Downtown merchants enjoy brisk Black Friday
By Hank Beckman For The Sun November 24, 2012 4:16PM
Updated: December 26, 2012 9:45AM
It might have been the day after Thanksgiving in downtown Naperville, but it’s not your parent’s Black Friday anymore.
The traditional jump-start to the holiday shopping season used to find shoppers buying a wide variety of gifts while browsing through all manner of retail outlets
Nowadays it’s about the art of the deal.
“These days it’s all about the flat-screen television,” Kellyn Machecek, owner of Baubles, 26 W. Jefferson Street, said Friday afternoon, “and the best deal you can get on one.”
Machecek said she was happy with the first day of the shopping season, but stressed that it, “was about the same” as previous years.
She said she had been in retail more than twenty years and had watched as the holiday season changed.
Where before people would buy personal gifts for their loved ones at any time during the season, Machecek said that the peak for her store was now closer to the last 10 days before Christmas, being among the last gift decisions shoppers make.
Just down the street from Baubles at the Apple store, at least 100 people crammed into the store hoping to get a glimpse at one of several updated products on display.
Among the fresh offerings at Apple are the I-Phone 5, the under $400 I-Pad mini, the completely new I-Mac and upgraded versions of the computer giant’s MacBook Pro laptop computers.
Citing corporate policy, the Apple store manager would not comment for the record, but he did indicate that the Wednesday before Thanksgiving had brought out even larger crowds.
Big crowds were also found Friday at Barnes and Noble on the corner of Washington Street and Chicago Avenue.
“We’ve seen a lot of traffic in this store,” said the store manager who, like his counterpart at Apple, declined to be identified for the record.
But how much people are actually spending this year remains to be seen, as some browsing through the books and CDs seemed cautious.
“We’re not spending a lot this year,” Connie Richards said. “we’re gearing back with a child in college.”
Kayla Fiala had similar feelings about the shopping season.
“I’m cutting back a little this year,” she said. “I’m just browsing.”
Two Boston Pet Boutique, 103 Jefferson Street, saw a lot of traffic throughout the day, no doubt benefiting from the unveiling of the snowman sculpture on the corner of Jefferson and Main one of 20 downtown ice sculptures presented by the Downtown Naperville Alliance to celebrate the holidays and the shopping season.
“It’s nice to see everyone out there,” Two Boston’s salesperson Nicole Manderson said. “It’s a lot more than normal. We’re seeing a lot more families…the normal couples and six or seven of their family members.”
In the middle of the Black Friday rush, most downtown retailers understandably had no way of knowing what the actual sales figures for the day would be.
But if recent data from the City is any indication, the 2012 holiday shopping season should be profitable for most.
At an October 2012 budget workshop, the City revealed figures showing Naperville’s revenue from retail sales tax to be just under $30 million for the year, and the holiday season had not yet begun.
One downtown retailer, Anderson’s Bookshop, 123 W. Jefferson, certainly had a good start to the holiday season.
“We had a wonderful day yesterday,” an employee who identified herself as Erin, said. “We had tons of people in the store during the daytime and then again at night.”