Enter Philadelphia's Web-based TicketLeap agency. TicketLeap boss Chris Stanchak started sending teams to work the haunted-housing industry's yearly conclaves, sponsoring events and trolling for business, Barry Schieferstein, organizer of the Ohio-based Midwest Haunters' Convention, told me.
Kopelman checked the price, learned TicketLeap sold for the big pop-culture show ComiCon, and switched to TicketLeap. "I'm paying them around $2 a ticket," he told me. "And they are proactive. They call you back. They ask for a list of anything you want improved. I don't see Ticketmaster doing anything like that."
Other operators of haunted-house attractions, from Robert Dudzieck's Philadelphia-based Fright Factory to Shane Dabbs' Alabama-based Disturbia attraction, said they have signed on with TicketLeap, too.
Kopelman says sales are up: "Partly it's because people are more comfortable buying tickets online now. But also they - TicketLeap - have good integration with iPhones, so they can sell mobile tickets," which is how more and more shock-seekers choose to buy.
Plans are reduced
Supervalu Inc., the giant grocery operator that owns the formerly dominant Acme supermarket chain in Philadelphia, among others, has cut its national plans to open cut-rate Save-A-Lot groceries by half, to 90 outlets or less in 2012, boss Craig Herkert told investors last week.
The move follows decisions by Home Depot and other chains to slow new-store growth, given sluggish U.S. demand (in contrast to growing Internet sales).
Instead, Supervalu "will reallocate capital" to cut trucking and energy costs, and to "freshen our retail stores," renovating around 85 stores this year, 20 more than previously projected, Herkert said.
Philadelphia-area commercial property broker David Goodman, who posts the Running with Equity Retail blog, notes Supervalu has cut store openings as Amazon.com is preparing an online grocery service. As my colleague Maria Panaritis wrote last week, Giant Food L.L.C. supermarkets are also moving orders online.
Brandywine Realty Trust, already the leading high-rise office landlord in Center City, has foreclosed and acquired the 200,000-square foot, 60 percent-occupied office building at 3020 Market St., between its Cira Centre and 30th Street Post Office properties, cementing Brandywine's presence in higher-rent University City.
"Our game is to invest capital" and find more tenants, Brandywine chief Jerry Sweeney told me.
Analysts who follow Brandywine seem fine with the Radnor firm's Philadelphia bargain-hunting, but some are nervous about its other big market, Washington's Virginia suburbs. That area is "burdened by defense contractor space contractions and federal government belt-tightening," writes John W. Guinee at Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., Inc.
Metro Philly and suburban Washington are "not as good as New York, Boston or San Francisco, but better than Dallas, Atlanta, Phoenix, etc." writes William A. Crow at Raymond James & Associates, Inc.
Contact columnist Joseph N. DiStefano at 215-854-5194, JoeD@phillynews.com or @PhillyJoeD on Twitter.