Local businesses are taking different approaches to the traditional Christmas shopping kickoff on Black Friday amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
JM Beatty Furniture in Eau Claire stocked up heavily for the big day.
“I'm expecting one of the largest Black Fridays we've ever had. That's what we're planning on,” said Chad Beatty. “We bought inventory four or five months in advance. We ordered all this stuff back in June, so we would have it to sell in November.”
Robert Stephens Custom Jewelers in Butler has extra staff coming in to help on the traditionally busy day.
“We do get a decent amount of traffic that day. There's a different vibe being in a small mom and pop store as opposed to a big box store for Black Friday,” said owner Steve Goslaw.
“There's definitely a real uptick in business since we were forced to shut down. Since we reopened on May 15, we made up for the two months we were shut down and exceeded last year's numbers. We're seeing a lot of shifting back to small businesses,” Goslaw said.
May's Music Shoppe in Butler is relying on its core customer base of amateur musicians for a profitable holiday season.
“A lot of our customer base is generational. We get new people all the time, but so much of our base is people that have being coming in for years,” May said.
The internet has made those customers well informed about products.
“My customers are way more informed than in past years. They can do their own research before they walk in anywhere. That's not just our store. That's any store,” May said. “With the economy, people who have some money to spend want to make sure they get the most out of that money.”
Many people who wanted to travel this year, but didn't due to the pandemic, may be spending their funds now.
“I think people have more money from staying home,” Goslaw said.
Read more in Friday's Butler Eagle.