As the big, national chain stores gear up for potentially the busiest day of the shopping year, smaller, locally owned business are getting ready for business as usual on Friday.

“We’re going to get what we get,” John Fisher, owner of Country Secrets Western Wear in Killeen.  “We’ll get a little extra (business on Friday), but we’re not going to get those big line-ups of people.”

Black Friday so named because it’s historically the day when businesses sell enough merchandise to go “into the black,” marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.  Most recently, it’s also been characterized by long lines of bargain hunters starting in the wee hours of the morning, waiting for retailers to throw open their doors for potentially massive savings on everything from computers to clothes .

That’s not the case for Fisher, or Raymond Pagel owner of Pagel and Sons Jewelers in Killeen.  In business since 1973, Pagel said sales increase on the day after Thanksgiving and beyond as people search for the perfect Yuletide gift for that special someone.

“It’s always been a good day,” he said.  “It’s not anything like is put on with all the big department stores, but it’s always been a busy day.”

Neither Fisher nor Pagel will open early to catch those first, somewhat bleary-eyed shoppers, they said.  But they have both added stock to their shelves and store rooms in anticipation of Black Friday and the remainder of the holiday shopping season.

“We do bring in more upper-end stuff than we normally have,” Pagel said.  “Items we don’t have all year long.  We did it for the first time last year and it was very successful.”

Fisher agreed.

“We have extra stock in place, but just for the season,” he said.  “Small businesses like ours stock up for the Christmas season.”

Pagel thinks at least for the smaller locally-owned businesses, convenience and timing play a big role in the increase business on Black Friday.  More people are off work or out of school, he said.  So getting an early start on Christmas shopping just makes sense.

And the day used to be bigger deal at least in the Killeen area, Fisher said.  But that was before the influx of major national retailers begun.

“Before all those big-boxes were in Killeen, it was more important date to us in total sales,” he said.  “But the big shops can make offers small mom and pops like us can’t do.”

“Friday is a bigger day than a normal day, a better day than a good weekend,” Fisher said.  “But it’s not the day in our business like it used to be.”

by Andrew Brosig – Killeen Daily Herald