By Caitlin Schudalla
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Black Friday shopping is a young holiday tradition whose rise in popularity has made so ubiquitous as to perhaps rival the turkey itself as a Thanksgiving hallmark.
This year, Norman shoppers willing to brave the crowds and benefit from the deals will be benefitting the community which relies ever more heavily on healthy local commerce.
“Our citizens care about tax dollars generated in Norman,” said John Woods, Norman Chamber of Commerce member . “It’s not only important for local business and job creation but also for roads, parks, police force and other community benefits.”
Of particular concern for Woods and other Norman community members is the rise of online shopping and its negative impact on local commerce.
“Americans spent $816 million online in 2011, and that most concerning because those dollars leave the community and that drop hurts the community and its businesses,” Woods said.
A major incentive to forego the online browsing and shop local is the allure of the unique.
“All our merchandise is from Oklahoma artists, we carry lots of neat little things from coasters to jewelry and mugs in addition to t-shirts,” said Amber Pollock, co-manager of Massive Downtown, 301 E Main St. “We’ve nearly sold out of some great Oklahoma-themed accent pillows and will hopefully stock up on those and similar items for Black Friday. We have some awesome artists and hand-painted merchandise.”
What’s more, every dime of local sales benefits the community and its artists/craftsmen, and the gifting season is a great time for small businesses to gain awareness within the community.
“We’ve had a lot of people come in to browse but not buy anything, so hopefully with plenty of people knowing what we sell and out for gifts on Black Friday that’ll change,” Pollock said.
However, shoppers looking for those bigger items at chain stores are by no means exempt from aiding in filling community coffers.
“Everyone recognizes that large purchases are made at the big retail stores, and that’s totally okay - we’re happy to have a big retail presence in Norman, Sooner Mall is a tremendous help to our economy. What we’re hoping is for shoppers to try to make a portion of their purchases at these unique smaller stores,” Woods said.
According to Sooner Mall General Manager Lynn Palmerton, this year’s Black Friday will provide mall shoppers with expanded hours/doorbuster sales
“This year we will have more stores opening at midnight than we had last year, and mall doors will open at 10 for those wanting a place in line,” she said. “We pride ourselves on providing our shoppers what they want when they want it, and given the success of last year’s Black Friday sales, we’re having expanded midnight openings.”
“My encouragement to shoppers is hit all the locations - big stores and smaller stores in Campus Corner and Main Street storefronts. All of them will likely have comparable promotional deals and Norman is a community with a lot of small businesses carrying fantastically unique gifts,” Woods said.
Visit normanchamber.com for more information on local stores and promotional deals for Black Friday. Visit soonermall.com for store and mall hours.
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