Retail titans such as Wal-Mart and Best Buy will kick off Black Friday sales earlier than ever this year, with at least one store welcoming holiday shoppers as early as 8 p.m. Thursday night.
Local retailers, however, are largely eschewing such marketing strategies, preferring to wait until Friday after Thanksgiving to start their holiday season.
Baillio’s, 3294 Cerrillos Road, tried to compete with the big boxes last year by opening earlier than usual. But early-morning sales were lackluster, said Robert Kujath, president of the family-owned company. Customers filtered in throughout the day, as usual. In the end, Kujath said, it was a busy day but not a particularly profitable one.
This year, he said, the company’s stores will open at 8 a.m.
Many of Baillio’s Black Friday deals are dictated by product manufacturers, meaning prices for some items are the same everywhere. But the first retailer open often takes the lion’s share of those sales, Kujath said.
Regardless, he said, he was not going to make his employees work on Thanksgiving.
“We didn’t feel like that’s the right thing to do,” he said. “It really comes back to doing the right thing for employees. We made sure that we don’t cross that line.”
Larry Keller has been running the Design Warehouse, 101 W. Marcy St., for 31 years, and he described Black Friday as a kickoff for the holiday shopping to come.
His shop usually installs an elaborate window display. A couple of years ago, the store created an image of Lady Gaga with thousands of colored straws. This year, the display is an homage to Thomas Wolfe’s collection of essays titled The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby. Meow Wolf artists are constructing a model of a “custom car” covered in candy.
Inside, Keller doesn’t offer any huge doorbusters. Herman Miller furniture will be 15 percent off, but that’s a mandate passed down from the manufacturer. What he does deliver is a warm welcome — and free espresso, he said. “And no one’s allowed to ask, ‘May I help you?’ It’s a cliché, and 99 percent of the time it’s met with a ‘no’ anyway.”
His prices, he added, are aggressive enough to compete with retailers such as Crate & Barrel.
Darby McQuade said Black Friday has historically been busy for Jackalope, 2820 Cerrillos Road, even though it probably isn’t the first store shoppers visit.
“We don’t sell refrigerators or normal clothing,” McQuade said. “We cater to people looking for unusual things and fun things.”
Included in that list are New Mexico items such as chile ristras or piñon incense, which McQuade said are top sellers. Also, Jackalope will sell Christmas trees — both cut and potted — and lots of candy by local producers.
Jackalope opens at its usual time of 9 a.m., and it, too, has forgone doorbusters, McQuade said. There will be deals, but they won’t be as loud.
Look What the Cat Dragged In, 2570 Camino Entrada, on the other hand, is opening Friday at 7:30 a.m., and store manager Madison Flanagan said everything will be 50 percent off.
She said the resale store had stockpiled plenty of donations during the month of November to ensure quality goods were available come Friday. She also will have more volunteers on hand to help with increased customer traffic.
The Black Friday sale functions as a thank you to those shoppers, and it’s also her attempt to reach new customers.
“A lot of people forget about us,” she said. “And we’re trying to get people to utilize resale stores a little more. They can get just as good deals as if they went to Dillard’s.”
Flanagan added that customers also frequent the store because they know their money benefits the Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society.
On Friday afternoon, the Squirrel Market will host artists with handmade goods from 5 to 8 p.m at 1200 Hickox St. Kate Noble, with the city’s Economic Development Division, said the goal is to get people to think about where their money goes and how it can benefit locals.
“Money spent in the local economy supports the local economy,” Noble said.
She pointed out that even shopping at the local Wal-Mart instead of buying online can be seen to benefit the local economy, because it it helps support a local job.
Despite efforts to encourage local buying, some Santa Feans say they still do the majority of their shopping online — because they prefer to avoid crowds and they like the wider variety of goods.
Interviewed at the DeVargas Center, Jerry Lutzker said he’s not at the point in his life where he’ll wait outside a store to grab a good deal. He added that he likes shopping in real stores, but that the selection of goods in Santa Fe is limited.
Others, such as Nevanne Merrill, said it’s easier and cheaper to shop on Amazon.com, while shopper Katrina Karver said online shopping keeps her away from the crowds.
Jennifer Weil said the lack of civility keeps her from shopping on Black Friday. She did add that if she went shopping that day, she would prefer to support local businesses.
“I didn’t even think that local stores did anything for Black Friday,” she said. “I guess I thought it was just the national chains.”
Contact Chris Quintana at 986-3093 or firstname.lastname@example.org.