Tales from the road: Celebrating Halloween means more than decorations for one dealer

It started even before I was a Cornwell dealer. I’m into Halloween and I have a friend of mine that does face painting, and it just blossomed from there. All my customers expect it now. My customers now look forward to the new year, and to see what crazy makeup I’m going to put on.

It depends on when Halloween lands, on the calendar, but usually I’ll go to work in full costume. I’ve been a skeleton, I’ve done a zombie. For Halloween faces, you can’t really pinpoint characters. The one recognizable character I did was the Joker. Now, that costume has become the advertisement on the side of the van for the makeup artist, Fabulous Faces by Jen. It was that awesome. She did a great job.

The Halloween parties are the biggest thing for me though. My girlfriend and I always go to the Halloween parties.

I first got into face painting when I went down to a festival in Covington, Ky. Jen was doing faces down there. One thing led to another and she’s been doing my face every year since.

I’ve actually had a couple of my customers contact her after seeing my costumes and she’s done their faces on Halloween.

I always pick out something new. I try to pick something that‘s very challenging for her, but she always comes through every year. She’s been able to nail every look I’ve thrown at her.

The best thing that my customers look forward to is me showing up and being the entertainment of their day. Not just on Halloween either. I try to entertain all year round. They all look forward to coming onto the truck.

My business name is “Elf Tools.” E-L-F, and that stands for “elite line of fine tools.” They always say they look forward to coming on the elf’s truck.

And yes, I have dressed up like the elf. The elf thing was only a one-year deal for Christmas. But for Halloween, I always change it. I’ve got a different face each year. My customers just think it’s fun. They think I’m out of my fricking mind.

During Christmas, I hang Christmas decorations. During Halloween, I’ll hang bats, ghosts and goblins. All that crazy stuff.

I like being the entertainment and the highlight of their day.

Customers also look forward to the games I play on the truck. I’ve got a gumball machine. If my customer can name the color of the ball that comes out, he gets a T-shirt. Or, if he wants, he gets a discount on the purchase of the day.

I’ve played mini Cornhole (a beanbag game) on the truck. I’ve had a slot machine on the truck where you can win tools. I always give prizes away as a raffle. Last year I gave away five 32” plasma TVs.

I love to keep it fun. Customers call my truck the “fun truck.”

Patriotic truck wrap

One of my customers does vehicle wraps. We got to talking, and I got interested in doing something special for my truck. I told him I’d be interested in it because the truck was looking ‘blah.’ I came up with this stars and stripes design, as well as the flag. That’s where it came from. Let’s face it: Cornwell’s American.

I got it done two years ago, and my business went up about 10 or 15 percent after getting the wrap. My customers saw it and loved it. 

Fritz Spohr, owner of Elf Tools, is a Cornwell Quality Tools Dealer in Cinncinati, Ohio.