Local shopkeepers see green following ‘Black Friday’

By Lacey Peterson, The Union Democrat December 01, 2011 07:51 am

    Initial reports put Black Friday sales at $11.4 billion nationwide, a seven percent increase over 2010, something area shopkeepers hoped to capitalize on with doorbuster giveaways and discounts for “locals.”
    “Black Friday is mostly for the big stores, but we’ve been busy,” said Rick Hoppe, owner of Downtown Shoes in Sonora.
    The store utilized social media networking and e-mail lists to offer customer discounts, and stayed open until 9 p.m. Friday during the Christmas Parade.
    Hoppe said his only concern was that Washington Street was closed to parking from 2 p.m. because of the parade.
       “It’s the biggest shopping day of the year,” he explained. “(but) It’s been a pretty good day so far.”
    Western-wear and uniform supplier Let ‘Er Buck started its holiday sales for the season and are offering an additional 10 percent off to “locals,” said owner Laurie Lyons on Friday.
    All fall items were half off at Sonora’s “Favorite” Kitchen Store and customers waited in line for an hour, for the hour-early opening of Addictions, spray tan and fashion boutique in Sonora.
    Addictions owner Sarah Anderson said the first 15 customers were awarded “doorbuster” savings of 40 percent off one item and a goodie bag of scarves, headbands and jewelry.
    “It was fun. There has been a steady flow of people all day,” Anderson said.
    Many Calaveras County residents had the idea to shop local Friday as well.
    Middleton’s in Angels Camp offered sales all week and the late film producer David Gerber estate sale in Angels Camp to benefit Mark Twain St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation sold half the items in the first hour, said Paul Mundy who was managing the sale.
    Shoppers were just as enthusiastic in Arnold at the Calaveras County Humane Society Thrift Store, said manager Jenni Rolland.
    “It’s absolutely over our wildest expectations,” she said. “People are really happy.”
    The store was packed wall to wall at 10 a.m., Rolland said.
    The staff started saving donated items in September and generous donors really made the day a success, Rolland said.
    A woman donated an entire box of new Carhart brand clothing, that sold instantly, Rolland said.
    “We had a line out the door,” Rolland said Friday afternoon.
    Shoppers spent $1 billion more at retail stores and malls compared to last year, according to a Saturday report from ShopperTrak. It was the largest amount ever spent on the day that marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season, and the biggest year-over-year increase since 2007. Chicago-based ShopperTrak gathers data from 25,000 outlets across the U.S., including individual stores and shopping centers.
    Online shopping was strong as well, with a 24.3 percent increase in online spending on Black Friday, according to IBM, which tracks sales of 500 online retailers.
    Thanksgiving weekend, Black Friday in particular, is huge for retailers.
    Last year, the Thanksgiving shopping weekend accounted for 12.1 percent of overall holiday sales. Black Friday made up about half of that.

    The Associated Press contributed to this story.