Cover Story

“Shop & Give Back” at the Pen Centre

Niagara`s shopping destination holds annual Behind Closed Doors sales event to support several
local charities.

This fall, the Pen Centre in St. Catharines is holding a special exclusive “after hours” private shopping party―and you`re invited!
The Pen`s annual “Behind Closed Doors” will be taking place on Saturday, September 10th from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. and there`ll be plenty of fun and excitement for Niagara shopaholics. For only $5, customers can take advantage of special one-time sales promotions, over $5,000 in door prizes, and enjoy live entertainment.
Feeling snackish at the event? No problem. The first 100 ticketholders will be able to take part in a special “Get Paid to Eat” offer. Shoppers who make a purchase in the food court or any of Pen Centre`s food retailers can redeem their receipts at Guest Services to get the full value―up to $15―back in Pen Centre Gift Cards. And if all that wasn`t enough, Pen Centre is giving one lucky shopper a Pen Centre $1,000 shopping spree! Customers can just fill out the ballot on the ticket and deposit it at the event for their chance to win.
One of the most important features of Behind Closed Doors is that several participating charities will receive 100% of the funds raised through their own ticket sales, and an equal share from the tickets sold at the Pen Centre. This year, seven Niagara area charities will be taking part in Behind Closed Doors: Distress Centre Niagara, Education Foundation of Niagara, Lincoln County Humane Society, OneFoundation for Niagara Health System, Autism Ontario―Niagara Region Chapter, YWCA Niagara Region, and St. John Ambulance―Niagara Region Branch.
Helen Edwards, marketing director at the Pen Centre, says it`s important to remember that Behind Closed Doors is about more than just “shopping `til you drop.”
“This event is about rewarding yourself with some amazing retail therapy,” she explains, “but it is also a great way to support these local charities that do some amazing things in our community.”
According to Helen, charities undergo a special application process before they can take part in Behind Closed Doors.
“Applicants need to demonstrate they have the resources to sell at least 300 tickets and that all the money raised will be used locally,” she says. “This event also requires a lot of volunteers to help on September 10th and sometimes smaller organizations are unable to meet that requirement.”
Currently managed by 20 VIC Management Inc, the Pen Centre is Niagara`s largest shopping destination with over 180 stores and services for every customer to enjoy.
Although the Pen Centre has been around since 1958, Behind Closed Doors is just entering its second year at The Pen and Helen says the novel idea has caught on in a big way. In 2015 for example, their Behind Closed Doors event was a tremendous success, selling over 2,100 tickets, and raising more than $10,000 for participating charities. Over 1,850 people also attended last year`s event looking to take advantage of all the big deals and exclusive specials.
“It all started a few years ago at one of our properties in Winnipeg called St. Vital,” Helen explains. “This event was so successful that other properties wanted to bring it to their communities and now we`re hosting Behind Closed Doors at five malls across Canada.”
Helen says Behind Closed Doors is a one-of-a-kind experience shoppers can`t afford to miss.
“We`ve sold over 4,000 tickets so far and we`re hoping to sell 6,000,” she says. “Tickets are going fast because people know they won`t have many chances like this.” BL

Pen Centre`s Behind Closed Doors event will take place on Saturday, September 10th from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. (On the day of the event, the doors at Pen Centre will close at 6 p.m. and re-open at 7:30 p.m. for ticketholders.) Tickets are now available through all participating charities or at the Pen Centre`s Guest Services. Admission is $5 in advance or $10 at the door. (Children 10 years of age and under are free.) For more information on Behind Closed Doors, go to