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A DAY FOR FAMILY: Local shops won’t start Black Friday on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on blessings, but Black Friday sales have been encroaching more and more on the holiday as people head out to get holiday gifts, sometimes before their Thanksgiving feast can digest.

Local shop owners say they won’t be opening on Thanksgiving Day though.

“Thanksgiving is a time to be with your family,” said Barabara Ward, one of the owners at Rustic Linen. “We won’t be in the store at all (Thursday). We already have everything ready to go.”

A recent survey of 2,000 people commissioned by the online marketplace company Groupon showed most people plan to start their Black Friday shopping around 3:30 p.m. According to the survey, not wanting to fight crowds and having the day off contributed to the early push on sales.

Family Ties owner Lauren Prawius said she thinks that affects big box retailers more than local businesses like hers.

“I don’t think anybody downtown is opening (Thursday),” Prawius said. “We want to be home with our family. We’re family-owned; family comes first.”

Although the shopowners are staying home Thursday, the business will be open bright and early for Black Friday. Many shops will open their doors at 8 a.m. while some will open at 7 a.m. or even 6 a.m.

Ward said Black Friday kicks off the holiday shopping season, which she said is curcial for businesses like hers.

“If we don’t make it in this season, we don’t make it,” Ward said.

Kathy Sauer, president of the Pike County Chamber of Commerce, said it’s important for local residents to come out to these stores and buy locally.

“These two sales days mean everything,” Sauer said. “It’s been proven that this is a major shopping day and it serves as an introduction to the holiday shopping season. Holiday season is make it or break it usually for a small business. That’s when in January you start buying new products, but you can’t go buy them if you don’t have a good season.”

Sauer said shopping at local businesses, including the shops unique to Pike County and the big box stores here, is important to grow the local economy and contribute back to the community.

“If you shop local, your money stays local and helps in our tax base, roads, schools,” Sauer said. “It gives back locally. You are contributing to local people. When you shop local, you’re growing what is more readily available to you; you’re expanding what is in your local area so that you do not have to leave to buy a product.”

Sauer said the importance of Black Friday doesn’t end once the weekend is over; getting foot traffic into the stores can make new customers out of local residents that may not have been in that shop before.

“What makes people choose local is they actually have that shopping experience,” Sauer said. “You get good customer service that you can’t get online.”