Biz Beat

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday loom this week

Shoppers flood the Vintage Faire Mall for steep markdowns during Black Friday shopping in Modesto in 2013.
Shoppers flood the Vintage Faire Mall for steep markdowns during Black Friday shopping in Modesto in 2013. Modesto Bee file

Well, here we are already. It’s Thanksgiving week, which in the world of retail, means Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. Followed by Cyber Monday, which I am not sure ever really became a thing.

No matter where you land on the whole issue of Black Friday/Thursday, there is a retailer for you.

Want to show your solidarity for keeping Thanksgiving a retail holiday? GameStop, REI, Staples and H&M will be closed this year. REI, the outdoors retailer, went a step further by closing its doors on Friday as well, paying its employees and urging them to go outside.

It’s a noble gesture by REI, but I wonder how much impact it really will have on sales. Representatives said Black Friday is one of its top sales days each year, but it’s such a specialized retailer, I suspect those customers will just wait until a different day to make their purchases.

If, instead, you want to work off some of that turkey dinner Thanksgiving evening, there are plenty of stores planning to accommodate you.

Modesto’s Vintage Faire Mall recently announced its plans for the holiday. As it did last year, the mall will open at 6 p.m. Rather than staying open through the following Friday, however, this year the mall will close on midnight and then reopen at 6 a.m., marketing manager Annie Amies said in a news release.

Perennial Black Friday favorite Best Buy no doubt will have a line outside of its stores by Tuesday. Nationwide, the electronics store plans to open its locations at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

The following day is Small Business Saturday. This is an effort started by credit card company American Express, but it’s really come into its own. You can do an online search to find registered “Small Business Saturday” retailers, but almost any local store will take part, even if only unofficially.

This year, the city of Ceres got involved with the “shop local” effort. The Chamber of Commerce is promoting Shop Ceres first in a big way, with a website and a giant billboard on Highway 99 northbound in town.

Whichever way you choose to spend it, I wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Elsewhere around the Business Beat:

Good news for the fans of Modesto’s Scenic Drive-In. Come early next year, you will once again be able to get your hands on a Knockout burger.

Owner Matthew Grigorian called to tell me there has been progress since the restaurant suffered major damage in a fire last August. Grigorian said he has hired a local contractor to do the work and he hopes to reopen in January.

More good news: He plans to expand his hours of operation.