STERLING – Some locally owned businesses are opening their doors early this weekend to appeal to Black Friday shoppers.
Air Play Sports and Espresso is opening on Thanksgiving for the first time this year, partly to accommodate Black Friday shoppers, co-owner Rich McNinch said.
The cafe and sporting goods store will open at 11 p.m. Thanksgiving and stay open until 9 p.m. Friday to participate in the monthly Fourth Friday events.
While acknowledging that “the Black Friday experience over the years has grown through infamy,” McNinch said you may as well be caffeinated if you’re going to stand in line and be out late.
The cafe is hoping to draw people staying in town for the holidays and people on their way to shop, in and out of town, he said.
“We’ll be running the espresso machine, having pajama dance parties and hoping it’ll be a success,” he said.
Accents in Northland Mall will open a little later than the cafe, at midnight on Black Friday morning.
Owner Margaret Zumdahl said she is hoping business will be increased from last year’s Black Friday by about 5 percent to 10 percent.
“I think the mall has advertised it more,” she said. “People are realizing they don’t have to go out of town for the midnight special.”
But 51 businesses across the Sauk Valley will participate in Small Business Saturday, organized by Sauk Valley Shop Small.
“We’re looking forward to an even bigger and better Small Business Saturday than last year,” organizer Janna Groharing said.
About 70 business participated last year in Small Business Saturday, and overall business owners said their foot traffic and sales increased from previous years, Groharing said.
Peggy Squires of Sterling plans to shop for two TVs and a computer on Black Friday. Squires said she often uses store’s websites and e-mails to find deals.
K-Mart Assistant Manager Martha Martens said she has seen a trend of more shoppers this year using the chain’s website to shop for good deals, and then buying them in the store and or using online information to determine which stores to visit first on Black Friday.
Shoes, toys, and DVDs, as well as TVs, are big sellers at K-Mart on Black Friday, but the main thing on most people’s minds during the big shopping day is shopping for others, she said.
“Their focus is where they’re going to get gifts,” she said.
K-Mart will having a “triple buster” this year, meaning the store will be open twice on Thanksgiving, from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. and from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m.; and open Black Friday from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.
“I expect things to be crazy,” Martens said.
Some chain stores in the area are opening early Friday. Menards in Sterling will open at 5 a.m. and JC Penny will open at 6 a.m.
Scott Penning, manager at Menards, said consumers might be more likely to spend their money because a presidential election recently took place.
“Everybody has a better idea what direction the president is taking us I guess,” he said.
JC penny Manager Clay Phillips said he thinks Black Friday will have a “great turnout.”
“I’m hoping it’s going to be better [than last year],” he said. “I’m hoping and thinking it’s going to be a good holiday season.”
Consignment stores such as Plus Size Boutique in Rock Falls and Marceille’s in Dixon have reported that they have had plenty of customers looking for bargains.
Judy Randall, owner of Plus Size Boutique, said her consignment shop will not participate in a Black Friday sale because she “can’t keep up as it is,” with customer demand.
“We have been busy nonstop,” she said.
Her customers are looking for good deals, she said.
“If we make it too high, people walk out,” she said.
Marceille Pritchard, owner of Marceille’s, said so many people are looking for low prices that buying used has become more socially acceptable.
“People do not want to pay retail, they wait for the sale,” she said.
Pritchard is participating in Small Business Saturday, offering a free gift to customers who buy $20 or more.
“I’m hoping they come downtown to see what this town has to offer,” she said. “I am hoping this will be better than last year.”
Go to www.saukvalleyshopsmall.com for a list of participating merchants, stores and other information.