By Megan Salzano
The coronavirus pandemic has riddled the country with hardship since the early spring, and as the holidays approach consumers continue to brace for the effects of the “new normal.” Halloween, the first approaching holiday that gathers the masses and excites children across the country with dreams of candy avalanches, has many consumers asking how it can be done. However, every cloud has its silver lining and one retail store owner has endeavored to shed a light on it.
Marshall Fox, a third-generation owner of Fox Floors in Ocean Township, N.J., recently read a social media post that inspired him to use the tools at his store’s disposal to make the Halloween trick-or-treat tradition not only possible in the age of COVID-19, but safe as well. “I saw a post about someone using a PVC pipe to make a contactless candy delivery system for Halloween,” he told FCNews. “The next day I looked around my warehouse floor, saw a bunch of carpet tubes laying around and thought they would be perfect to make chutes out of.”
Fox said he generates carpet tubes organically every day from his roll and remnant inventory and soon began soliciting more from his installers. “It’s giving kids and parents a safe and fun way to get and give out candy for Halloween,” he noted. “At the same time, it’s also a great art project to do with your kids.”
Fox used social media to spread the word of the new initiative and free service he was now offering to his community. “I put up a post on my store’s Facebook page saying: ‘We’re giving out free carpet tubes to make Halloween chutes.’ The next day it went viral and lots of different media and news channels were calling me and coming to my store.”
Fox said the community has rallied behind his efforts. “People in the community love it and appreciate what we’re doing. They’ve been coming in everyday for the last three weeks since seeing it online and on TV. I give them away for free, but we are also taking donations to Make-A-Wish-NJ, and we’ve since raised a lot of money for such a good cause, simply by giving out free carpet tubes.”
But that wasn’t the only unforeseen upside to Fox’s new initiative. His engagement with the community has benefited the store as well. “It has brought a lot of old customers back in and tons of new families who have never been to my store before,” he explained. “Things like this is what separates us mom & pop flooring stores from box stores. We’re happy and able to do things like this for the community. It has brought hundreds of people into my showroom, and now they know we’re here when they need carpet.”
Since Fox has promoted his initiative via social media his need for carpet rolls has grown exponentially. “I had to find more because of the demand,” he said. “Shaw Floors came to the rescue and donated a lot of tubes to my store. That was just awesome of them, and another reason we love Shaw here. So far, I think I’ve given out 300-400 tubes.”
Fox said he hopes locally owned stores around the country have people coming in asking for tubes as well. “If it got them a new customer that might always go to a box store vs. a local store, then its mission accomplished,” he said.
For other retailers looking to do the same, Fox has some advice: “Quickly promote that you have free carpet tubes available for safe Halloween candy delivery on all of your social media, and I guarantee you will see people coming to your store immediately.”