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A Grand Opening

20 Grand Opening Ideas for a New Business or Product Launch

Grand openings, product launches, new branch openings, and new business launches are all incredible, one-time events that deserve to be celebrated. There’s a significant sense of accomplishment in laying the groundwork for a new product or business, whether that means R&D, incorporation paperwork, setting up a physical storefront, or something else entirely.

So, why not celebrate it? With yourself, your staff, your crew, and even your customers! Merchandise, swag, whatever you want to call it, these door prizes, celebratory gifts, and commemorative items can make memories out of these significant events. The only question is, what can you do to celebrate? We have a huge list of ideas right here for you to peruse and copy at your leisure. Some are swag, some are merch, and some are just event ideas, but they’re all great options that can make your grand opening a great event.

1: Customized T-Shirts

T-shirts can be an excellent and easy piece of merch to make and distribute, both to your staff and to your customers. Make a special shirt for everyone working the grand opening to wear (and keep), and a different shirt to hand out to the first however many customers you want to give one to.

A Customized T-Shirt

Apparel can be enduring and will remind people to come back to visit even if the initial experience on its own doesn’t.

2: Branded Hats

A nice branded, adjustable ball cap or other hat can be a useful piece of apparel not everyone has at home, and it’s more durable – and better at advertising – than the average shirt.

Branded Hats

You can even customize the hats with embroidered names for individuals or for roles on your team to make them a little more personal and interesting to the people who receive them.

3: Serve Food

While food isn’t what you would traditionally call merch, you can have food around for both customers and attendees of your grand opening and as catering for the staff who work it. Make sure you can do so legally – for the customer-facing side, anyway – and be careful if you’re offering alcohol.

Serving Food

You can also bring merch into the equation by making and using branded drinkware or even handing out branded water bottles to guests.

4: Work with Influencers

Local and regional influencers might not necessarily have local audiences, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea to work with one.

Working With Influencers

An influencer can help build hype and attract customers to your new product or service or even your physical location if they’re nearby. You can also help by building a swag bag to give to the influencer, and you can even let the influencer give away merch to their followers.

5: Host a Raffle

A raffle for people who show up on the first day can be a great way to entice them to keep thinking about you and your brand. Have anyone who is interested fill out a ticket with contact information and pull a winner at the end of the night. You can reach out to whoever wins and give them their prize.

Raffle Tickets

What should the prize be? That’s up to you! It could be a store gift card, a month of free service, a swag bag, or even a combination of options. As long as it’s enticing enough to get people to hand over their contact information (which you can use for a mailing list later), it’s good enough.

6: Door Prizes

Another way to attract and keep customers around is to offer door prizes.

Door Prizes

A common option is to have everyone who enters get a ticket and, every 30 minutes or so, draw a ticket for a prize. If whoever had that ticket isn’t around, they don’t get it, so it encourages people to stick around and browse. You can offer mystery prizes, standard swag bags, or even a table of prizes for the winners to pick from.

7: Partnership Packages

A partnership package is a simple but very useful concept. First, you go around to other local businesses or related brands who might want to partner with you. Ask them to contribute something to a set of prize packages or swag bags, like a piece of merch, a gift card, or a coupon.

Partnership Packages

Once you have that, build packages of all of your partnership items and some of your own merchandise, and offer them in one of the other ideas above: door prizes, raffles, hand-outs, whatever makes the most sense for the number, value, and expected volume of attendees.

8: Simple Freebies

There are a ton of simple, inexpensive, brandable items you can hand out to anyone who wants one as they enter your store on the grand opening.

Simple Freebies

Face masks, hand sanitizer, screen cleaners, ear savers, bandanas, lanyards; basically any small item can be worth branding and handing out. They’re like business cards but a little more elaborate and useful, even if they’re often discarded just as easily.

9: Host a Contest

A pretty common idea for a grand opening is to ask attendees to take a photo and post it to social media. This helps get the word out. To make sure it’s a valid photo, give it some sort of theme; take a picture with the mascot, take a picture of your favorite product, take a picture wearing a branded hat, something to make it harder to abuse or fake.

Taking a Photo for a Contest

Run the contest for your grand opening week to give more people time to participate, and hand out some kind of moderately valuable prize to the winner. How do you pick who wins? That’s up to you.

10: Run a Scavenger Hunt

A scavenger hunt can be simple or complex, and it depends on how in-depth you want to make it. For example, you could just list out locations where you’ve placed rubber ducks with numbers on them and ask people to find them and write down the numbers for you.

Customers on a Scavenger Hunt

Or, you could leave trivia questions around and, as an added layer of challenge, force people to get the questions right to be eligible to win. Whatever you choose, make it interesting, fun to do, and engaging, with a reasonable prize at the end.

11: Include a Branded Tote with Purchase

For retail outlets and other physical locations where customers are going to be buying something, one good option is to get a stash of branded tote bags for the event. Use them in place of whatever bags you would normally use for people making purchases – one per customer, though – and let them keep the bag.

A Branded Tote Bag

Since buying a good tote is usually $10 to $20, this can be a decent value in reusable branded merchandise for free.

12: Simple Items

There are countless simple, inexpensive items you can make and hand out during your grand opening.

Simple Keychains

Stickers, keychains, magnets, lanyards, pens, flash drives, phone grips, stationary; whatever you can think of, there’s a decent chance we have it in our store, and you can order however many you need to make sure everyone who attends your event can have one (or even more, if you like).

13: Seasonal Items

There are a variety of seasonally relevant items you can give out to attendees and guests at your grand opening. For example, sunglasses can be a useful item to hand out to anyone who attends an event held outdoors on a bright, sunny day.

Giving Out Sunglasses

A branded towel can be a great item for a beachside or waterfront grand opening. Earmuffs, gloves, or hand warmers can all be nice additions to a wintertime event. Think of things your attendees might want but have forgotten or not had to bring, and provide them.

14: Seed Paper Business Cards

An alternative to the traditional business card is one made of seed paper. Seed paper is a paper infused with viable seeds, ideally from local, native wildflower species or at least a useful culinary herb.

A Seed Paper Business Card

When your attendees get home, they can toss one in a pot or in their garden and grow something useful out of what they would otherwise just have discarded. Plus, any that do end up discarded can then grow into something beautiful around your community.

15: Push to Break a Record

Think of some kind of record you might be able to push to break. For example, you could try to exceed previous customer numbers in a given day, or the largest gathering in your city, or something more esoteric, like the largest number of people to attend your event wearing something yellow.

A Record Number of Customers

The two tricks to this are promotion and rewards. Promotion means that you need to get the word out and arrange for as many people to attend and meet the conditions as possible. Reward to incentivize the right behavior; if you break the record, everyone gets a prize.

16: Consider a Theme

Depending on the level of seriousness your business commands, you may or may not want to try this. For a more casual business, though, you can pick some kind of theme and run with it for opening day or even opening week.

A Business Grand Opening

Something like “90s comics,” “detective media,” or “disco” can all be interesting, if a little stereotypical, and ways to make your grand opening more memorable than just the day/week/month you had a banner up in front of your store.

17: Make it Fun

One of the biggest drags to a grand opening is if everyone takes it too seriously; there are constant problems, and the mood is dragged down. So, try to take steps to make the event more fun.

A Fun Grand Opening

Music, especially live music, can always liven the mood. You might even consider having some form of entertainment for the families or children of your attendees. That way, the adults can shop in peace while the children hang out in the bounce house or under the care of a local clown.

18: Partner with Animal Shelters

Another interesting option might be to partner with a local animal shelter and drum up publicity for your grand opening by making it double as an adoption event.

Partnering With an Animal Shelter

Have a few dogs, cats, or other animals in an area to entertain and endear your customers while drawing them through your store to shop along the way. This obviously works best for a pet-focused or pet-friendly business, but any brand can potentially leverage the power of kittens to great results.

19: Bring In the Food Trucks

Another option, especially if you can’t cater directly for one reason or another, is to find the local food trucks and invite a few of them to set up shop for your grand opening. That, plus a few folding tables to let people sit and eat, can be a great way to keep people around and build some fond memories of your opening event.

Food Truck Catering

Don’t forget to set up refuse bins to make sure people have a place to drop their trash. Otherwise, you’ll be in for a mess by the end of the day.

20: Decorate More

All too often, the only thing indicating there’s a grand opening is a sign in a window, on a door, or on a banner on the awning. While these are fine, you might want to do more.

Decorating For a Grand Opening

For example, get some sidewalk chalk and have an artist draw cartoons pointing out there’s something cool happening down the road, complete with footprints leading the way. Draw people in from around corners with colorful signs, balloons, or sign spinners. There are plenty of ways you can broaden the scope of attractiveness.

Keep Ethics in Mind for Merch and Swag

It should come as no surprise that here at Ethix, we pride ourselves on ethical sourcing and production for all of the merchandise we offer. Whether it’s union-made, locally sourced, ethically farmed, or a combination of all of them, our merchandise is both as ethical as we can get it and fully transparent.

Ethix Merch Store

Anything you want to buy and brand, feel free to reach out and ask questions. We’re always happy to discuss the production and ethics of our items. That way, you can shop with confidence, knowing that the branded merchandise you buy isn’t made on the backs of exploitation and environmental disaster.