November 13, 2013

The Display House will close after weak Halloween sales

Map of this story's location

The Display House, a popular Spokane area costume and party supplies retailer, will close its doors at the end of the year, saying weak Halloween sales were the nail in the coffin after more than 30 years in business.

“Halloween is pretty much our make it or break it event,” said Nick Jones, the company’s vice president. Sales this Halloween were down 20 percent from last year, which was also a weak year, he said.

Too many other stores in the area are carving up slices of the Halloween business, he said.

The store also sells parade supplies, theater accessories and Christmas items. In recent years it also hired Michael Bagley, who specialized in decorating and managing the logistics for celebrations and special events.

But overall sales continued slumping, said Jones.

The store will liquidate its inventory and fixtures by the end of the year. Jones said the business might rise from the dead if its 20,000-square-foot building can be sold or leased and if he can reopen in a smaller location.

“We could then reopen and focus on our stronger areas, like theater costumes or Christmas items,” Jones said.

The company was founded in the 1970s and in 1981 was purchased by Jones’s parents, John and Jeanie Jones. They operated the store for years until retiring recently.

Their first location was the former Montgomery Ward warehouse in downtown Spokane. In 2001 they moved to the current building, at 6510 E. Sprague Ave.

Last year Jones cut the staff by 40 percent, leaving just six employees.

Despite the reduced expenses, sales kept dropping, leading to the family’s decision to close the store.

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