Trick or treat: Halloween, the visitor magnet

Entrance area of the famila store in Kaltenkirchen with Halloween decoration

The boss, Andreas Findeisen, has experienced all sorts of things with his famila team. He has been with the company for 30 years, and since 2019 he is the store manager in Kaltenkirchen in northern Germany. However, these days, he is being deprived of important decisions and happenings at his own famila store. Just last June, the 46-year-old was deemed to be the second-best store manager in Germany at a festive event in Frankfurt held by the magazine Lebensmittel Zeitung, the leading trade magazine for the consumer goods industry. A great honour. Especially the excellent team building in the supermarket made an impression at the awards ceremony.

Andreas Findeisen, store manager, Famila Kaltenkirchen
Andreas Findeisen, store manager, Famila Kaltenkirchen Foto © Joshua Hoffmann

But now, things are getting spooky. The second big Halloween spectacle in Kaltenkirchen is around the corner: "famila Kaltenkirchen invites you to a 'frightful shopping tour' on Friday, 28 October and Saturday, 29 October", as is advertised all over the place. But Andreas Findeisen still does not know what specifically awaits him (and the customers). A magnificent transformation event is ahead, the entire 4,000 square metres of the store will be transformed just in time for Halloween (which is always the night from 31 October to 1 November). The secrecy is well-intentioned and has become a tradition. Already last year, the boss was surprised by his employees with the details of the spectacle. 120 colleagues under the wing of Jan Drewes decorated all of the store’s departments, foodstuffs, clothes, toys, its meat counter, regional products, exclusive spirits and sweets with each their own spooky décor: disgustingly realistic (plastic) spiders, skulls, glowing pumpkins, artificial spiderwebs on beer crates, replicated graves and much more. In addition, all of the store’s lights were dimmed down to 20 percent and the employees dressed up especially gruesomely. The boss himself ("the management") was without warning turned into a skeleton. From 8 am to 9 pm, the Kaltenkirchen famila team followed through with the show. And because in 2022, the entire shopping centre is going to participate, including the drugstore, the bakery, the fishing accessories shop, the ALDI market, the beverage store… the whole spectacle will be even more phenomenal.

Already in the kick-off event in 2021, the store experienced an increase in sales by 15 percent, instead of the usual 3,500 customers, 15,000 stopped by

The famila team prepared the Halloween surprise for days, without the help of an external agency. "We tell the boss where we need space for our decorations, and then that area is kept clear of products," as Jan Drewes explains the procedure. He also adds: "In the kick-off event last year, we didn’t have much time. Now, knowing for the whole year that we wanted to outdo the last event, we scouted out in the USA, for example, to see what kind of other materials and ideas there are." Light effects, spooky sounds, horrifying figurines, witches. Everything has to be planned, obtained and placed without any fuss.

An enormous effort. On the Halloween days, the products are only restocked at night, when the customers have already left the building, so as to not ruin the fun. The event last year was already worth it: "15 percent increase in sales in comparison to earlier Halloweens. And where we usually had 3,500 customers on Friday or Saturday, we now had 10 to 15,000 visitors", as Drewes takes stock. What will happen this year is not easy to foresee. That is because Kaltenkirchen, which is a 20-minute car ride away from Hamburg, has an immense catchment area. The famila store is also well-known for its social activities and for being affiliated to several associations and Kaltenkirchen’s community. People from all over the place come to shop at the famous storein its town of 24,000 inhabitants in Segeberg county, be it Hamburg, the city and county of Pinneberg, all of Ostholstein and even Kiel.

The famila team poses with Halloween costumes in front of their store

The  Halloween event brought the famila team even closer together

The Halloween event in 2021 was not only good publicity, but also brought the team of 120 employees closer together: "If you work together towards such a goal for weeks, sometimes even putting in nightshifts, and can then celebrate such a success and receive appreciation from all over, it strengthens the companionship. You automatically want to weigh in even more for others." This was the experience of all employees that worked on the Halloween spectacle, as Andreas Findeisen experienced it. In the meantime, others have been inspired: the whole shopping centre is looking forward to the two Halloween days. Get ready to be spooky, up in the North.

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