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Seeking their share

February 19. 2013 5:56PM
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Some big box retailers are starting Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving Day in an attempt to stay ahead of their competition. One local small business is trumping the one-day head start by rolling out Black Friday sale prices more than a week early.

Ye Olde Clock & Gift Shoppe in Dallas has offered Black Friday specials for years, but owner Melissa Quinn says to help customers out, she decided to start the sales early.

It‚??s just another way, she said, that small businesses cater to shoppers. In addition, free gift wrapping, layaway and the customer service the store prides itself in are part of the package.

In today‚??s economy, and with savvy shoppers looking for ways to save money and time, Quinn and other local retailers are reminding shoppers that before there were big box stores, mom and pop shops catered to their grandparents and parents with the selection and service they expected.

Simon & Co. Jewelers in Kingston owner Emile Zafrany says small businesses will do whatever they can to compete with the big box national retailers. That means high quality merchandise, unique pieces and catering to long-time and new customers with special orders and even custom crafting.

To Jim Broda, owner of Rebennack‚??s Appliance in Kingston, whatever he can do means free delivery, free removal of old appliances and a knowledgeable sales staff.

Not only are both Kingston businesses opening early for Black Friday and offering once-a-year pricing deals but Zafrany and Broda said their stores will participate in the Nov. 24 Small Business Saturday national sales event. So will Quinn‚??s shop in the Dallas Shopping Center.

Wedged between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday, which began as a promotion by American Express, is in its third year.

Zafrany said the push to support small businesses has been around for longer than the special sales day but it‚??s gained traction in recent years as the struggling economy has forced some small businesses to close up shop. He said competing with big box stores is tough, made harder when consumer dollars are limited.

‚??Support the small businesses. That‚??s the engine of the economy,‚?Ě Zafrany said. ‚??The big box stores, by midnight every day they‚??re transferring their money to a different state. Small businesses ‚?Ľ that money stays here, locally.‚?Ě

Broda agreed and said that while some small businesses have been hurting in recent years, his store has seen sales increases as he‚??s welcomed customers from other stores that have closed and seen an influx of customers unhappy with the service they‚??ve received from national chains.

Broda said the competition between big box and small local stores has gotten to the point where he thinks they both can survive. But he knows in order to compete the little things need to be offered and prices need to be competitive.

So while you might not find a 40-inch Toshiba LCD TV that Best Buy is selling for $180 when the clock strikes midnight on Black Friday, you will find plenty of deals. Broda said a stainless steel dishwasher normally priced at $328 will be marked down to $249, the lowest price of the year.

‚??With this economy we need to compete price wise,‚?Ě Quinn said. ‚??We feel like we‚??re matching the Internet-only businesses and their prices.‚?Ě

At Voitek TV and Appliance, owner Dave Voitek Jr. said manufacturers help out with Black Friday specials that help to move merchandise. He said the stores in Exeter and Kingston will have a ‚??list of items being sold at more than $500 off‚?Ě the regular retail price.

His advantage, Voitek said, is that customers won‚??t have to wait in line for a limited number of specials like the ones big box stores push with their barrages of advertising.

‚??There‚??s nobody camping out,‚?Ě Voitek said. ‚??And we have the TVs you can actually buy.‚?Ě

While other businesses, both big and small, may open early on Friday, Voitek will open at the regular 10 a.m. for what he expects will be a busy day.

On Small Business Saturday, Rebennack‚??s Appliance will offer discounts to shoppers who mention the sales event, but won‚??t hold a large scale promotion. Voitek and Ye Olde Gift Shoppe are still finalizing plans for that day.


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