The nation’s traditionally busiest shopping day of the year — the day after Thanksgiving known as Black Friday — was relatively subdued on the Olympic Peninsula, with more local businesses anticipating increased shopper traffic on the newer Small Business Saturday today.
Still, shoppers on the Olympic Peninsula were out taking advantage of the myriad sales offered, with customers lined up to shop even as doors opened for the day.
“It’s always a big one for us,” said Don Droz, store manager at Swain’s General Store in Port Angeles, which has sales extending throughout the weekend.
There were about 25 shoppers waiting when the doors opened Friday, Droz said, and the stream of customers has been steady ever since. Black Friday is typically Swain’s biggest shopping day of the year, he said.
Larger chain stores like Costco had extended hours to accommodate Black Friday shoppers as did Port Angeles’ recently opened Tractor Supply Co.
But national statistics show the shopping day — which traditionally heralds the beginning of the holiday shopping season —is not what it once was. With the increase in online shopping —accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic — has led more people to stay at home while still taking advantage of holiday deals, according to the Associated Press.
Many businesses also extended their Black Friday sales through the whole Thanksgiving weekend if not several weeks in November, putting less pressure on customers to shop in person on Friday.
The National Retail Federation —a retail industry trade organization — estimated that 182 million people are planning to shop over the five-day period from Thanksgiving Day through “Cyber Monday,” a day focused on online sales.
“This figure is 15.7 million more people than last year and is the highest estimate since NRF began tracking this data in 2017,” NRF said in a news release.
AP reported that analysts estimated consumers spent a record $11.3 billion online on Cyber Monday in 2022, which during the peak hour of shopping meant customers were spending $12.8 million a minute.
Offering an alternative to Black Friday was the opening of the Makers Market and Light Art Experience at Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, at 1203 E. Lauridsen Blvd.
The Makers Market is open through Dec. 17, in the Esther Webster Gallery, and the Light Art installations is spread throughout the 5 acres of Webster’s Woods through Dec. 28.
Makers Market is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays, with extended hours until 8 p.m. every Friday night.
The Light Art Experience artworks “Nature After Dark” will be lit up nightly from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The Makers Market highlights the work of 31 Clallam County artists.
Small Business Saturday
On the North Olympic Peninsula, many local businesses are participating in Small Business Saturday, a marketing drive started by the American Express credit card company in 2010 to focus on independent businesses rather than the big box stores that drive Black Friday sales.
Dozens of businesses in Port Angeles are participating in a local Small Business Weekend, offering special deals to customers who have purchased a $15 tote bag from the Winter Ice Village.
A list of participating businesses can be found online at bit.ly/supportangeles.
The shopping blitz corresponds to the lighting of the community holiday tree at the Conrad Dyar Memorial Fountain at Laurel and First street at 5 p.m. today, 15 minutes after Santa Claus arrives. Local performances and music begin at noon and continue to 8 p.m.
Sequim’s Hometown Holidays returns today with businesses offering specials and with live music and events set from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Centennial Place on the northeast corner of Sequim Avenue and Washington street.
Santa Claus rides into Sequim from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. with the Sequim Irrigation Festival royalty. The tree-lighting ceremony is at 4:45 p.m.
The Sequim Museum’s ninth annual Tractor Cruise begins at 5 p.m. It begins at Sequim High School, moves south on Sequim Avenue and turns west on Washington Street to Mariner Cafe.
Mari Mullen, executive director of the Port Townsend Mainstreet Program which promotes downtown businesses, said it’s estimated that each dollar spent at a local independent business returns three times more money to the local economy than one spent at a chain store.
“Our hometown businesses are fun to shop in, the people who work there are friends, neighbors and they are partners in the success of our community,” Mullen said in an email.
PT Mainstreet is hosting a free swag-making event from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. today at Tyler Plaza and will have other holiday events in the coming weeks.