Black Friday no big deal in small towns
The newspapers hit the driveways with a bigger thud than at any other time of the year Wednesday and Thursday — weighted with insert ads designed to separate Christmas shoppers from their money.
Black Friday has become a much anticipated holiday tradition, a far cry from the original ugly tag of commercialism drowning out family and community sentiment.
It has even spread from the midnight Friday rush to early Thanksgiving Day specials.
However, in small towns without gigantic box stores or mall settings, Black Friday takes on a whole different meaning.
In fact, more than a few retail outlets in Colusa and Williams were even closed Friday.
Main Street USA business owners still rely on Christmas for revenue, but not Black Friday, and often develop a niche the bigger outlets do not have.
And they have another thing those big stores don't necessarily have — loyal, local customers.
Maggie Ruiz, the manager at the Ace Hardware store in Arbuckle, said business was up Friday, but with their sale on goods going through the weekend, the final tally is not in yet.
She said she expects to see more traffic through the weekend.
"I would say we are about the same as last year," Ruiz said on Friday.
She said toys and Christmas decorations have been selling, but the big ticket for the store remains the hardware business stalwart — tools.
"And we have customers we know will come in to shop," Ruiz said.
Some smaller shops have tried to combat the trend with their own marketing strategy called Small Business Saturday, and credit card companies and other groups have thrown in their support.
However, in recent years, Cyber Monday has also evolved, and online shopping has become an increasingly popular option for Christmas shoppers.
The National Retail Federation reports that $210 billion will change hands through online shopping, of which as much as $96 billion is expected to be for Christmas.
The federation is projecting online shopping to grow by 12 percent over last year.
Overall, the federation is projecting Americans will spend $586.1 billion on Christmas this year, up 4.1 percent over 2011.
In general terms, that represents about 19.5 percent of all retail revenue for the year, and can be as much as 40 percent for some retailers, the federation reported.
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.
ShopperTrak says Saturday, Dec. 17, and then Friday, Dec. 23, will be the next busiest days.
Of course, it has been about Christmas all year for Creative Looks in Maxwell, and owner Lindia Daugherty gets off to an early start for specific seasonal shoppers, too.
"We kind of kick it off with an open house and luncheon in October, and then hopefully it gets busy," Daugherty said.
Daugherty, who opened the shop on Oak Street next to the high school football field in 1990, said she had a few customers on Friday, but like other small retailers in small towns, does not expect a Black Friday rush.
She said the new jewelry in the store is catching the shoppers' attention, and of course, the Christmas decorations.
"We have lots of new Christmas decorations," Daugherty said.
She also relies on loyal customers, and many of hers are from out of the area.
"Last weekend, we had ladies from Sacramento and Redding come in, but not all my groups have been in yet," she said.
Daugherty is also taking advantage of the online reach with two websites: www.christmasinmaxwell .com and www.maxwellkitchenshop.com.
The Kitchen Shop offers a variety of goods, and she delivers to the cities of Willows and Colusa if the order is for $100 or more.
She said she might expand that service if enough interest in shown.