Shop Talk: Foy’s
If you walk down Main Street in any town in the United States, chances are you’ll be seeing a lot of mom-and-pop shops, maybe a diner or saloon, and at least one post office. But if you walk down Main Street in Fairborn, Ohio, you’ll see five mom-and-pop costume shops and a diner; all owned by the same mom and pop. Because Fairborn is the home of a costume king, along with his queen and their prince.
Michael Foy was born and raised in Fairborn and grew up seeing his family name on the storefront of a 5 & 10 on Main Street. His grandfather opened the shop 90 years ago in 1929, just before the stock market crash. The shop survived both that crash and the recessions that followed, and it’s now a thriving Halloween shop called Foy’s Variety Halloween Store. It’s a 4,300 square-foot mecca for all things Halloween located just outside Dayton, Ohio. In the 1950s, party supplies were added. The ‘60s saw costume additions, with an expansion to two new locations centered around costumes in the ‘90s: Foy’s Costume Store in 4,000 square feet of space, and Foy’s Kids Costume Store taking up 2,900 square feet. “Our saying is, if Foy’s doesn’t have it, you don’t need it,” said Michael Foy when we spoke of the empire his family has built.
Numbers are a big thing in the Foy family. His son will be the fourth generation to run this shop, making him the heir to the mid-Ohio Halloween throne. Six is the total number of shops they own along Main Street, and 23,700 is the total square-footage of these shops. The largest of these, is Foy’s Haunted House supply store, offering all haunted house merchandise for homeowners vying for the title of spookiest home on the block during Halloween. Above that, a glow shop and haunted museum that’s open on weekends in October gets visitors excited to celebrate the eeriest season. And the youngest of the collection, at 23 years old, is Foy’s Rock-n-Roll Grill; that diner you see on most Main Streets.
You can find everything in the Foy family’s collection of shops. “We sell thousands of items. At our variety store, we offer every kind of candy you could image from bulk candy (to) penny and nostalgic candies,” said Michael. “We try to carry everything so we are a one-stop shop for our customers.” If they ever run low on their abundance of inventory, they’re not low for very long; they receive two candy deliveries each week.
What can you expect to see if you venture to Fairborn in October? “From September 15 through October 31, we are open seven days a week,” he said. “We have people who drive 12-18 hours to come and visit us during our Halloween season. Being at the same location for 90 years is a big plus for our customers; (they) always know where to find us. (They) bring their families and make a complete day touring our stores, looking at all the decorations and the special attractions all within a short walking distance from our stores.”
They also take part in the Halloween parade and costume contest, zombie walk, and a three-day Halloween block party event, which continues to grow every year. “Local area businesses also prosper from the traffic our store brings to town in September and October, which makes us happy,” said Foy.
Outside of the Halloween season, you can see the Foys involved with the local Chamber of Commerce and as a major sponsor at the town’s annual car show, Easter egg hunt and Fourth of July festivities.