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It's beginning to look a lot like shopping season

Posted: November 27, 2011 - 12:12am
Michael Studt knits to draw attention to his and his wife's display of knitted goods at their booth, TP Alaska Designs, at the Public Market at Centennial Hall on Friday.  Michael Penn/Juneau Empire
Michael Penn/Juneau Empire
Michael Studt knits to draw attention to his and his wife's display of knitted goods at their booth, TP Alaska Designs, at the Public Market at Centennial Hall on Friday.

The day after Thanksgiving in Juneau and across the nation shoppers could be thankful for discounts, and retailers can be thankful for shoppers. Friday had the trappings of a successful start to the holiday shopping season.

“Things went well this morning,” said Jack Lewis, Sales Associate at Southeast Furniture Warehouse.

The Warehouse “sold lots of gotta gobble it up, gotta go stuff,” Lewis said referring to the furniture store’s Gobble Up This Deal sale. Southeast Furniture did not start its sale until 10 a.m., Lewis said.

Although the day was going well for Southeast Furniture, Lewis said he didn’t yet know if sales were better than in 2010.

“We’ll be here until seven tonight counting up receipts,” Lewis said.

While some stores around the nation opened again this year at 4 a.m., others tried a new strategy and opened at the earliest possible moment, at midnight Friday morning. Although some Juneau stores opened early on Friday, many opened at regular hours.

Wes Cassell of Juneau and his wife came downtown to visit the Public Market.

He said they did not get up extra early for the after-Thanksgiving sales. “No, we did not do that,” Cassell said.

“We thought the public market started at (9 a.m.) so we hit that at nine and evidently it stated at noon,” Cassell said. “So we came over here because we were going to go to Shoefly too, and then to Capital Cafe. Then we’ll take it easy,” he said.

Cassell said his spending this holiday season will probably match last year.

“Not a huge Christmas, but the money will probably be flowing about the same,” Cassell said.

Amy Robison of Douglas drove downtown to shop a sale at Peer Amid Beads. She said she didn’t rush out at 5 a.m. to go shopping on this Black Friday. “Not today, no,” Robison said.

She tries to get out each year to shop after Thanksgiving “when I have the funds,” Robison said. However, Robison said she has different plans for holiday spending this year.

“We’re going to go see family instead of the presents this year,” Robison said.

One downtown store decided to skip Black Friday sales all together. Sydney Mitchell, co-owner of Shoefly, said that her downtown retail store opted instead to start its holiday specials on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 26. Small Business Saturday sits between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, annual booming shopping days for big brick-and-mortar retailers and online retailers respectively.

Small Business Saturday is a day dedicated to shopping at small, local stores.

Mitchell said she did send a “super secret Thanksgiving email” to her Shoefly Sugar Club.

“We wanted to say thank you to our really good customers,” she said.

However, even without special sales, Mitchell said this year’s Black Friday topped last year’s.

“It was a good day,” Mitchell said. “We saw lots of good customers of ours that came in.”

Mitchell said many of her customers visited the Public Market and then walked over to her store. “We got to chit-chat and admire different shoes and hats,” she said. “It seems holiday-ish today.”

Jon Stearns, Greta Stearns and Kristen Wells were shopping together Friday morning at the Nugget Mall. It was their first Black Friday, Jon Stearns said.

“We came to go to JoAnn’s and we’re buying socks at the Nugget,” Stearns said. Stearns was referring to Jo-Ann Fabrics and Craft Store and Nugget Alaskan Outfitters.

The socks are for Greta’s first Christmas. In particular it was Jo-Ann’s fabric sale that brought the family to the Nugget Mall Friday morning, Well said.

The family plans to spend less on gifts this year and instead take the family to Hawaii.

“Christmas and the kids’ birthdays are around the holidays. That’s our Christmas and birthdays,” Stearns said.

Nation-wide, Black Friday sales were up from 2010. Online sales showed particular growth, up by 23 percent from 2010, according to the Merchant Retail eCommerce Performance Index. All retail sales increased by 10 percent to 14 percent this year according to an early estimate by America’s Research Group.

• Contact reporter Russell Stigall at 523-2276 or at russell.stigall@juneauempire.com.

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