Don’t fret. Once you step through the evil clown’s mouth, Madame Morbida will be there to greet you.
The bejeweled fortune teller leads to five deadly looking animatronic clowns, one of which is hanging upside down, his head sticking out of a body bag. His bright green hair is highlighted by stark white skin and drops of blood on his neck and face.
Just when you think things can’t get worse, you turn and see the caged zombie children, all three dressed in tattered dress clothes.
Welcome to Spirit Gallows Asylum.
There, a young girl sings “la la la la la la” in a hypnotic tone. Beyond, a cemetery angel buries its face in its hands while standing in the asylum’s hallway.
In another room, zombie babies and their equally zombified parents stare at you as the wheelchair-bound mom holds a knife in her left hand.
This is GlobalShop 2014.
The 2014 trade show is the place to see the latest store fixtures and displays available for the retail universe, and the horror display is part of Halloween retailer Spirit’s entry for the 2014 industry awards.
GlobalShop took over part of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center this week with 10,000 to 12,000 industry professionals in attendance. In all, 650 exhibitors were spread across 201,300 square feet of exhibit space through Thursday.
“There’s virtually no space left in the hall,” said Doug Hope, GlobalShop founder and show director.
The trade show has experienced four consecutive years of growth and is 4 percent larger in terms of square footage this year over last. About 80 percent of the attendees came from domestic locations.
“Without question, retail is America’s favorite sport,” Hope said.
A $4 trillion sport, to be clear, and Hope said investments are steadily growing.
The show focuses on store product displays and fixtures. The next time you see a Frito-Lay rack in Subway, or a lotion display at a salon, remember that it probably was made by someone exhibiting at GlobalShop.
Those unique displays for Spirit were made by InnoMark Communications.
“Spirit’s sort of a unique customer,” said InnoMark employee Chris Cummings.
The design process for the in-store experiences takes six to eight months, and each costs between $1,000 and $1,500. Spirit operates 1,000 temporary stores throughout the United States, open for eight weeks during the Halloween shopping season. Each store orders four of the large-scale displays. Shipped flat, they take store employees three or four hours to build.
“They’re trying to create an environment for their customers that will stimulate the shopping experience,” Cummings said. “Most displays are really just designed to move product. … But these are designed to be more of an experience.”
An experience is what most exhibitors at GlobalShop are trying to create for their customers, comprised of retailers and nationally known brands.
The segment overall is looking up, Hope said, as many retailers are renovating and rebranding.
Cummings agreed. He said rebranding requires new banners, signs, floor graphics, fixtures and lighting, all items sold by companies at GlobalShop.
“That really benefits our industry,” Cummings said.
In its first year at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, David Roman, business development manager for the west division of ICON International, said the show was a mixed bag this week. Many of the people who came through the booth were good business prospects, but foot traffic overall was a little light.
“We’re not loving the setup here at Mandalay. We feel like we’re isolated and away from most of the business. We don’t get a lot of the foot traffic that comes through,” Roman said.
Previously, GlobalShop was held at Sands Expo and Convention Center.
Aside from traffic issues, ICON was showing off an entirely new product line. The company was purchased by Japan-based Endo Lighting and, as a result, has been refreshing its lineup.
The brand’s scene-setter mirror was very popular at the show for its ability to give off multiple light settings. This can be useful when trying on clothing.
“It’s been working really well,” Roman said.
The booth also featured a custom light for the exhibit, but potential customers unexpectedly expressed interest in the design. “It really made us look at what we can do and what we should be offering,” Roman said.
Contact reporter Laura Carroll at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-4588. Follow @lscvegas on Twitter.