Stores all over San Luis Obispo, including Old Navy, are preparing themselves for this traditionally busy shopping day.
“Last year we opened at 4 a.m. and this year we are opening at 12 a.m.,” said Kelly Barragan, a music senior and Old Navy employee.
Stores are trying to get creative in order to attract more customers.
“Old Navy will be giving away XBOX games to its first 50 customers,” Barragan said.
Along with extra giveaways, stores are doing everything they can to attract customers.
Barragan hopes the store will be busier this year due to the poor economy and that people want to save as much money as possible. She said Black Friday is an important day for the San Luis Obispo store, especially since the majority of college students go home during the holidays.
“This day brings in several young parents looking for some holiday gifts for their families,” she said.
Another nationwide store participating in Black Friday is Victoria’s Secret. Stephanie Harris, a child development senior and Victoria’s Secret leadership member, said the store has worked very hard to make sure all the associates are on the same page.
“It is always one of our busiest days of the year, and we expect an even better turnout this year,” she said.
One of Victoria’s Secret’s goals is to ensure that everyone that comes to the store is satisfied.
“We are going to do our best to keep our dressing rooms clean and running efficiently,” Harris said. “We want to get everyone in and out as smoothly as possible.”
On Black Friday, Victoria Secret will open at 6 a.m. and give out a free tote with every $50 purchase, she said.
Other local stores will participate on Black Friday as well. Stores such as Lucky Lu Lu’s and H&G clothing will extend their hours on Friday.
“We plan to stay open later than normal, and we will have a bunch of sale racks with items that have been marked down,” said Megan Larson, the manager at Lucky Lu Lu’s.
Forever 21 is another popular store that recently opened a branch in San Luis Obispo. The store could not provide specifics about the upcoming Black Friday, but a manager who could not be named due to corporate policy said almost everything in the store is now on sale. The manager also said the store will open at 6 a.m. on Nov. 26 “in (the) spirit of the holidays.”
Even though there has always been a lot of hype for Black Friday, fewer people in San Luis Obispo have participated in such shopping days in recent years. According to the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce, late 2008 and 2009 show a very serious economic decline.
“Last year was challenging for retail,” Pearce said. “I think this year will be a lot better because the economy has gotten better.”
Pearce said the last few years were abnormal, not only for San Luis Obispo but for the country as a whole. This year, he doesn’t think people are as scared about financial situations.
“Spending is part of who we are and what we do as a society,” he said. “People are going to find a way to get back to that.”
Pearce has seen a definite increase in consumer spending over the past year, he said.
“People have more job security now, so they aren’t as worried to go out and buy a little, especially during the holiday times,” he said.
Consumers seem to agree with Pearce.
Nadia Nosrati, an agricultural business senior, will be one of the few students in San Luis Obispo on Black Friday.
“If I didn’t have to work at the bank, I definitely would be out getting some of my Christmas shopping done,” Nosrati said.
Jenny Brooks, an ethnic studies senior, also said she will stay in San Luis Obispo during Thanksgiving break for work.
“I am hoping to get a chance to go to some of the sales happening on Black Friday since I will be in town,” Brooks said.
Even though many students have to work through Black Friday, Lynn Ward, a San Luis Obispo resident, said the city gets a lot of business from older, “early bird” shoppers and teens.
“I think the most popular stores are the ‘Big Box’ stores like Target, Kohl’s, Walmart, Macy’s etc,” she said.
Ward said the earliest shoppers are definitely mothers, but families and students participate all day long too.
“San Luis Obispo’s Black Friday is definitely targeted more toward the adults because most of the students go home for Turkey Day,” Ward said. “But for a small community I would say there is a great turnout.”