Post-holiday deals starting a day early

Retailers not waiting for Friday this year

Liz Stemrich of Grand Junction looks over another top before adding it to the pile of clothes in her shopping cart as she picks out a new wardrobe with outfits marked down 50 percent at Old Navy on Wednesday. Stemrich said she is planning to shop on Black Friday, too, beginning with Walmart’s sales at 10 tonight.

While others are slipping into a tryptophan-induced sleep tonight, Grand Junction resident Liz Stemrich will be searching for deals on video games at Walmart.

Stemrich, 30, said while shopping Wednesday at Old Navy she would prefer not to shop on Thanksgiving.

“But because stores are open, I will, for the prices,” she said.

Walmart is one of a growing number of retailers pushing back so-called Black Friday start times into Thursday, with a 10 p.m. opening tonight. Others, such as Kmart, Old Navy, Walgreens and Hastings, will be open earlier in the day.

This will be the third year Old Navy in Grand Mesa Center will be open on Thanksgiving, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., before reopening for Black Friday at midnight.

Store Manager Freda Psencik said more shoppers perused the store last Thanksgiving than the previous Thanksgiving, and she is hoping for another customer bump today.

“We get a lot of women that come in shopping with their children. They say, ‘My husband’s watching the game. We’re going to get a little bit of our shopping done early,’” Psencik said.

As with most stores open on Thanksgiving, Old Navy will have different deals Thursday and Friday, so Psencik said many shoppers come both days instead of just on Thanksgiving.

Deals also will be different on the two days at the Grand Valley’s four Walgreens locations, according to Matt Chamberlain, manager of Walgreens at 240 W. Park Drive.

“Things typically on sale on Thanksgiving are things people may have forgotten like butter or milk. Black Friday is more toys,” Chamberlain said.

Walgreens is open 365 days a year and has been for years. Chamberlain said it’s not hard to get volunteers for holiday shifts, which pay extra.

“Some prefer to work that day because they may not have family in the area, and it gives them interaction on that day,” he said.

Psencik said Old Navy employees bring Thanksgiving feast-style dishes to work and are allowed to wear their pajamas if they work on Thanksgiving. Psencik said she doesn’t mind working on Thanksgiving because she has family members who work today in the health care industry.

“We celebrate on Sunday anyway,” she said.

Not all employees are willing to work on a holiday. A Nebraska Target employee started a petition on requesting 200,000 signatures to tell Target not to require workers to show up at 11 p.m. on Thanksgiving to open the store at midnight Friday. The petition was about 1,100 signatures shy of its creator’s goal as of 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Grand Junction residents Stephanie Martin, 28, and Mary Lou Wetherstein, 55, while shopping Wednesday, said they think retailers are going a bit overboard with Thanksgiving store hours and midnight openings. Martin said she might shop today if she finds good advertisements, but Wetherstein is staying home.

“That’s a family day,” she said. “The holiday season is long enough.”

Martin said she likes Black Friday shopping and even combed sales at 2 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving last year. But she would prefer stores not open at midnight Friday or on Thanksgiving.

“That’s a little crazy,” she said.

One store that will not be open on Thanksgiving this year is Sears. The department store tried being open on Thanksgiving last year but decided to close stores on the holiday this year and open at 4 a.m. Friday.

Jeff Long, general manager of the Sears store at Mesa Mall, said, “Last year was great.” The store was open from 7 a.m. to noon on Thanksgiving and “was fairly busy the whole time,” according to Long.

“I honestly don’t know why, company-wide, they made the decision not to open,” he said. “It will be nice to spend time with our families, though.”


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