9 min read

8 Grand Opening Ideas for Your Big Day

By Haley Davidson

Founder & Content Strategist, Gaia Content

You’ve put so much work into your new business venture, but no one else even knows who you are. That’s why you’ve been trying to think up some of the best grand opening ideas that’ll build your brand awareness and make you the name to know on the block. 😎

Grand openings are not an easy undertaking by any means. So you need to know that all the effort, time, and money you’ve invested is going to pay off. You’re so excited for that big first day, and you want everyone else to be too.

After all, a first impression can make all the difference when it comes to your business’s success.

Lucky for you, we’ve compiled 8 grand opening ideas and outlined the steps you’ll need to take to make them happen. We’ve organized the amount of effort and cash you’d have to invest into each idea below. ✨ (And don't worry, we'll take a closer look at each idea below, too!)




(Block) party


20% of your annual marketing budget (according to The Business Journals)



$0 - $50+

Limited coupons and discounts



Promotional giveaways 


$0 – $50+

Break a world record


$0 - $800

Soft launch 


$0 - $50+

Ribbon cutting ceremony


Up to $150+ (depending on your county)

Fundraiser event



Now, I know you might be thinking this sounds like a lot. But, we’re going to walk you through the following to help you get this grand opening done right:

Why you should host a grand opening 

You could always not host a grand opening...but that's only if you don’t want to excite your neighborhood and lower your chances of foot traffic. 💥

If you’re a fan of smart business decisions, you should host a grand opening for your retail store. It’ll get potential customers excited about what you might have to offer. And it’ll get people to hear your name without just having to pass by or stumble upon it on social media.

Not to mention, celebrating the opening of your new business is also a celebration of all the hard work that led you to this moment! At your grand opening, you can go and have fun, and then continue to buckle down the way everyone knows you’re so good at.

What makes a great grand opening

There’s no bona-fide way to guarantee a successful grand opening. But there are certainly some tips that can get you close to that 100% guarantee. 💯

It all comes down to this—you’ve got to generate excitement. The goal is to generate so much excitement that it gives your future customer base a reason to come to your store besides just buying your goods.

A grand opening should also make it easy for customers to check out your products. From samples to coupons to altruistic intentions, your grand opening ideas should elevate the shopping experience.

8 grand opening ideas to choose from

So, where do you get started? Start by seeing if any of these ideas align just right with the path you see your business going on. 🧐

Grand opening event idea #1: Block party

The most obvious answer to catch everybody’s attention and get people talking is to just throw the biggest grand opening party possible. 🥳

You could hire local musicians to sing their hearts out—everyone loves live music. You could even have food trucks supply lunch and invite local artists to sell their wares in booths along the street. What better way to generate joy?

Want people to have keepsakes of your store forever? Get a photo booth that commemorates the date of your grand opening on the photo strip that gets printed out. 📸

If you’re located in a hustling and bustling spot, you can even look into shutting the street down so your party can extend around the block. You and other local businesses can have the time of your lives.

Plus, to throw the party of the century, make sure you give it the advertising it deserves.

Grand opening event idea #2: Raffles

People love to win. You’d love to have people there on opening day. Give them a chance to win something at your grand opening, and it’s a win-win. So what other option do you have but to host a raffle on your big day? 🎟️

As far as the raffle prize goes, you can raffle off several of your products or service. You can even create an assortment of prizes by partnering with your potential future neighbors. This way your winners can become walking advertisements.

You can sell tickets for as much as you want—from five cents to fifty dollars. Or, you can even offer free entry and let attendees be eligible for a prize just for showing up. It’s all about what your goal is here.

There are no do’s or don'ts for raffles. You can even have all the funds go to a cause of your choosing just because. 

One thing to keep in mind—check your state’s raffle laws. Some states like Hawaii and Florida consider a raffle a game of chance (i.e. gambling), and have made it illegal to host raffles. Meanwhile, in states like Georgia and Kentucky, it’s fine to host a raffle as long as you get the necessary raffle license.

Grand opening event idea #3: Grand opening coupons

There’s nothing people love more than a good deal. The thrill of saving money might outweigh just about everything else for our savvy shoppers. 🤑

To attract them, offer a special event coupon or discount of your choice and advertise that it’s only going to be available for the first 100 or so guests. Then, watch the people roll in.

(Make sure the coupon isn’t so good that it totally busts your bottom line for the month though).

You can also make this work for your e-commerce storefront! You can have a “coming soon” signup list, and offer a promo code for people to receive on your big day if they join your email list.  

Grand opening event idea #4: Promotional giveaways

Two words: goodie bags. Because none of us have outgrown the thrill of getting a little treat in elementary school. 😋

You can hand out your own products as promo or branded swag like matchboxes. Or, you can just get a bowl of candy and hand it out. Handing out free samples is always going to stir up some buzz around potential new customers. 

And the budget for an idea like this can be super flexible. You can give away a couple of promotional products you could have sold or give out swag bags worth $50+! 

Another perk? This sort of thing is a marketer's dream. You can ask people to follow for a goodie bag or tag a friend in a post on social media to get free items. And free stuff is always so much fun to share!

If the giveaway is valuable, you also want to make sure to quantify it in your marketing promo.

Grand opening event idea #5: Try to break a world record

Sometimes you’ve got to do the craziest thing in the world to get people’s attention. So why don’t you just try to break a world record? 🤪

Not all of them require feats of strength—some just require effort. Or can just be fun for people to try. For example, there’s a world record for eating a 12-inch pizza in record time. If you’re a brand-new pizzeria, why not go for it? 🤷

Plus, even if you don’t beat it, you’ll catch people’s eye. It’ll be different. You’ll be remembered. And that’s what you need more than a world record title.

P.S. Apply for the title early or you could spend up to $1,000 to get the Guinness World Record to rush review your entry.

Grand opening event idea #6: Soft launch 

Put those influencer filters to work with an invite-only soft launch. This is especially a good idea for luxury businesses getting off the ground (and a little nervous to start off with a big event). 💅

Inviting local influencers to a soft opening is the way to build that trust that you might need. Let’s say you’re a new facial service. Word of mouth might be the only thing to convince someone who already has a preferred spot.

Plus, if you’ve got a super gorgeous layout, you should show it off and get those pictures out so when the general public can come, they’re going to eat it up and start booking your services way before you even open your doors.

This is also a great opportunity to get feedback on your products and location before your grand opening. So, if you do a soft launch, you end up feeling more practiced and ready to seize the day.

Grand opening event idea #7: Ribbon-cutting ceremony

This one is a classic. And for good reason. 🎀

A ribbon-cutting ceremony can help you cultivate a feeling of accomplishment within. Like we said earlier, a lot of work went into just getting those doors to open. And that should be celebrated.

Not to mention, it’s a great photo op for a big day that you'll cherish forever. Because even if you’re running a small business, it’s a big responsibility. Make sure to invite the press, and you might even get your picture in the paper!

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Grand opening event idea #8: Host a fundraiser event

Get foot traffic over to your store by appealing to people’s hearts. Because it’s not just about the sale. It’s about the local community you’re connecting to. ♥️

Community building is something that most grand openings don’t cover. And that’s exactly why you should consider focusing on it.

If you want to share something about your backstory and a charity that connects to it, this can be a heartfelt way to bring people together. Who knows, you might meet some of your new best friends.

Plus, once people feel like they know you, they’re probably more likely to buy from you.

5 steps to host the best grand opening

Hopefully, one of these grand opening event ideas jumped out at you or inspired one of your own. So, where do you go from here? We’ve outlined it for you in five simple steps ✔️

Step one: Choose your grand opening event type

If you’re feeling torn over the different ideas we had gone over earlier, think about what your overall goal is here. What kind of a splash do you want to make? 🙊

Do you want something no frills but still memorable? Or do you want to make the biggest first impression you can? What’s the kind of grand opening fits in your business budget?

After asking yourself these questions, you should be closer to knowing which kind of events will be in your wheelhouse.

Step two: Set a budget

Now that you’ve set some goals for yourself, it’s time to get real on how much that’s going to cost wherever you may keep track of your expenses—whether it’s on budgeting software or a spreadsheet. And then think about if you’re going to have to move the goalpost on that. 🏃

With some lower-cost options, you can keep your budget under $100, but the average grand opening can cost a small business much more than that  if you’re planning on booking talent, food, or giveaway items. (PS: don’t forget to get a receipt scanner to organize and store your receipts!).

If you’re planning on offering discounts, make sure to factor into how that might cut into your bottom line. You want to plan a day no one will ever forget, but you also don’t want run into cash flow problems down the line.

Step three: Book the date

This could be where things start getting real. But turn those nervous jitters into feelings of excitement!  🥳 Pick a day of the week for your grand opening day. For starters, think of the day of the week. 

Believe it or not, the weekend is not the best day for a grand opening. There can be too much competition. And Mondays are no good because everyone’s so exhausted from the weekend.

Tuesdays or Wednesdays are your best bet for a midweek pick-me-up. From there, pick a date, get all your supplies ready, and we’re about to get into business.

Step four: Promote, promote, promote

The right marketing strategy is everything for your big day. 📈

You can post countdowns on your social media to build up buzz. Tag other local neighborhood personalities in yours. You can encourage people in the comments to interact and hint at what might be in store for them. Or you can even create hashtags to associate with your grand opening party.

You can also create partnerships with your local neighborhood businesses. They can give you social media shoutouts on their story or even post about your upcoming grand opening. This can be especially fun if you ask them to play a role in your grand opening like having their own booth or having some of their items given away as part of a promotional campaign.

Step five: Invite the press 

This is the time for PR statements, media advisories, and big smiles. 📷

Work on your PR release until you feel like what you’ve written is the best reflection of who you are. And the day of, make sure to release a PR statement about your grand opening.

Next, work on your media advisory. A media advisory is just a couple of paragraphs sharing what is happening at the event and an invitation for the media to attend. And if you want to make their lives easier, you can already have your media press kits ready to open in the emails you send off to your local organizations.

The bottom line on grand opening ideas

Whether you’re going big with your grand opening idea or just choosing to let your business speak for itself, you deserve to celebrate on your big day! Because if you have it in you to run a small business, you can totally own this grand opening. 🤓

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