With Black Friday looming, small business owners in St. Louis Park say successful holiday seasons don't mean going toe-to-toe with big-box retailers.
Rather, it’s important for a small business to “just be itself” this time of year, said , owner of .
“We don’t have any big screen TVs here,” she said, referring to a Black Friday standard.
Instead of opening at 3 a.m. and offering door-busters, Hertz said she wants to provide a calmer, quieter alternative for shoppers. , owner of custom jewelry store , agreed, noting she will serve pastries and coffee to customers on Friday morning—in hopes of creating a warm atmosphere—but won't do the traditional Black Friday blitz.
Though they might not have people lining up outside their stores at the wee hours of the morning, Hertz and Commers said that doesn't mean this isn't the busiest time of year.
“I just bank up on a lot of sleep, eat well, and go for it,” said Commers. She expects to work seven days a week from the day after Thanksgiving through Christmas.
Because small businesses like Studio C have smaller staffs, keeping manageable store hours is really the only way Commers and other owners can make it through the season.
Tom Iverson, co-owner of , recalls operating for 17 years in and 13 in before settling into the . During his days in the malls, he had to go along with the mall’s holiday hours, which had Iverson’s Imports opening as early as 5 a.m. That just didn’t fit his small business well, he said.
“The most noticeable thing was the challenge on the staff,” he said.
Now, Iverson’s will only be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the latest during the holiday season.
Sheila Graves, a sales manager at the violin shop, said her store won’t change its hours at all.
“For us, the busiest time of year is actually the start of school,” she said, noting the time when students get new instruments.
That doesn’t mean House of Note isn’t expecting an uptick in sales between now and Christmas. Graves said the fourth quarter is typically strong for the shop.
“I very much look forward to the busy times,” Graves said. “(But) for us, Black Friday is just another day.”
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