Many small business owners across the North Olympic Peninsula expect holiday shopping this weekend to bring out more customers during Small Business Saturday than on the day after Thanksgiving, which traditionally has been known as the biggest shopping day of the year.
“In Port Angeles, we tend to emphasize Small Business Saturday,” said Marc Abshire, executive director with the Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce.
“Black Friday really isn’t much of a phenomenon at all unless people are shopping online, which doesn’t help out our community at all, or going to a big box store outside of Port Angeles, which doesn’t really help our community either,” he added.
Nevertheless, many stores are offering great deals on both the day after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday — supposedly because it would be the date retailers would not longer be “in the red” — and Small Business Saturday.
For example, Swain’s General Store, at 602 E. First St. in Port Angeles, will showcase sales on Friday on everything from winter clothes to tools to gift cards.
“One of the biggest specials we have is that we sell gift cards for 20 percent off for three days on Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” said Don Droz, Swain’s store manager.
“We usually only do it for Black Friday, but we’ve extended it through the weekend,”
In Port Townsend, Quimper Mercantile Company, at 1121 Water St., is offering store-wide sales all weekend.
“There are lots of different items and categories,” said Casey Hannam, general manager. “A big one will be our entire toy department will be 15 percent off for the whole weekend.”
Unlike many businesses globally, the Mercantile has not been affected badly by supply chain issues.
“We’ve been very lucky,” Hannam said. “We’ve been trying our best to work with our vendors and haven’t had too many issues with trying to procure what we’re looking for.”
The global supply chain has been buffeted by a multitude of problems, according to The Associated Press. Some factories have had to close due to COVID-19 surges. There has been a lack of containers to ship items in, backups at ports and warehouses, and a shortage of truckers and other employees.
Larger retailers, such as Walmart, have the power to buy their own containers, use air freight and take other steps to make sure they get inventory, The Associated Press said, but smaller retailers are at the mercy of their vendors, who are impacted by these issues.
Evan Brown, co-owner of Brown’s Outdoor, at 112 W. Front St. in Port Angeles, said many customers have been shopping early to get a jump on it.
“I think when they heard about the supply-chain issues, they were worried whether they would be able to get some of the things, and they were probably smart to do that,” he said, “because some things I’ve re-ordered and been able to get; others, you can’t get anywhere right now.”
He said Brown’s Outdoor will offer special winter clothing items, but it won’t have as much inventory for sale as it normally does.
“What I can put on sale won’t be as broad as in the past because I don’t have enough product,” Brown said.
“So we are being really strategic about what we’re actually putting on sale.”
The Co-op Farm & Garden Center, at 216 E. Washington St. in Sequim, also has been impacted by supply-chain issues.
“We’ve got a lot of empty space on some of our shelves,” Assistant Manager Dave Kunze said.
Kunze explained the store typically has $20,000 to $30,000 worth of items purchased from vendors, but lately, it is lucky to get $6,000 worth of goods.
“Some suppliers are having better luck than others,” Kunze said, “but our main supplier where we would be running $20-to-$30K orders, and it would take all day for the crew to put that freight away. The loads get here in the morning and they’re done and put away by 11 a.m.”
Still, the Co-Op is not sweating the holiday rush. It does not participate in Black Friday or Small Business Saturday.
“We actually don’t do a Black Friday anymore,” Kunze said. “We found that the nature of our store is not the same as that of a big retailer where they have these high-ticket items and stuff like that.
“We just found years ago that Black Friday did not work for us.”
Meanwhile, other businesses in Sequim are preparing for a plethora of economy-driving activities.
“Downtown Sequim has a lot of great shops, and all up and down through our town, and all of the craft fairs that are going to be running this weekend,” said Beth Pratt, the new executive director of the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce.
“I’d like to hope that our residents shop locally, but I do know that those big box stores have some attractive deals as well,”
Sequim’s Home Town Holidays begins Friday with a visit from Santa and a tree-lighting ceremony at Centennial Park at the corner of Washington Street and Sequim Avenue.
In Port Angeles, more than 50 businesses will participate in an event to entice more folks to shop locally this holiday season through the Love Local campaign running through Dec. 22, said Janea Bates, owner of J. Ryan Boutique, 105 E. First St. in Port Angeles.
“This is the second year we are doing this, and it basically encourages people to shop locally, multiple times during the holiday season to enter to win some pretty amazing prizes,” Bates said.
The prizes range from cash, to gift cards to spa/vacation packages provided by the businesses involved.
“It’s kind of a win-win for participating businesses. It encourages people to shop at the businesses and gives them an incentive to attract people,” Bates said.
Bates’ own business, along with others like Brown’s Outdoor and Pacific Rim Hobby, also will offer Black Friday and Small Business Saturday sales.
The J. Ryan Boutique will offer, this weekend only, 25 percent off all apparel, skincare, makeup and hair care products.
Pacific Rim will have deals on 3D printers and other hobby modeling technology.
On Small Business Saturday, merchants invite shoppers to tour the stores for Christmas gifts while looking over the Port Townsend Main Street Program’s decorations in Uptown and Downtown.
Port Townsend Main Street will host its Winter Window Wander, which allows a chance for shoppers to find the hidden Holiday Choo Choo in participating store windows, filling in cards for a chance at a prize drawing.
On the West End, Forks Outfitters, which includes Ace Hardware and Thriftway, will offer some Black Friday Deals on clothing, shoes and hardware.
Special holiday events are planned the following weekend.
Reporter Ken Park can be reached at email@example.com.