NEW ULM - With big chain stores competing to open earlier and earlier for Black Friday, sales will start late Thursday this year, or Thanksgiving night. Meanwhile, local stores are promoting Small Business Saturday to get a fair shot at the heavy shopping weekend.
The Black Friday shopping events will start around 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, with Walmart being the first to open its doors for shopping. Target will follow suite by opening at 9 p.m. that night. Both openings are the earliest the two stores have ever had. All the stores opening early will remain open into the next day.
Into the evening of Black Friday, the Parade of Lights will tour down Minnesota Street starting around 6 p.m. Also during the day, New Ulm will be hosting its first Christkindlmarkt, a German-style Christmas market. It will run from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. near the intersection of Minnesota Street and Center Street. It will feature products from local artisans.
The next day, local businesses will be offering sales for Small Business Saturday, a national movement aimed at giving local stores an equal chance against the big box stores this shopping weekend. The New Ulm Business and Retail Association is funding a special of $10 free for each $100 purchased in Chamber dollars, which can only be used in local stores. The offer will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the New Ulm Chamber of Commerce.
Chamber President Audra Shaneman said the event and the offering are both aimed at helping local business get a fair chance to earn their important fourth quarter profits. She said that the local stores often can not compete with the massive amounts of advertising money and the extreme hours offered by big box stores for Black Friday itself, so they are offering a separate day.
Curt Lambrecht, owner of Lambrecht's Gifts, said that his store is family-owned, so he recognizes his employees need to be home with their families instead of being at work pushing the latest flat screen TV. He said that because of this, he will only be opening at his usual time of 9 a.m. He said the Small Business Saturday event gives him a nice opportunity to run his business on his principles without missing out on sale opportunities.
"It's a nice way to tell people not to forget the local guys in the hustle and bustle. It reminds them to also think about the businesses that are helping to support the community," said Lambrecht.
Shaneman said this year's event is the second such events in New Ulm, and it is an inexpensive, low-key way to promote local business in an effective way. She said she anticipates it growing with each year.
Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.