Sales were good all across the North Olympic Peninsula during Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, according to an informal survey of retailers.
A sales representative at Quimper Mercantile in Port Townsend reported an increase in customers from 2018 on the Friday after Thanksgiving with Saturday’s sales shaping up to surpass last year’s.
“Right now we’re matched with last year and it’s only halfway through the afternoon,” Maureen Bennett said Saturday.
Quimper Mercantile Manager Holly Mayshark said Saturday evening that Black Friday sales were up at least 15 percent compared with last year.
Sales at Swain’s General Store in Port Angeles were high, according to the person in charge, who asked his name not be published.
“We did better in sales and customer count than last year,” he said.
The owner of Dungeness Kids Co. in Sequim said mid-afternoon Saturday that she was happy with the sales so far.
“We’ve been doing good, as good as we normally do this time of year,” Susan Britelle said. “I’m hoping that it will end up better than last year.”
Business was brisk at Forks Outfitters, said owner Bruce Paul.
“We had a lot of customers and had a good time and had some good sales,” he said.
Paul said it was hard to compare sales in 2019 to those of 2018’s Thanksgiving weekend because Thanksgiving was a week later than usual this year.
“A shorter shopping season by one week is pretty huge,” he said, adding that he feared the timing would impact holiday sales negatively.
Nationwide, 2019’s Black Friday shaped up to be the biggest yet, according to CNN, which reported that Americans spent $7.4 billion online on Black Friday and $4.2 billion on Thanksgiving Day.
Because of the shorter shopping season, retailers amped up their advertising and offered deep discounts on many items, according to Adobe Analytics’ Jason Woosley, CNN said.
In Sequim, some large retailers such as Walmart, JCPenney and Game Stop opened with specials on Thanksgiving night.
The Clothes Horse in Port Townsend was busier on Saturday than on Friday, said Miko Crosland, a buyer for the store.
That is often the case in Port Townsend, where the Port Townsend Main Street Program sponsors the annual Merchants’ Open House and Small Business Saturday.
Small Business Saturday was begun by American Express in 2010 to encourage consumers to support their local merchants rather than national chains.
Charlene Konopka, manager on duty at The Coop Farm and Garden in Sequim said that the store doesn’t do anything special for Black Friday or Small Business Saturday.
Instead it offers a special open house after the Thanksgiving weekend. This year, the open house will be from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., with free gifts for the first 50 people who come to the store, a raffle and 20 percent off some merchandise.
Shopping also is expected to ramp up in Forks next weekend, when the community celebrates the holidays with a Twinkle Light Parade followed by extended retail hours during Moonlight Madness.
In Port Angeles, Dayna Brown, co-owner of Brown’s Outdoor said that sales were on a par with last year’s. The hottest item appeared to be warm coats, she said.
“People are finally starting to get cold,” she said.
Marc Abshire, executive director of the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce, said that retailers he had spoken with reported sales higher than those they had last year.
He added that the Winter Ice Village has been so busy that sometimes people aren’t able to skate when they arrive.
“I hear them talking and they say, ‘let’s go and have dinner,’ and then they trot off and come back later,” Abshire said.
“So that means it’s working. The Ice Village is an attraction for people to come to downtown and spend money at restaurants and retail shops.”
At Olympic Stained Glass in downtown Port Angeles store, owner Sarah Ogerly and previous owner Marilyn Kaler said they were happy with sales — and with their customers.
“We’ve had so many wonderful people come in — lots of families together for the holidays,” Ogerly said.
“People have been so lovely and pleasant,” Kaler said. “It’s been a lot of fun.”
Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or at [email protected].