Glenwood Springs merchants ready for Black Friday |

Glenwood Springs merchants ready for Black Friday

John Gardnerjgardner@postindependent.comGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado Black Friday is one of Lance Leitheads favorite days of the year.I think, for me, it truly is one of the funnest days of the year, he said two days before the nations busiest shopping day for retailers.Most would think that the day after Thanksgiving, notorious for large crowds, extended hours and huge savings would be the most dreaded day of the year for store managers like Leithead, who manages Target in Glenwood Springs, but not for him.Its fun to come out and meet some great people, and its a day where we can just have some fun, he said.This year, a constant barrage of news reports on the economic crisis plaguing the nation and much of the world has some local retailers expecting shoppers to tighten the purse strings.I think we are all braced for that, said Book Train bookstore manager Carole OBrien. Well be pleasantly surprised if we are wrong.But OBrien said that Glenwoods downtown businesses are typically slower than others like the Glenwood Springs Mall stores and big box stores like Target and Wal-Mart.We just dont see that kind of Friday after Thanksgiving craziness down here, OBrien said. Friday after Thanksgiving for us is like a really good Saturday.OBriens neighbor a few doors down, Candlestick Maker co-owner Tom Weir, agreed with OBrien, saying that leading into the Thanksgiving holiday has been slower than years past.I expect it to be about the same as last holiday season, which wasnt very good, but the way we are leading into it we are expecting probably about the same, Weir said.Both OBrien and Weir werent worried about a slow Black Friday, because they rely on loyal local shoppers making the rounds before Christmas.We see business build up to Christmas and then our big day is the Saturday before Christmas, OBrien said.Her theory is that that shoppers are looking for the bargains that big box stores offer on Black Friday that local business cant.We cant do the discounting like Target and Wal-Mart can, OBrien said. People shopping the day after Thanksgiving are looking for those bargains.And that is what Leithead is hoping will make for a busy day at Target.Leithead said that this week has been pretty normal at his store.The feeling in the community is good, the store is good, and its been a very good week, Leithead said. We are anticipating a good selling season in our store.Target will open at 6 a.m. on Black Friday and wont close its doors until 11 p.m., the store will extend its hours through December, open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays.Leithead said the Glenwood Target store had thousands of customers, last year, and hes expecting a similar turnout this year.However, customers may be spending less and paying with cash instead of fattening the balance on their credit cards, according to Weir.Were seeing more going back to cash, Weir said. The past couple of years we were way heavy on credit cards.Weir said that its too early to tell what peoples shopping habits will be, but the customers hes seen have been using cash more than credit.However, Leithead hasnt noticed much difference with early shoppers.Ive not seen a significant difference, he said. The Glenwood area is more of a cash-driven area than most.With local stores like the Book Train having to deal with online competitors, like, the holidays can prove even more difficult than for others. But OBrien said its the local customer base, once again, they rely on to pull them through.But even with loyal local shoppers, the holiday shopping season remains uncertain for all, until its over.I dont know what is going to happen this year, OBrien said. I think its scary for everybody.Contact John Gardner:

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