Every year, Black Friday begins a little earlier. This year, it got underway Thursday evening as local shoppers jockeyed for the best deals they could get on items already on their Christmas shopping lists.
Catering to the post-Thanksgiving shopping trend, many shops in the Ashland area are planning sales and discounts for Small Business Saturday. Tiffany Hixon at The Daft Craft Shop on 15th Street in downtown Ashland said her business will have extended hours and gifts for anyone who mentions Small Business Saturday, as well as an in-house concert for evening customers.
“We are open 12 hours tomorrow — from 9 to 9. And, of course, (the band) Little Friends is going to be here Saturday evening,” Hixon said.
“The first mention I heard of a holiday gift was about a month ago,” the shop owner said, recalling the sale of a colorful vintage dress. Hixon said The Daft Craft Shop is a good place to shop for anyone seeking non-traditional gifts. “It’s good for unique gifts. It’s not Walmart. There are no crazy lines here.”
Across the street at The Pink Pineapple, manager Rhonda Suman said the store will celebrate Small Business Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
“We’ll be doing ‘The more you spend the more you save,’” Suman said, explaining customers will receive a 10 percent discount for purchases up to $100, 15 percent off purchases totalling more than $250 and 20 percent off sales for more than $250, “with limited exclusions.”
Suman said The Pink Pineapple enjoyed quite a few customers on Black Friday as well. “This has been a big day already,” she said, noting holiday demand for Christmas ornaments as well as children’s apparel.
Exploding targets, survival gear and zombie-related merchandise are expected to be among the most in demand for holiday shoppers at Premiere Duty Gear (the old Army/Navy store) in downtown Ashland, where Small Business Saturday consumers will receive a 10 percent discount on all purchases between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
“A lot of people have friends that like to hunt, so they’ve been buying Tannerite targets,” said clerk Jacob Yates, explaining the Tannerite company manufactures targets which explode when a shooter hits the mark.
Along with exploding targets, Yates said popular gift purchases have included knives and tomahawks as well as basic and military style duty apparel.
“And survival gear,” said store owner Julie Yates. “You’ve got to survive the zombie apocalypse!”
Celebrating the grand opening of her new store, Memories Made Permanent, shop owner Diana Perdue said she is offering a 10 percent discount “on anything and everything.” Perdue said she has more than 600 ornament designs in her shop at 1580 Diederich Blvd., each perfect for customizing with a name “or whatever you want on there.”
The shop specializes in custom photo items such as mugs and plaques, bibs, mouse pads and even military-style dog tags, along with an array of other items made to be personalized, Perdue said, advising anyone interested to visit the store’s website at memoriesmadepermanent.com, or by calling (606) 388-2044.
Jim Wente at Bert’s Pet Center said his small business is offering 20 percent off on all fish (fresh and salt water) and coral, as well as a 15 percent discount on all dog apparel, including items with UK and other college logos.
Wente said this year’s hot item for Christmas are brightly colored “glow fish” which have been bred for their iridescent colors that are even more intense and vibrant under blue lights.
“I think there are five or six different colors,” Wente said, explaining the fish were genetically engineered from danio fish originally used to detect contaminated water. “And they live well in a smaller tank.”
“Small saltwater setups are also a big thing,” Wente said, noting manufacturers have developed outstanding saltwater tanks as small as 35 gallons.
Bert’s Pet Center will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Small Business Saturday.
Clay Hill at Pollock’s Jewelers on Winchester Avenue in Ashland said his family’s store is offering a 20 percent discount on all items except Pandora. Curiously, Pandora’s “Black Friday bead” was one of the most in-demand items for post-Thanksgiving shoppers, a store employee reported. Hill said customer support for small businesses is crucial and offers consumers a more personal experience than they would have shopping online.
“One thing for sure is trust and dependability,” Hill said, explaining anyone who shops at Pollock’s can expect to see familiar faces and personal service. “And, keeping dollars local is so important in a small town like Ashland.”
TIM PRESTON can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2651.