Black Friday shopping brings mixed results on Main Street



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Sale signs in windows helped some Main Street retailers improve their numbers this holiday weekend, but Black Friday was not a great day for every retailer. (Photo by Erik Eisele) (click for larger version)
December 02, 2009
BERLIN — While the day after Thanksgiving is known as one of the busiest shopping days of the year, spending was mixed on Main Street this year.

"I've never had a great Black Friday," said Cindy Morin, owner of the Inner Glimpse, and this one was no different.

She said the pseudo-holiday represents an event for the malls and big box stores but not a big day for local retailers.

David Morin agreed. Morin's Shoe Store has never seen a busy fourth Friday, he said, but things will pick up closer to Christmas. The last 10 days are always busy, he said.

Middle Earth experiences a similar phenomenon. They don't count on one big shopping day, but all of December represents a boom time.

"It's increasing as people get desperate," said Dick Poulin, owner of Middle Earth, "especially the guys."

When people are scrambling to for those last minute gifts, he said, they turn to Middle Earth. This Black Friday was like most others, he said: not great.

At Maureen's Boutique, however, the sale signs in the windows may have helped lure in customers. Maureen Patry, the boutique's owner, said it was a very busy day, "busier than expected."

She said that despite the driving rain lots of people came to check out the deals.

The other women's boutique, Rumorz, saw a similar surge in business.

"Considering the weather I had a very good day," said Stacia Roberge, Rumorz owner.

She also had a lot of items on sale, with a sign out front and balloons. She said she had one of her best days, with lots of people coming in to buy gifts and to tan.

What's more, she said, is people who came in on Friday to buy gifts for someone else came back on Saturday to buy clothing and accessories for themselves.

"More people are shopping locally," Kelli Poulin, owner of Greetings Jewelers said. They also had a busy Black Friday, she said, the best the store has had in several years.

She said the number of options for buying locally has increased recently, making the trip south for holiday shopping less of a necessity.

But some stores are waiting for to see the rush. Elizabeth Ruediger, who opened Savoir Flare last month, said her Friday was quiet. She still sees lots of people notice the store while driving by, she said, but they didn't stop on Friday. The rain didn't help, she said, but lots of people have yet to discover her shop.

Gill's Flowers is waiting too.

"Black Friday is not our thing," said Barbara Guay, the owner.

She will sell lots of flowers for Christmas, she said. They will sell 65 to 70 poinsettias plus other arrangements over the holidays, she said, but not right after Thanksgiving.

Sales trickle out over the next month and pick up, she said, "and it starts now."

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