‘Getting in the spirit:’ Black Friday to kick off holiday shopping season
While Black Friday will look different from past years, primarily due to the pandemic, downtown Grass Valley businesses are still preparing to kick off the holiday shopping season, with some changes.
According to the Grass Valley Downtown Association’s website, many stores and restaurants will be extending their hours to 8 p.m. every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, beginning with Black Friday.
“I would imagine that it will still be one of the busiest shopping days of the year, but it won’t be on par with other, non-COVID years,” said Yuba Blue owner Lillie Piland-Robertson.
She noted that one of the biggest draws to the downtown area during winter seasons is Cornish Christmas, which normally begins on Black Friday, and won’t be held this year. However, Mill Street remains closed to vehicles to facilitate foot traffic to downtown businesses, and has been decorated for the winter holidays.
“It feels really festive,” said Piland-Robertson. “And I know our store, we’re still planning on a really great day, playing Christmas music, just kind of getting in the spirit as much as we can.”
She said that, for Black Friday, Yuba Blue will still feature special discounts on some products as it does every year, and just do its best to manage this alongside COVID-19 precautions.
“Nothing is really changing for us, except we’re just managing the social distancing, the number of people we can have in our store. Of course, masks are required, that kind of thing,” she said.
A DIFFERENT DAY
Under Nevada County’s current restrictions, the purple or “widespread” tier on the statewide risk system, retail businesses are limited to 25% indoor capacity.
LaTeDa owner Becky Ingram said Black Friday is “usually our kickoff for the holiday season,” and along with Small Business Saturday the following day, one of the biggest sales days of the year.
Ingram’s store will be putting some items outside in a tent for the occasion, which she said she hopes will help with keeping some distance between customers. LaTeDa will also have a staff member at the door, monitoring customer capacity.
“We’re just hoping that everyone wears their mask and distances, so we can stay open,” said Ingram.
Foothill Mercantile, which does not have Black Friday discounts each year, still looks forward to the day as the beginning of a busy sales period, according to Foothill Mercantile employee Nadine McCary.
According to McCary, in lieu of Black Friday sales, the store holds a toy sale — where all toys are 20% off — the second weekend of November. Going into December, however, she said holiday shopping tends to increase for them, as many customers are more “last-minute.”
Although the store will be open for the day, Goodtimes skateboard shop is set for Black Friday to look different from previous years, according to Goodtimes employee Nolan Kennedy.
Kennedy said that, while the store doesn’t necessarily have any steep sales for the holidays, complete skateboards are a popular gift for those just getting started with skateboarding, so they tend to attract a considerable holiday-shopping crowd.
He said last year’s Black Friday and holiday shopping season was “packed” at times, with customers “shoulder-to-shoulder” in the store for Christmas.
It’ll be different this year.
“We’re going to keep it locked down for COVID,” Kennedy said, specifying they have been limiting indoor capacity to five customers at a time and will continue doing so.
Victoria Penate is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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