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Grand Opening Planning Guide

Grand Opening Planning Guide

Timeline, Agenda and Editor's Advisory Sample

A grand opening is a great way to call attention to your business. Grand openings are held for new or re-furbished buildings, for new business ownership, for new business location/s and for opening or re-opening a business.

Grand openings are events, and as with any event,planning the key to success.

Set the goal

It is important to know the goal of your grand opening.

  • Is it to attract media attention?
  • Attract customers?
  • Attract sponsors?
  • Develop contacts (email/mail/social media)?
  • Show off/demonstrate products or services?

Note: if attracting media attention is part of your goal, think about what would be visually interesting to the TV viewer or print photographer. Traditional ribbon cutting works well when the ribbon cutter is a celebrity or well-known industry leader. Kids / or animals always make good visuals. (Be sure to get photo releases).

Set the time and date.

  • Can people can easily lmake time to attend?
  • Do they have to take off work to get there?
  • Is it a holiday?
  • Is the favorite team playing?
  • Is the location easy to find?
  • Is traffic an issue?
  • Is your opening conflicting with an major events or festivals?

Explore ideas that help assure visitiors and employees enjoy the experience. 


  • Caliber of attendance: representatives from mayor, governor, media, business leaders, customers, chambers of commerce, celebrities. 
  • Program with good content.
  • Visual presentation lending itself to TV coverage.
  • Catering.
  • Prizes / samples.
  • Music or other entertainment.
  • Balloons or other party decor.
  • Sponsor / vendor-coop (Example: free Coke station from local Coca-Cola distributor). 

Anticipate Problems



  • Deadlines too short. 
  • Building not ready. 
  • INternal communication network not set up. 
  • Opening program too long.
  • No TV visuals.
  • Premature news release/advertising.

Develop a timeline

3 months prior: 

  • Identify goal. 
  • Identify time / locations. 
  • Identify invitees. 

Develop mailing lists for: 

  • Medai outlets. 
  • Business / goverment leaders / celebrities.
  • Potential / current customers / vendors. 


  • Speakers. 
  • Entertainment.
  • Sponsors / co-op vendors.
  • Discuss budget

2 months prior 

The following are identified and confirmed: 

  • Caterer
  • Audio / visual / florist / other vendors.
  • Speakers.
  • Entertainment.
  • Invitation list complete.


  • Needed press materials/ printing / photo needs, etc.
  • Needed advertising materials, placement.


  • Sponsors / co-op vendors. 
  • Approve budget. 

6 weeks prior:

Send Save the date announcements to guest list (mail/email/social media). 

1 month prior:

  • Onsite visit to grand opening location, meet with vendors. 
  • Menu set. 
  • Grand opening materials prepared, i.e., press kits, talking points / prizes / drawing.
  • Ads placed. 
  • Parking / speical needs / entertainment / speaker requirements met. 
  • Suggested agenda prepared.

3 weeks prior

  • Finalize agenda
  • Send initial press materials.
  • Send grand opening invitations (mail / email / social media). 

2 weeks prior 

  • Follow up with press
  • Follow up with key invitees

1 week prior

  • Follow up with press. 
  • Follow up with key speakers / coach as needed. 
  • Final checks on site - sound, lights, seating, catering set-up. 
  • Final checks on drawings / prizes / decor. 
  • Assemble press kits / photos for on-site / Internet distribution to media. 
  • Assemble information kits for distribution to other guests. 
  • Alert clip services for print and video. 

1 week following

  • Follow up with media. 
  • Schedule debrief.
  • Write thank you notes. 

Grand Opening Agenda Example

4:00 Doors open

4:30 All ribbon cutting participants arrive: 

  • Company owner / CEO.
  • Representative: Governor's office of buisiness development.
  • Representative: Mayor's office of economic development.  

5:25 Owner/CEO welcomes crowd and makes brief remarks about company.


5:30  Owner/CEO introduces Director of Business Development for the  Governor’s Office.


5: 31  Brief remarks byDirector of Business Development for the  Governor’s Office(1-2 minutes).


5:33  Owner/CEO introduces , Director of the Mayor’s office of economic development.


5:34 Brief remarks by Director of the Mayor’s office of economic development(1-2  minutes).


5:36  Three participants move to ribbon.Directors each hold one end of  ribbon.Owner/CEO cuts ribbon.


5:38 Catering stations open, musical entertainment begins.


7:00 Event ends.



Information contact:Loretta Young, XYZ Company Communications Director,; 303-333-3333.

XYZ Company will host approximately 200 dignitaries and guests at its ribbon cutting Thursday, Sept. 30 at its new location, 410 Lowry St. from 4-7 p.m. Special interactive displays and demonstrations along with website building and other-business applications will be on hand.

Cutting ribbon at approximately 5 p.m. will be John Jones, Director of Business Development Governor’s Office of Innovation & Technology; Bill Smith, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Education and Child; XYZ CEO Martin Martin. The public is invited to attend.


Based in City/Town since 1984 with US corporate headquarters in Denver, XYZ Company plans to hire 2000 website developers and e-business specialists over the next three years. 


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