UNION — Black Friday is an opportunity for the people of Union County to “spend locally” and “spend local” and keep more of their money in their community, according to Torance Inman, Union County Chamber of Commerce executive director.
Black Friday is the name given to the Friday after Thanksgiving Day and is considered the kick off to the Christmas shopping season.
In anticipation of the large number customers that often begin their Christmas shopping on Black Friday, many retailers open early Friday morning. Some, however, remain open overnight and do not close their doors until the end of the Friday business day.
“Retailers nationwide offer extra discounts and sales to kick off the Christmas shopping season and to draw customers into their stores,” Inman said. “Some will start as early as 12:01 a.m. Friday morning. This year, some are even trying to get a jump on Black Friday by staying open and offering discounts as early as Thanksgiving Day.”
Barry Medford, Wal Mart general manager, said for Black Friday the store will open at 7 a.m. Thursday and remain open until midnight Friday.
Gwen Ganzaroli, Belk store manager, said Belk will open at midnight Thursday and give away gift cards to the first 250 customers, one of whom will win a $1,000 gift card. She said the first 250 customers waiting in line will be each given a number by store staff and then will be given their card when they enter the store.
Phillip Lemons of Keepsake Jeweler said that while the store will open at its regular time of 9:15 a.m. on Friday, it will remain open as long as there are customers.
Inman said Black Friday gives Union County residents an opportunity to not only start shopping for Christmas, but to “shop locally” and “shop local.” He said by doing so, residents can save money, support the local business community and keep more of their dollars in the local economy where it can benefit the county.
“There are a lot of opportunities to shop locally and to shop local, there’s a difference between the two,” Inman said. “Shopping locally refers to buying from stores in your community whereas shopping local is buying from a locally-owned small business.”
Inman said shopping at the local branch of a national chain and shopping at a locally-owned business both keep a significant portions of the dollar spent by the consumer in their community.
“Some economists say that 43 percent of every dollar spent in a national chain store remains in the local economy,” Inman said. “Of every dollar spent at a locally-owned business, 68 percent stays in the local economy. So the impact of spending locally and spending local is significant.”
Inman said that the business community can play a decisive role in helping convince Union County residents to spend their money locally rather than go out of the county.
“Most shoppers buy based on price and convenience, therefore it’s prudent for the local businesses to provide goods and services that consumers want at a competitive price,” he said. “Many people enjoy the shopping experience and will go to the larger cities and malls for the variety they offer.
“What’s needed to keep our dollars here more is for the locally-owned businesses to provide variety and price that will get local residents to look here first for a lot of their traditional items that can be purchased from locally-owned businesses,” he said. “It’s one thing to drive to a larger city or mall to acquire items that are not available locally and incur the cost of doing so. It’s another thing to drive to a larger city or mall to purchase items that can be purchased locally because by the time you add in the expense of gas and things like stopping to eat, any savings you hoped to realize from going out of town have been lost. It pays to shop locally and shop local.”
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at email@example.com.