a complete “Back to the Future” get-up including shoes, accessories and hover board.

Near the front of the store, customers can find the costumes that are predicted to be most popular this year. Smith said they anticipate movie themed costumes to the biggest, especially Wonder Woman and Star Wars characters. They also expect Superheroes such as Spiderman and Justice League characters to be popular.

Because it offers so many costumes, HalloweenCostumes.com cannot carry everything in the boutique. If customers can’t find an item in the store, they can use the kiosks at the checkout desk to select what they want from the website and HalloweenCostumes.com will ship it to their homes for free.

In many ways, moving into a physical location has brought costume shopping full circle for this company. HalloweenCostumes.com got its start when Jenice Fallenstein began renting costumes out of her garage that she had sewn for her children. Her son, Tom Fallenstein, earned a degree in computer science and made a website for the costume business.

Years of hard work and a few savvy businesses moves later, the Fallensteins developed HalloweenCostumes.com. Today, Jenice Fallenstein serves as executive vice president, and Tom Fallenstein serves as CEO.

HalloweenCostumes.com will open three walk-in locations this year. The Apple Valley location will open on Sept. 9. Stores in West St. Paul and Eden Prairie will open later this month. Each store will hire 20 associates, and they are still looking for people ages 16 and up who are passionate and excited about the upcoming Halloween season.

The Apple Valley store is located at 7541 149th St. W. in Time Square strip mall.

Contact Amy Mihelich at [email protected].