published on September 29, 2021 - 2:09 PM
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Temporary leases are hard to come by during the pandemic, but local business couple Karim Ali and Sabrina Lalani landed one for their Halloween store.

Spooky Halloween Superstores leased more than 9,000 square feet of retail space from Wolfsen Land & Cattle Company at 2220 W. Walnut Ave. in Visalia.

Ali said that Lalani runs Spooky Halloween Superstores every year, and they’ve opened the store annually for 20 years. The couple has a location in Visalia and in Porterville.

Temporary leases are usually hard to find, and this year was no different.

“It was harder to find a location,” Ali said. “We hardly found a store.”

Ali believes it was harder to find one this year because of businesses opening back up. He normally starts looking for spaces two months in advance because not many agents want to lease temporarily, he said. The store is only in the space for two and a half months.

This year leasing was more expensive than last year – about 20% more, Ali said.

They don’t want to lock in temporary leases, instead preferring long-term arrangements. Every year, the couple calls several people to see who’s willing to give the space to them.

This year in Visalia, Ali and Lalani took over what used to be Orchard Supply Hardware, which turned into Ace Hardware. When Ace moved in, it didn’t occupy a plant nursery, leaving roughly 9,000 square feet of retail space, which is now leased to Spooky Halloween Superstores.

Ali thinks this year will bring better sales than last year, when gatherings were slim.

“People are more comfortable now,” he said.

He said Covid hasn’t hurt businesses like people imagined, and people are spending like crazy.
“Retail business is doing well,” Ali said.

The lease was handled by Lewis Smith of Retail California, and he got the couple leased quickly — within about a week, Ali said.

Ali said Spooky Halloween is different from Spirit Halloween, which is a national franchise with more than 1,400 locations in the US. Spooky Halloween caters to their customers’ wants.

“We order whatever our customer wants, whatever brands they want, whatever styles they want,” he said.

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