Post Categories: October 2015

Knowledge Portal: Grand Openings Bring Community History to Life


Giant Landover, part of Ahold USA, knows that the key to making a new store successful is generating excitement in the community. That’s why it called on the experts at Interactions Marketing to help put together its latest Grand Opening for the Giant supermarket in the Potomac Yard area of Alexandria, VA. And while every Interactions’ Grand Opening is tailored to the local community, this latest event took customization to a whole new level—with the success to match.

“The planning for every Grand Opening starts with research,” explains Ryan Dee, Senior Account Executive for Interactions. “We look at demographics and what the neighborhood is known for. For the Giant Potomac Yard Grand Opening, we went even deeper. We looked at the community event calendar and found they had some unique things, like a choir that only sings 80s music. We also found out that Potomac Yard used to be a prominent railroad hub in the late 1800s/early 1900s. So we decided to do something that was a nod to that history but would also reflect the creativity of current community members.”

With Giant Landover’s buy-in, Interactions designed, planned and staffed an elaborate, three-day railroad-themed Grand Opening event. Features included Brand Ambassadors dressed as train conductors, sampling booths designed up to look like railroad depots, a selfie booth with a historic backdrop and fun props for shoppers to use, a cotton candy station and caricatures done by a local artist.

“We also sent a street team into the community the weekend prior to the store opening to encourage people to come by and check it out,” adds Tamara Lytle, Interactions Talent Specialist. “The street team handed out 2,000 flyers with vouchers for $10 Giant gift cards. To attract attention to the festivities the weekend of the Grand Opening itself, there were sign spinners outside directing people to the new store.”

“Our event staff supported additional events Giant Landover arranged themselves, as well,” notes Dee. “These included visits from celebrity chef Robert Irvine and a local band playing live music in the adult beverage sampling area.”

“The reception from the community was great,” says Lytle. “It was impressive to see people go through the store and buy their groceries, then go home and bring their family back to experience the Grand Opening.”

“The Grand Opening was fantastic,” agrees Norman Dichard, Store Manager for Giant Potomac Yard. “There was good attention to detail and [all of Interactions’ Brand Ambassadors] were very outgoing and interactive with the customers, which was very special for them and made them feel welcome.” Dichard also says Interactions’ Brand Ambassadors worked seamlessly with store associates, making customers feel like they were all part of the same Giant team. The buzz created by the Grand Opening is still drawing customers into the new store more than two weeks later, he notes.

Dee attributes much of the event’s success to “the level of customization we did for this Grand Opening—it’s unparalleled to date. The touches were so personal and so relevant to the community.” He goes on to note that Giant Landover was so happy with the outcome, they have booked Interactions’ street teams for four additional weekends to continue spreading excitement for the new store throughout the community.

To learn more about Interactions’ Grand Opening and other experiential marketing services, contact Ryan Dee, Senior Account Executive at