As Thanksgiving meals come out of the oven, Sequim’s shoppers may already be hitting the pavement for one of the biggest, or possibly most hyped weekends for shopping.
Stores across the nation and on the peninsula are opening on Thanksgiving, Black Friday and/or Small Business Saturday with extended hours — opening much earlier or later and/or offering discounts to entice shoppers in their doors.
Retail sales in Sequim have gone up in recent years for the holidays. The City of Sequim reports its portion of retail tax sales went up from $121,474 and $144,925 in Nov. and Dec. 2012 to $144,704 and $172,703 in Nov. and Dec. 2016.
While the sales may be attributed to the Christmas season and/or the growing amount of businesses in town, that doesn’t necessarily mean large amounts of locals are waiting in lines this weekend, some local retailers say.
Sales are popping up before the weekend with online retailers branding early “Black Friday” deals to entice customers but smaller Sequim retailers seem focused on promoting the shopping local concept.
Vickie Oen, general manager of Purple Haze Lavender, 127 W. Washington St., said Sequim’s demographic doesn’t necessarily fit the fervent Black Friday shopper anyways.
“We live in a retirement community. They don’t want to be up at a storefront at 3 a.m.,” she said.
Oen and several other Sequim businesses, big and small, have extended their hours for the weekend and some through Christmas.
At Purple Haze Lavender’s store, they’re staying open until 6 p.m. Friday-Sunday and offering 20 percent through the whole weekend.
“We did the sale last year, and we’re hoping they’ll stay in Sequim as opposed to going out of town or shopping online,” she said.
Oen said they have seen an increase over recent Thanksgiving weekends in sales and she’s seen more of a push for Small Business Saturday through national advertising too.
Susan Baritelle, owner of Dungeness Kids Co., 163 W. Washington St., says this weekend is one of her better sale weekends of the year.
“It means a lot to me to see the people who come out on Small Business Saturday are supporting local businesses,” she said.
To keep that momentum, Baritelle said she’s offering weekly deals through business’ Facebook account.
Rick Williams, owner of R&T Crystals, 158 Bell St., said he’s trying a 15-percent off sale most items on Friday and Saturday to bring in more business.
“I don’t normally offer sales at this much. Fifteen-percent is a lot for a small business especially if it’s a larger item,” he said. “I try to take care of my customers though.”
When he has sales, Williams said he has a lot of regulars who frequent his business but Thanksgiving weekend is “just giving my customers a chance to purchase gifts at a better price.”
Santa, trees and tractors
Just how busy this weekend is for store owners likeBaritelle is really weather dependent, she said.
Oen said about one-third of Purple Haze’s business is online year-round but over the winter it’s about 70 percent online due to the cold and wet weather.
The hope with incentives and longer hours, she says is that residents will shop smaller businesses for ease and a different level of service.
Last year, was a wet weekend for Thanksgiving, retailers recall.
However, local volunteers powered through to bring Santa downtown and light a Christmas tree.
This year’s Hometown Holiday event begins on Saturday, Nov. 25, at Sequim Centennial Place, the corner of Washington Street and Sequim Avenue.
The Sequim City Band begins playing at 1:15 p.m., Santa visits at 2 p.m. and a Christmas tree lights up for the season at 4:45 p.m.
A tractor parade follows the event.
The event is in partnership between the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce, Sequim Merchants and community advocates like Emily Westcott.
Shelli Robb-Kahler, executive director of the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce, said they run it in conjunction with Small Business Saturday to promote residents shopping locally.
Chamber staff have sent out a lot of marketing materials to local businesses from American Express, who coordinates Small Business Saturday.
To encourage business downtown, Robb-Kahler said they plan to give out about 30 $5-$10 gift certificates from Sequim Merchants before the tree lighting.
“It encourages them go to a local business,” she said.
The financial impact isn’t quite known for Sequim’s businesses from this weekend, Robb-Kahler said, but she does know it’s “not as crazy on Saturday as it is on Friday.”
“If you go to a local shop, you’re going to get helped,” she said.
“You’re not going to get pushed over. So many of our local businesses will order for you or customize things. Local people have a passion for our businesses.”
Editor’s note: To announce if your business is changing its hours for the holidays or anytime of year, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Sequim Gazette’s office at 147 W. Washington St.
Reach Matthew Nash at email@example.com.