Little guys pass on Black Thursday in SLO County

Various national retailers may be opening their doors on Thanksgiving, but the trend has not carried over to small local merchants

sdaniel@thetribunenews.comNovember 22, 2011 

JOE JOHNSTON — jjohnston@thetribunenews.com Buy Photo

Black Thursday is replacing Black Friday among national retailers hoping to get a jump on holiday shopping, but local merchants say it doesn’t make sense for them to open early on Thanksgiving Day and try to compete with the big-box stores.

“We find that the big rush at Thanksgiving and Black Friday is not for appliances,” said Gabe Hedges, assistant manager at Idler’s Appliances, which has stores in San Luis Obispo, Atascadero and Paso Robles.

MacSuperstore in San Luis Obispo will take Thursday off. But in order to recoup some of the shopping excitement that Black Friday creates, the Apple products shop began offering discounts in advance of the holiday.

“We started a seven-day sale on Nov. 18 leading up to Black Friday,” said Josh Ernstrom, MacSuperstore’s customer experience manager. That way, Ernstrom said, employees can spend Thanksgiving at home with their families, and the store didn’t have to miss out on any sales.

At Beverly’s Fabric and Crafts in downtown San Luis Obispo, employees are gearing up for a busy holiday shopping season — but it won’t begin until Friday. “We will be closed for Thanksgiving,” said manager Tamara Bailie. “We’ve never been open on Thanksgiving. That’s a time for family. We will open about 30 minutes early on Friday, though.”

Retailers use early openings to entice shoppers with special deal prices that are only good for a limited time, or only apply to a limited amount of merchandise per store. The hope is once a shopper is inside the store, that person will end up spending more.

The trend of ever-earlier kickoffs to holiday shopping doesn’t sit well with everyone. “It’s Thanksgiving. That’s a time that should be spent with family and friends,” said Norma Moye, executive director for the Paso Robles Main Street Association. Moye said as far as she knows, most locally owned businesses in Paso Robles, with the exception of a few restaurants, will be closed to observe the holiday. “Taking people away from their families and making them work on Thanksgiving is insane! Oh, those poor employees.”

When it comes to the national chains and their holiday retail tactics, Moye said, “I hope they rot! I hope they don’t get any business.”

Big-box stores and mega retailers aren’t the only ones getting a jump-start on holiday buying. Bell ringers with The Salvation Army are already accepting donations.

“For the last couple of years we’ve had people out the week of Thanksgiving, but this is the earliest we’ve ever started taking donations,” said Patricia Torres, Salvation Army ministry leader in San Luis Obispo. “There just seems to be much more of a need right now, and people are starting their holiday shopping earlier, so we’re taking advantage of the crowds out there.”

WHO'S OPENING WHEN

Thanksgiving Day openings

Kmart in Atascadero and Arroyo Grande 6 a.m.

Old Navy in San Luis Obispo 9 a.m.

Select stores in the Pismo Beach Premium Outlets 9 p.m.

Walmart in Arroyo Grande and Paso Robles 10 p.m.

Friday morning openings

Best Buy in San Luis Obispo Midnight

Target in San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles Midnight

Sears in San Luis Obispo 4 a.m.

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