Ricky’s stores turn dark post-Halloween

Cosmetics retailer uses Halloween shops to test for future long-term locations
By Adam Fusfeld | November 10, 2011 04:36PM

A temporary Ricky’s at 2039 BroadwayFor about 10 weeks each autumn, grim retail spaces across the city are enlivened by zombies, vampires, Frankensteins, ghosts and ghouls displayed prominently in brightly lit windows by Ricky’s Halloween stores. But by this time of year, mid-November, the spaces largely revert to their dark, vacant states.

To fulfill the demand for costumes in the days leading up to Halloween, Ricky’s takes 10-week leases, starting in September and running through mid-November in vacant retail spaces across the five boroughs. This year it added 22 such pop-up shops, typically about 2,500 square feet each, to its existing 27 full-time cosmetic stores in the city, according to its real estate broker, said Task Realty CEO Adam Stupak. The retailer uses the opportunity presented by Halloween to test its concept in new neighborhoods. Stupak would not disclose the rents, but noted that they range wildly depending on the neighborhood.

“The number one thing we do with the temporary store is use it to gauge a neighborhood,” Stupak said. “When we open the stores we want to see if it would make sense for a long-term Ricky’s.” Sometimes, the store returns to the same location several times — as it did, for example, for the second consecutive year at 1391 Sixth Avenue, between 56th and 57th streets, in Midtown — to get a full grasp on the market. Stupak estimates that about 10 percent of pop-up shops become full-time locations.

Landlords, of course, are happy to have the 10 weeks of income, according to Ralph Hanan, a real estate broker that represented landlord ACHS Management for three Ricky’s short-term leases in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan.

“They are a good tenant,” Hanan said. “They keep the doors open, the lights on and the space on display, which helps to find a long-term tenant.” Hanan said in the last few years, at least two long-term tenants signed on for space shortly after Ricky’s left a
location, Including A Rainbow Clothing Store On Broadway in Brooklyn and a bathroom fixture supplier on Hylan Avenue in Staten Island.

Ricky’s makes landlords well aware that they’re using the space to test its own long-term viability there, Hanan said.

Though, the temporary Halloween stores are certainly different than the typical, year-round Ricky’s, Stupak said they both appeal to a similar demographic — young females. Stupak admitted that while business is usually good for the Halloween locations
(“Everyone knows Ricky’s, especially on Halloween,” he said), which typically choose high-foot-traffic corridors, it doesn’t necessarily translate directly to a successful year-round store.