To satisfy pandemic-induced cravings for Butterbeer or to replace the broken wand that has left your life devoid of magic, Warner Bros. opened the doors to its first and only flagship Harry Potter store in New York.
To accommodate fans of the book series, theatrical play and movies, the location boasts three stories and more than 21,000 square feet of retail space.
Given the popularity of Harry Potter-themed entertainment, the store’s operators technically didn’t need to go to great lengths to attract a crowd.
But given all the bells and whistles on offer, it appears the creators of the retail space proverbially rolled out the red carpet for fans.
“Not only will visitors find the largest range of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts products under one roof, they will also get to discover up close some of the hand-crafted props that were seen in the films, use our unique photo opportunities and experience the incredible theming throughout the store,” said Sarah Roots, evp of Warner Bros. Worldwide Tours and Retail, in a statement.
Warner Bros. hopes to captivate customers from the moment they enter the store, where a 220-pound model of Fawkes the Phoenix greets them.
Guests can then indulge their fantasies via full-sensory virtual experiences or “magical adventures” by either joining the house elf Dobby for a sojourn to Hogwarts titled “Chaos at Hogwarts,” or hopping on a flying broom alongside half-giant wizard Hagrid to fight Death Eaters in “Wizards Take Flight.”
For those hankering for a fight, there’s also wand dueling to be had at the store’s interactive wand table.
For refreshments, there’s always the Butterbeer Bar, where customers can order the drink in liquid or ice cream form. Given the sugar highs the kids will be on, it probably won’t be a relaxing experience, however.
Of course, there are also thousands of Harry Potter-themed products for sale, from Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans and Chocolate Frogs to soft toys of magical creatures on display under the Dirigible Plum Tree.
As the economy and stores reopen, retailers will be under pressure to ensure the experiences are not only entertaining, but also safe. In that vein, Harry Potter New York has a virtual queuing system in place via which visitors will scan a QR code to stand in a virtual line. They will then be notified when they can enter the store.
The format offered by Harry Potter in New York and similar concepts are likely to cast the kind of spell retailers need to not only attract customers, but also keep them coming back for more.
According to the announcement, the store is part of an expanding portfolio of properties, or Wizarding World experiences, Warner Bros. is offering, including Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, Warner Bros. Studio Tour Tokyo and the Platform 9 ¾ retail shops.