U.S. - An annual reminder that summer is coming to an end is the appearance of Spirit Halloween stores temporarily taking over unused storefronts. This year, the seasonal retailer is taking advantage of one the country's most vacant spaces - its churches.
"Normally we have to hunt to find places to lease for the fall, but this year, we've got our pick of the litter," said Spirit CEO Steven Silverstein. "All these churches are giving us tons of options for places to set up shop. They've all got ample parking, great lighting, and thanks to the mandated shutdowns, they're all available."
Pastors and administrators are pleased that their unused churches are finally getting some attention.
"We certainly liked the idea of getting a little revenue while the church is shut down," said Scott Leatherman, pastor of Grace Community in Des Moines. "And of course, we get the 'Spirit' religious connection, too. It's a win-win!"
Other church facilitators only allowed the company to take over if they agreed to certain guidelines.
"We were pretty firm that unless they stocked a Martin Luther costume, our answer was 'no,'" said Pastor Andrew Collins of Grace Lutheran Church in Green Bay.
Many of the churches have already signed deals to rent the space out again next year.