How to Plan a Successful Grand Opening that Generates Media Coverage and Builds Your Brand


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I'm Emily — a resourceful mom but, if I'm being honest, a terrible prepper. It wasn't until I realized that...

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This was originally written for my agency at gethappypr.com. To get in touch, just head to our website

Opening a storefront, expanding to a bigger space, or adding another location is a big success! Celebrate this achievement by diversifying your event from other grand openings in order to make an impact on your target audience.

Our goal is to help businesses leverage their grand opening in an impactful way; we accomplish this with community outreach, media coverage, promotions, and an exciting customer experience.

After planning and executing more than 100 grand openings and brand launches, we know what it takes to master and leverage your next grand opening.

Whether you are launching a new franchise, another location, or your very first business, take a page out of our grand opening playbook.

Connect with the community

Set yourself apart from other local businesses and grand openings by establishing yourself with the local community. Small businesses are vital to economic success, and chances are, if you invite the community, they will be happy (and honored) to participate in grand opening events.

First, take advantage of your entrepreneurial resources. 

Connect with the local Chamber, city offices, and other business organizations. Invite them to your event and ask them to bring other community members. 

Don’t forget to capitalize on your area’s uniqueness. For example, our client, TEAM Schostak Family Restaurants, opened a MOD Pizza location in Kalamazoo, Michigan, which is home to Western Michigan University. MOD Pizza capitalized on the college town setting by inviting the university’s famous mascot, Buster the Bronco, and offered pizza specifically to WMU students.

Every new Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea location kicks off its grand opening with a friends and family event that benefits a local charity. Photo credit: Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea, via Facebook

Give Back

Your grand opening celebration is the perfect opportunity to align with a nonprofit or local organization.

Be strategic, and think about the many ways you can give back to the local community. Get involved with a local organization, invite local heroes, schools, and more.

We work with Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea franchises for their grand openings, and every single location hosts a fundraiser prior to the big event.

Choosing a local nonprofit to partner with shows that the franchise owners care about their local communities. Plus, it’s an opportunity to bring together customers, employees, and other community members for a good cause.

Diversify your grand opening

Because grand openings are so common, think about how to diversify your event from the rest. It’s not just about cutting a ribbon or speeches. How can you infuse your brand and mission into the celebration?

We recently helped HopCat with publicity for its grand opening in Holland, Michigan. HopCat diversified itself in a couple of different ways.

HopCat hosted a VIP event the day before its official grand opening celebration, where community members, local news, and influencers were invited for a free entree and appetizer. This event helped get people excited for the opening, and it was a great opportunity to continue training the staff.

On the grand opening day, HopCat used its fan-favorited Cosmik Fries to create an immediate demand and drive traffic to its new location by offering the first 200 people in line free fries for a year. This incentive attracted more than 200 guests to wait outside for hours leading up to its grand opening!

There are many ways to diversify your grand opening, but keep in mind that you must execute your grand opening well in order to truly establish yourself in the community.

Some ideas to consider:

  • Who will you invite? How will you attract your target customer?
  • Will you offer any specials or promos?
  • Will there be entertainment?

Grand openings require a lot of planning and project management in order to be successful and unique. If you’re looking for insight, or have a grand opening in the near future, tell us a little about your brand and your event, and we’ll be in touch.