Halloween Express: Fear No opportunity
An electrician by training, now Todd Cloutier welcomes things that go bump in the night. When Todd took the E-Seed training series through FVTC's Venture Center, he was capitalizing on one of the hottest trends in the country: Halloween decorations. He used internet searches and information from the Retail Federation to fine tune his idea. “I did all my research and found out that Halloween is the number two decorating season behind Christmas,” Todd said. Today, Todd owns and manages the Halloween Express franchises in Northeast Wisconsin. The process of creating a business plan exposed Todd to things he never dealt with as an electrician. As a retail venture, advertising and marketing were going to drive his business, but he had to be selective with his spending. He needed to hyper target consumer groups and needed to confirm if moms would be just as important to his business as young adults celebrating Halloween. Todd added a twist to traditional market research that only comes from being a parent. For years, he thought volunteering in local haunted houses was fun and used his contacts as research. When dropping his kids off at school, he talked to parents about purchasing costumes and holiday décor. He watched trends in entertainment and movies aimed at kids and shopped area retailers to see what products they carried. “I knew there was a strong local market for Halloween décor, but the E-Seed class helped me get it off the ground,” Todd said. To find Todd and Halloween Express, visit them online or on Facebook.