For Cuozzo, the holiday season begins in the spring. Ideally, that's when Urban Holiday starts the planning process with retailers.
"We love to have a conversation starting in March, but that doesn't always happen," Cuozzo said. "If we're hitting July or August, it's getting late. Some of these programs take months to coordinate."
Projects range from exterior lights that blanket the front of buildings to window displays featuring classic holiday scenes. The company has built multistory Christmas trees made entirely of lights and elaborate winter scenes in Times Square to promote the launch of blockbuster children's movies. A moderate exterior facade typically costs a retailer $150,000 to $300,000, Cuozzo said, and the average window display costs $20,000 to $40,000.
Although the months leading up to the holiday season are, by far, the busiest for Urban Holiday, it offers its services year-round. The company also has done Fourth of July and Mother's Day displays.
Sometimes, clients approach Urban Holiday with specific ideas about the design they want and an artist's rendering in hand, Cuozzo said. In many other cases, Urban Holiday handles all the design work.
"A lot of times, they'll come to us and say, 'We have no idea.' They'll say one word, like 'Christmas,'" he said. "Then, everyone sits down with the client. Production people, sales people, the creative team — everybody has design input."
Once the client has approved the design, the logistical challenges begin. There are tasks like figuring out how much garland will cover a certain amount of square footage. There's the job of ordering materials from overseas, which can take three or four months to produce and ship, and making sure they arrive on time. There's coordination to be done with outside engineers, fabricators and installers.
"We pull a lot of parts together to make the whole," Cuozzo said.
The installation is the shortest part of the process, lasting between one and five nights on average, depending on the scale of the project.
Cuozzo credits his sales teams with establishing relationships with major retailers and winning their business. Urban Holiday's business tripled in its second year, he said. The visual world is small, Cuozzo said, but there's a lot of turnover, which means the sales team is constantly building and rebuilding relationships.
Like most business owners, Cuozzo is hoping for continued growth. But he wants to go about it strategically, controlling the pace.
"I don't want to grow too fast because that's counterproductive," Cuozzo said. Instead, he'll grow his business one window, one installation at a time while making sure to perfect every detail before moving on to the next.