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Hi, I’m Kevin Coupe and this is MorningNewsBeat Radio, brought to you by Webstop, your first stop for retail website design services.

Sometimes, even the Muggles can get it right.

For years, I’ve been saying that most supermarkets do a lousy job of tapping into popular culture, taking advantage of events and trends to attract people into their stores. A perfect example, I’ve suggested, is the Harry Potter phenomenon – what prevents a retailer, on the night that one of the books or movies is released, from sponsoring a Harry Potter character lookalike contest with plenty of Potter-oriented prizes, an event that would almost certainly attract droves of kids and their parents into the store? Only the limits of one’s imagination, I think.

So imagine my pleasure when, this week, I went up to my local Stew Leonard’s to stock up the larder and found out that at all four of its stores, Stew Leonard’s will be hosting midnight parties to celebrate the publication of the final book in the series, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”

On Friday July 20, from 10 pm to 1 am., the poster says, “muggles and wizards of all ages” are invited to Stew Leonard’s, with books going on sale at the stroke of midnight on Saturday, July 21.” The store will offer free drinks and snacks and will sell the books at a 40 percent discount.

Prizes will be awarded for children who come to the event dressed as their favorite Harry Potter character, including book giveaways and a Harry Potter movie basket. Three craft stations will be set up to keep young wizards engaged while waiting for the clock to strike midnight. And, after the books are distributed at midnight, a reading of the first chapter will take place.

Now, this is sheer retailing wizardry. I’m not going to pretend that Stew Leonard’s got the idea here; they’re a lot smarter than I am, and don’t need my help to build a crowd. But I do see what Stew Leonard’s is doing as objective validation that what I’m saying makes sense.

There may not be another Harry Potter book, but there are plenty of popular culture events out there to which retailers can attach themselves and make a little magic.

For MorningNewsBeat Radio, I’m Kevin Coupe.
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