From a distance, the exterior of Greenwood Happy Haunts looks like a typical business.
Once inside, people encounter all things Halloween and fall.
Upon entering, people are greeted by an animatronic werewolf, mannequins of Freddie Krueger and Michael Myers, and autumnal decor. Further inside, the offerings only expand with decor ranging from Halloween beer bottles and glassware, wall art, hanging decorations, dollhouses, masks and more. .
Some items are as small as a toy truck, others are as big as a wooden hearse. There’s even a wooden electric chair with a skeleton that, when activated, flashes lights simulating an execution.
Greenwood Happy Haunts, a year-round Halloween store located at 248 Market Plaza in Old Town Greenwood, will officially open its doors to the public on Saturday. For Cory and Scott Steenbergen, opening the store is the culmination of a love of Halloween and a dream to build something fun for themselves and the community.
“We’ve dreamed of doing this for several years,” said Scott Steenbergen, one of the store’s owners.
The idea for a year-round Halloween store stems from a lifelong love for the holidays. For years, the couple went all out to decorate their home for the holidays. They also had Halloween parties in a warehouse behind the store with animatronics with their friends, and eventually more and more people asked to come, said Scott Steenbergen.
The status of another business of theirs was also considered. The Steenbergens are the owners of Greenwood Marble & Tile Co., Inc., a company Cory Steenbergen’s grandfather started nearly 70 years ago. The tile company currently shares space with the Halloween store.
In recent years, many of the company’s suppliers have stopped manufacturing the products they used. They also faced problems finding skilled workers and operating their teams, they said.
This shift came at a time when they began to realize they were ready to slow down and do something different.
“We decided we just wanted to do something fun and different and that’s what we’d like to do,” Scott Steenbergen said.
With half of their tile showroom gone, the Steenbergens decided to use the other half of the building for a Halloween store. It has continued to grow and grow over the past three years to the point where they were hoping to open the store this year.
The Steenbergens’ marble and tile business still exists, although it now has a much smaller footprint inside the building. The goal is to maintain activity for the time being before eventually withdrawing from the marble business, Scott Steenbergen said.
“The goal is to get out of our 70-year-old business and enjoy life a bit and have something here that has never been here before,” he said.
Stores that carry Halloween decorations and merchandise are usually only open at certain times of the year. With Happy Haunts, this is not the case, as the plan is for the store to be open year-round.
It’s also not like a traditional retail store where there can be five copies of the same item, Cory Steenbergen said.
A large majority of the items inside the store are handmade or redone by the couple. Sometimes they order things to make the props, but almost everything else is handmade.
“Everything from the electric chairs to the guillotines and the hearse that we’re going to have here is all handmade by me,” Scott Steenbergen said. “I’m the guy who does it; I love the science behind it all. They’re all wood except for my buddy who cuts the metal for me.
He’s also working on lighting some objects and setting up animatronics, he said.
Cory Steenbergen does all of the vinyl engravings, paintings and signs. The couple also go to garages to get second-hand items to use as accessories, Scott Steenbergen said.
The goal of Greenwood Happy Haunts is to bring more happiness to fall and Halloween, as it’s not always seen as a positive holiday. That’s why the store is called Happy Haunts, said Cory Steenbergen.
“We’re just trying to…bring people happiness,” she said.
Scott Steenbergen has big dreams for the business and hopes it will continue to grow and perhaps even become a tourist attraction for Greenwood. In his eyes, it doesn’t seem like kids and families have a lot to do in Johnson County, so he hopes this business will bring people in, he said.
“I’m hoping to become a bit of a tourist with all the animatronics and props and then sell stuff…and be able to keep making stuff,” he said.
Another goal is to expand the store to include the entire building, so customers can browse the entire building, back and forth, surrounded by animatronic displays and props for sale, he said. declared.
The couple were approached by photographers who asked if they could use the Steenbergens backyard as a location for Halloween and fall-themed photoshoots.
“I never imagined someone would ask me about this, but I’m ready to do it,” Scott Steenbergen said.
The Steenbergens also considered doing “spooky readings” where someone walks in and reads ghost stories to anyone interested. Another idea is to have a place where local ghost hunters can come and share their stories, Cory Steenbergen said.
Cory and Scott Steenbergen are also ghost hunters and plan to have their group, Past, Present, Future Investigations, or PPFI, use the store as their headquarters, Cory Steenbergen said. The group is primarily interested in finding out about people’s stories, the history of things and being respectful about it, she said.
The public has already shown a lot of interest in the store. Since Cory Steenbergen launched the store’s Facebook page and people started sharing information about the store in local social media groups, she and Scott Steenbergen have been surprised by the reactions, they said.
The interest is not only online, but also in person. Members of a local corvette club asked when the store would open so they could visit, and passers-by stopped to peek through the windows. Some people even took photos in front of the mannequins placed in front of the windows, the couple said.
“We were really surprised at the support we had, I mean between family and friends, of course, but for the community,” Cory Steenbergen said. “It’s been really welcoming and we hope it continues that way.”
Scott Steenbergen hopes the public will appreciate. He and his wife have a passion for Halloween, and this is their way of sharing that passion.
“I just want to put smiles on people’s faces,” Cory Steenbergen said.
Scott Steenbergen replied, “Yeah, me too.”
IF YOU ARE GOING TO
What: Greenwood Happy Haunts Grand Opening
When: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday
Where: 248 Market Plaza, Greenwood