Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Return to "The Holiday Store"

Belinda and I and most of the "Halloween people" we know have been visiting all the stores in our area to peruse this year's Halloween offerings. I will say most of the big corporate stores got their stuff out early, some of it good, maybe a little more that was not so good.

One of our most fun stores to visit though, we found a year or so ago and have tried to keep in touch with it's owner, Tom Campana. "The Holiday Store" is a good distance from our house, but we've found it worth the drive to escape the same poor quality props and masks that with few exceptions seem to return every year to most of the corporate retailers.

This year our friends Gene and Evelynn made the trip with us, the first stop on a planned day of horror.

The staff at The Holiday Store take great pride in how things are displayed
Still my favorite little corner of the store, the checkout area with it's display cases

During our first visit to "The Holiday Store" we weren't quite sure what we were looking for and had made the mistake of believing it was one of those temporary box stores such as the Spirit store franchises. As we departed our vehicles on this trip, it was Evelynn who remarked that the business was smaller than she thought it would be. Coincidentally this was the same conclusion I made on our first trip. "The Holiday Store" is located in one of those non-descript roadside industrial warehouse complexes that so many businesses use now to keep their overhead costs down. The 'plain building" look ends on the outside however!

A mummy stands guard at the digital effects video display

Stepping through the entrance door of "The Holiday Store" feels like Halloween...
There are no bright florescent lights, no shiny display fixtures and no shelves of inventory boxes. Everything is on display under carefully placed ambient or color LED lights. It has the feel of a Halloween "museum", an eclectic collection of Halloween goods, and Tom Campana and his staff take great pride in how things are displayed. There are Halloween props, masks and decor from floor to ceiling.

Some quality interior decor items are also at the store.

If your just looking for masks or some decorations for your front door and don't mind if your neighbors have the same ones, this is not the store for you. If your looking for unique quality items, or creating a character for your haunt that your guests likely have never seen, "The Halloween Store" is where you go. It has the largest quality collection of masks I have seen in any walk-in store this year.

Who doesn't need a standing goat character for their haunt?
Kind of a Disney feel to this mask - great quality

"The Holiday Store" does a significant amount of it's business at it's website but the nostalgic feel of going to an independent business where the staff enjoy what they do, and love Halloween, is a winner with me.  I have no doubt we'll be making another trip this season.

Little bit of something for everyone
Our friends and ourselves spent a solid hour plus looking through the items for sale at the store. Every inch of space in the retail area is used to display different props masks and Halloween curios.  It seems like the longer you are there, and the closer you look, the more little Halloween treasures you find hidden. We went there looking for a specific mask, we left with two masks, three shrunken heads and some creepy finger extensions. I don't recall what our friends Evelynn and Gene bought but I know they found the mask they wanted and left with several bags of merchandise. All in all it was a great way to start our day of horror followed by some barbecue lunch. Another post on our day of horror is forthcoming.

Still not a fan of clowns but they did have some cool looking clown masks
At the time of our visit, owner Tom Campana had just come off vacation and was still in the process of receiving new products. Most of the store's inventory is from independent U.S. manufacturers and artists. Very little that I have ever seen is the typical mass produced stuff from ( insert Asian country name here). If he doesn't have it, he usually has good connections for getting what your looking for and his prices have always been reasonable.

The Holiday Store is located at 301 Commerce Court, Winterhaven, Florida 33880.

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