That could be good news for downtown Pleasanton, which is celebrating "Small Business Saturday" today as part of a national effort to drive shoppers to local merchants.
Thirty Downtown Pleasanton businesses are participating with special discounts on shopping, dining and services. Balloons, stickers, shopping bags, pet bandanas, pens and more will be given to customers throughout the day as a thank you for supporting local businesses. Free photos with Santa are being offered at the Museum on Main located at 603 Main St. from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Black Friday, the traditional day after Thanksgiving when shoppers look for the best buys, proved true to its word yesterday as shopper jammed stores, including Stoneridge Shopping Center.
A breakfast with Santa event scheduled for next Saturday (Dec. 2) at California Pizza Kitchen sold out long ago. In fact, Santa has been waiting to greet good little boys and girls in the mall’s Grand Court since Nov. 4.
The hype for Christmas sales has been building since early October when Costco started selling 9-foot-tall, fully-decorated and lighted artificial trees. Pleasanton’s Walmart wasn’t far behind with its gaily decorated and enclosed yard-goods patio stocked for Christmas, with pre-Black Friday deals started Nov. 9.
Kohl’s in the Metro 580 Center beat the Black Friday nighttime shopping rush by staying open until 11 p.m. every night this week. On Thanksgiving Day, employees and shoppers barely had time to enjoy a turkey dinner before heading back to the store when it re-opened at 5 p.m. Kohl’s then stayed open until midnight Friday.
San Francisco Premium Outlets opened at 3 p.m. Thanksgiving Day, and is now staying open until 10 p.m. Sears opened 11 a.m. Thursday for only the second year in a row that it’s been open on Thanksgiving Day.
There’s reason for all this, of course. Black Friday has become one of the biggest shopping days of the year, a day when not only shoppers look for the best buys during the holidays, but also when retailers hope to make their most profits after months of red margins in a weak year for brick and mortar stores.
Certainly, and especially in this economy, anything that brings people into stores is welcome. They need the old fashion foot traffic as shopping goes increasingly online. After all, digital doors are open 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
Both locally and nationally, Black Friday has taken on the characteristics of traditional holidays. Like those, it now occurs on a predesignated day each year. People anticipate it and mark the date. Across the breadth of the nation they are absent from work to observe it. And when the day arrives, they congregate like. . .well, like congregations.
Newspaper columnist Bob Greene observed a few years back that Black Friday has become a holiday of its own. Moreover, it has shrugged off the confines of its name and has now established squatters' rights on Thursday, even starting in October at some stores. It is the only “holiday” that exists solely to sell merchandise. It celebrates nothing; it commemorates only itself. It is an annual festival of the cash register.
We have yet to see earnest groups of Black Friday aficionados going door-to-door singing Black Friday carols. But just give them time.