Is Black Friday losing its impact in Newnan?

by Clay Neely

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For many bargain-savvy consumers in Coweta and across the nation, Black Friday could be considered the most pivotal shopping day of the year for those seeking holiday gift deals.

However, the days of waiting for hours in the early morning cold might be over. Recent decisions of big-box stores such as Walmart, Best Buy, Kohl’s, Target and J.C. Penney to open doors for big savings on Thanksgiving night rather than early the following morning, may change Black Friday for small, local establishments.

Many large retailers have already publicized Black Friday specials online. Walmart is currently offering a “Plan Your Black Friday” special on its website, showcasing specials specifically tailored to the region of the customer browsing Walmart’s website.

Websites like blackfriday.com also host online circulars for many major companies participating in Black Friday events, thus streamlining the shopping process for consumers.

For those still adamant about arriving upon the opening of their favorite stores on Friday morning, however, there are still deals to be found.

Walmart will be offering 65 percent more inventory on televisions and double the number of tablets available for purchase on Black Friday, both items being Walmart’s most popular requests, according to the company.

“Black Friday is our day — our Super Bowl — and we’re ready to prove once again that no one does it better than Walmart,” said Bill Simon, president and CEO of Walmart U.S.

Like Walmart, Kohl’s is also opening its doors on Thanksgiving night.

“With so many eager to get a jumpstart on shopping, we are opening our stores at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day as a convenience to our customers who want to make Kohl’s their first stop,” said Michelle Gladd, Kohl’s chief customer officer.

Some local stores are abstaining from the Thanksgiving day specials.

“Academy Sports will be closed on Thanksgiving in order to allow employees and associates time to spend with their family and friends,” said Eric Herrera, senior communications coordinator for Academy Sports, which recently opened a store in Newnan Pavilion.

However, to accommodate customers’ schedules, Academy Sports will be staying open an hour later on Dec. 9, and offering extended hours from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Dec. 14-23.

For those who wish to avoid the trappings of the big box shopping experience, downtown Newnan’s Main Street merchants will be participating in “Plaid Friday.”

According to Hasco Craver IV, business development director of the City of Newnan, Plaid Friday is an observance and celebration of the various products and services offered by local businesses.

“Similar to the makeup of a plaid pattern, our historic downtown offers goods and services of all shapes, sizes, styles, and tastes,” said Craver.

“The event’s focus is twofold: increase retail sales in the downtown area on a day in which most shopping is occurring outside of downtown, and increase awareness of our downtown and its available products and services,” he said.

Newnan’s downtown merchants will be kicking off the holiday shopping season this afternoon with the annual Holiday Open House, sponsored by Main Street Newnan.

The Nov. 17 event will be running from 1 to 5 p.m. The Holiday Open House is a time-honored tradition in which most retailers in the downtown area open for special business hours in advance of the holiday shopping season. Many stores offer in-store specials, introducing holiday apparel and goods.

Always occurring on Sunday prior to Thanksgiving, the Holiday Open House will serve as an unofficial kickoff to the holiday season in downtown Newnan. For more informationon this and other local events, call Main Street Newnan at 770-253-8283.



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