Big day for local retailers

With the passage of each year, Black Friday takes on new meaning for many people.

Online shopping and increased reliance on home shopping channels have removed some of the frenzy and outright chaos that characterized this day after Thanksgiving — the official start of the Christmas shopping season — in years past.

Today, many people will recall the years when they were standing in a crowd of eager — albeit sleepy-eyed shoppers — at 4 a.m., 5 a.m. or earlier, many times in freezing temperatures or cold precipitation, to ensure they’d be lucky enough to purchase a sought-after gift.

For many shoppers, it was an early morning of camaraderie as well as competition, as those in line engaged in humorous banter about being out so early, when they never would have given a moment’s consideration to being out that early on any other day of the year.

Yes, for many people Black Friday has changed, not only with the online and TV shopping, but also with some retailers holding Black Friday sales events days or weeks before the big day.

Unfortunately, Black Friday has changed in another way. Numerous retailers that had been Black Friday meccas for decades no longer exist here.

Nevertheless, today’s Black Friday shopping remains a big deal — with many great bargains at area stores. And those who venture out to support local merchants won’t have to deal with the uncertainties with which online and TV shopping channel customers deal — such as whether an item shown on TV or online really is as good as what their screens portray.

Shopping at area brick-and-mortar stores removes the waiting for ascertaining the quality and other desired aspects of an item.

Also a good point to remember is that local shoppers don’t have to venture long distances for holiday gifts. In most cases, wanted gifts are available here.

By patronizing local merchants on this, one of the busiest shopping days of the year, local people will help increase the odds that those merchants will be here with Black Friday bargains in 2020.

The local shopping scene witnessed troubling developments this year, such as the closing of the Sears store at the Logan Valley Mall, the demise of the discount shoe chain Payless and troubling news about J.C. Penney, which the Wall Street Journal said in a Jan. 22 headline “faces do-or-die year.”

Meanwhile, longtime family owned local business Dick’s Pharmacy delivered the unhappy news in late October about its impending closing, although Bob Dick, pharmacy president, said the Dick’s Home Care side of the business would remain open.

“Over the last six or seven years we went from a six-figure gross-profit corporation to a $70,000 to $80,000 losing corporation,” he said.

The decision to close “breaks my heart,” he added.

A March 6 Mirror article reported that the 2018 holiday season was a mixed bag for retailers. It said that for the already struggling chains that had been in a slump despite a strong economy, their prospects were expected to become even worse this year.

In some cases, those negative predictions played out.

The challenge this Black Friday is to help area retailers defy whatever troubling uncertainties exist for 2020. The service and dependability those retailers offer are worth the loyalty that area businesses are hoping for today and for the rest of the holiday shopping season.


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