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Shoppers look for good deals on Black Friday
Inspiration can come from anywhere, but when it comes to seeking out ideas for the perfect Christmas gift, shoppers won't have to go far to find great deals over the Thanksgiving weekend.
Between Black Friday, Shop Local Saturday and Cyber Monday, shoppers in Glenn County said they expect to find just about everything they need without driving more than 50 miles from their homes.
"It's nice to avoid the traffic and crowds," said Betty Woodruff of Orland. "With Thanksgiving earlier this year, we have a few extra shopping days before Christmas, so I'm going to pace myself."
Woodruff, like many shoppers out and about on Black Friday, said they will spend the entire weekend shopping for some of the best deal in local stores instead of being lured to the big retailers out of town.
Walmart in Willows had great buys on electronics for Black Friday shoppers as did Terry's TV & Satellite in Orland, which will maintain its sale prices on a few select items like indoor helicopters and digital cameras on Saturday.
"We're pretty much competitive on our prices, if not cheaper," said Liz Riegel, who has operated the shop on Fourth Street with her husband Terry since 1991.
But like many small businesses, the economy has taken its toll.
Although the National Retail Federation projects Americans will spend $586.1 billion on Christmas this year, up 4.1 percent over 2011, many shoppers said they are still counting every penny.
Jennifer and Chris Wandt strolled through downtown Orland on Friday looking for the best deals on toys for their children, nieces and nephews.
Chris Wandt's father is battling a life-threatening illness and is now living with his son and family, making things just a little tougher this year than last.
Still the young couple plan to make the best holiday they can for the kids by taking advantage of special sales in town, and possibly shopping for gifts at the local thrift stores.
"It's been a tough year," said Jennifer Wandt. "We have to cut back. We will probably not buy as many presents this year."
Jeanene Broznan of Willows said she planned to shop in Willows on Black Friday and then Orland on Saturday, after the craft fair at the Glenn County Fairgrounds, and pick up stuff here and there at the mom-and-pop shops between now and Christmas.
"When I lived in Los Angeles, I use to be one of those people who spent the night in line to save $50 on one item and then I would spend $100 or more on stuff that I bought on impulse," Broznan said. "It was just fun in those days, but now that I really have to watch my budget, I find that I can actually save money and give more thoughtful gifts by shopping in town."
That is just the sort of sentiment Glenn County businesses are counting on this weekend.
Although Black Friday is expected to be the biggest single shopping day of the year, according to ShopperTrak, which counts foot traffic in more than 25,000 stores in the United States, local stores hope to combat that trend with its own marketing strategy called Small Business Saturday.
The campaign is a reminder that shopping at local stores keeps towns vibrant and the tax dollars in the local community.
"It's very important for us because there are only a few of us left in the downtown," said Becky Taylor of Tootsies, a store that specializes in fine clothing.
Orland Ace Hardware kicked off the holidays with its "Take Back Friday" campaign and sales that last all weekend long.
Starting on Friday, the store offered big markdowns on select holiday merchandise, tools and household items.
Shop Saturday and Sunday to get a different deal each day — including 50 percent off one item under $30 on Saturday, and $10 off a purchase of $50 or more on Sunday.
"So far so good," owner Ben Pforsich said on Friday. "We opened at 6 a.m. and had a big rush around 7."
New stores like the Vintage Nest in Willows and long-established stores like Garnet Hill in Orland hope and expect to see even more shoppers today for the shop local campaign than they did on Black Friday.
"Shopping local is not just important to us but important to the whole country," said Orland Florist-Garnet Hill owner Lynn Fortner. "We don't want to be a country of just Walmarts."
For the third year, locally owned business across the country will take part in Small Business Saturday, offering their own deals to rival those offered on Black Friday.
Also important, Fortner said, small local shops like Garnet Hill offer unique gifts not produced for the mass market and often provide far better service, including gift bags and delivery.
American Express founded the Saturday shopping holiday, which got its official start on Nov. 27, 2010, according to the Small Business Saturday Facebook page.
Celebrating its third year on Nov. 24, the event is expected to draw more than 100 million people to small business for Christmas shopping.
CONTACT Susan Meeker at 934-6800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.