Mike and Ginny Sturgeon of Port Angeles are in the midst of shopping at 6 a.m. at Swain’s General Store early Black Friday. They came to catch a big deal on smokers (in their cart) and eat a free doughnut provided by the store for hardy early morning shoppers. (Dave Logan/for Peninsula Daily News)

Mike and Ginny Sturgeon of Port Angeles are in the midst of shopping at 6 a.m. at Swain’s General Store early Black Friday. They came to catch a big deal on smokers (in their cart) and eat a free doughnut provided by the store for hardy early morning shoppers. (Dave Logan/for Peninsula Daily News)

Shopping season starts with a bustle on Peninsula

Sales on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday were brisk across the North Olympic Peninsula this year, said business owners.

Since 1932, Black Friday has been regarded as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season in the U.S., according to historians, with most major retailers opening early Friday or even late Thursday to offer promotional sales.

Sales on Black Friday “started a little slow and then everybody got up to speed,” said Mike Nichols, night manager of Swain’s General Store in Port Angeles, on Saturday.

“I think it was a little bit slower first off because so many stores opened late in the evening on Thanksgiving. A lot of people slept in.”

Some big-box stores “had their sales at 6 p.m. or later [Thursday],” Nichols said.

“I think a lot of people already knew our store had a lot of stuff in it and they could come in a little later, and I think that is what happened.”

Later in the day, there were “big lines on and off down the aisle,” Nichols said.

The total number of sales won’t be available until at least Monday, Nichols said, but he suspects it will be an increase over 2015.

During Small Business Saturday — founded by American Express about seven years ago — customers came to the store in droves, Nichols said.

“It is very busy, especially with this kind of weather,” he said.

For Black Friday, “a lot of people have preshopped and knew what they wanted anyway,” Nichols said.

“They knew we had a lot of stock, so today [Saturday] is kind of the same thing. With the weekend, people tend to stick around a little bit more. It is very crowded.”

Out on the West End, Forks Outfitters saw steady sales Friday and Saturday, said Rex Shaw, a store employee.

“We had pretty steady traffic all day” Friday, he said.

There were fewer customers Saturday, “but there are still quite a few people around,” Shaw said.

In Sequim, Terry Mendicino, owner of the Local Yarn Sharp, said she saw a substantial increase in foot traffic Saturday. The business was closed Friday.

“It is great,” she said, adding there were 11 customers as of 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

“Eleven is a lot for 12:30 p.m.,” she said.

Mendicino said she appreciates having a day spotlighting small businesses.

“I have had quite a few people mention it to me” as the reason they came, she said.

The most popular sale item was “yarn for hats, socks and mittens,” she said.

“Everybody is getting something hand-knit for Christmas. People really appreciate that. When you can’t figure out what to buy somebody, you knit them something.”

Sequim’s Blue Whole Gallery saw an increase in customers from out of town Friday, said Ryoko Toyama, spokeswoman.

“These are the people that visit family here in town, and on the way back, they purchase [items],” she said. “I was at the desk … and three expensive paintings were sold. They are after fine arts.”

Area residents purchased smaller items as gifts, Toyama said, adding that the gallery artists are “very grateful.”

At Quimper Mercantile Co. in Port Townsend, assistant manager Holly Mayshark said business was booming both Friday and Saturday.

Friday “was a good day for us,” she said, adding the store opened at 9 a.m.

No one was lined up for the opening, Mayshark said.

“No way, Jose,” she said. “This is Port Townsend. There are no box stores here, so if somebody wanted to do that and camp out on the sidewalk, they would have to go somewhere else.”

Mayshark could speak only briefly Saturday because a large queue of customers began lining up, she said.

“We are selling lots of Christmas cards and Christmas ornaments. We have about 10 items or more that are on sale just for the weekend. Those have been popular, but we [also have sold] a little bit of everything here.”

Area recreational marijuana stores offered steep discounts as part of “Green Friday.”

At Hidden Bush in Port Angeles, “we had a pretty significant list of flower edibles and concentrates on sale [Friday],” said Anthony Owen, who owns the store.

On Friday, “we had an above-average day,” Owen said.

On Saturday, “it has been steady, but an average Saturday,” Owen said.

Malik Atwater, owner of Mister Buds of Port Angeles, said Friday his store “offered products from Essential Flower, which is a Port Angeles grower. We had their products all on sale.”

Business was “very good,” Atwater continued.

Information about the quantity of sales and level of foot traffic at area big-box stores during Black Friday was unavailable Saturday.

________

Features Editor Chris McDaniel can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56650, or at cmcdaniel@peninsuladailynews.com.

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