North Olympic Peninsula merchants are rolling out the specials — and an ice rink in downtown Port Angeles — to encourage Christmas shopping on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday this weekend.
Stores throughout Clallam and Jefferson counties are offering discounts today and Saturday for what remains a post-Thanksgiving holiday shopping tradition despite the popularity of online retail and Cyber Monday.
“Pretty much all merchants, small and large, target the day after Thanksgiving as the beginning of their big push for gift buying and that sort of thing,” said Marc Abshire, Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce executive director.
Organizers of the inaugural Port Angeles Winter Ice Village were preparing for today’s opening of the seasonal ice skating rink at 121 W. Front St. east of the former Station 51 Taphouse.
The Christmas-themed ice village will encourage shoppers to explore the stores and restaurants of downtown Port Angeles, organizers said.
“We targeted the opening for Friday because we want to bring people downtown to do some skating and do some shopping,” Abshire said Tuesday.
Black Friday was originally started by the big box stores, Abshire said.
Small Business Saturday was begun by American Express in 2010 to encourage consumers to support their local merchants rather than national chains.
To that end, the Port Townsend Main Street Program is sponsoring the annual Merchants’ Open House and Small Business Saturday.
Many Port Townsend stores will remain open until 7 p.m. and provide in-store treats Saturday.
The Wild Rose Chorale will sing Christmas carols from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday in uptown and downtown Port Townsend.
“Port Townsend has holiday shopping covered — there are thousands of great gifts available in the historic districts — Uptown and Downtown,” Main Street Program officials said.
“Individually owned businesses offer the personal touch and are a welcome contrast to anonymous malls or online buying.”
Dawn Mohrbacher, owner of Bubble N Squeak in Port Townsend, said her Christmas-decorated British import store will remain open until 8 p.m. today and Saturday.
“We are fully Christmas at the store right now,” Mohrbacher said Tuesday. “We’ll have some specials.”
Bubble N Squeak will offer 20-percent discounts on British pottery and ceramics and provide British nibbles to shoppers.
“We hope it’s a fun weekend, and we hope the weather holds up,” Mohrbacher said.
Rain or shine, the Port Angeles Winter Ice Village will be open daily today through Jan. 6. The rink itself is under a tent donated by the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe.
The hours are from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.
It will cost $15 for adults and $10 for children 12 and younger, seniors and veterans to skate on the 3,200-square-foot rink. Rental skates, helmets and skating aids are available at no additional cost.
Abshire, who organized the Ice Village with Necessities and Temptations gift store owner Edna Petersen and others, said the rink will attract visitors who might not be aware of what downtown Port Angeles has to offer.
“We’ve got great shops downtown,” Abshire said.
While online shoppers will seek discounts on Cyber Money, Abshire maintained that most people start their Christmas shopping on the day after Thanksgiving.
“They make shopping decisions on Black Friday,” Abshire said.
“Even though the big box stores might not be here, a lot of the sales start that day.”
At Swain’s General Store in Port Angeles, the doors will open one hour early for Black Friday at 7 a.m.
For today only, Swains will offer discounts on purchases of $75 or more and 20 percent off gift cards.
“We’ve got coffee and donuts,” added Don Droz, Swain’s store manager.
Swain’s typically gets a line in front of its store before it opens on Black Friday, Droz said in a Monday interview.
“That’s the huge kickoff,” Droz added. “That’s when it’s really go-time.”
In Sequim, some large retailers such as Walmart, JCPenney and Game Stop were set to open on Thanksgiving night.
The Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce continues Hometown Holidays by bringing Santa to town on Small Business Saturday.
The Sequim City Band, Sequim High School Jazz Band and local choirs and ensembles will perform Saturday at the corner of Washington Street and Sequim Avenue.
Santa will arrive there at 2 p.m. to greet children and the Christmas tree lights will turn on at 4:45 p.m., the Sequim Gazette reported.
The Sequim Prairie Christmas Tractor Cruise will run from QFC to JCPenney after the tree-lighting ceremony.
In Forks, Black Friday shopping has become a holiday tradition at Forks Outfitters.
Forks Outfitters will open at its normal time at 8 a.m. Friday. It will offer 15-percent discounts on rod and reel combinations, shoes, clothing, flowers and toys, store owner Bruce Paul said.
“We’re hoping for a good day,” Paul said Tuesday. “We’ll be ready for people to come down.”
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected].