MASSENA - Traditionally the holiday shopping season has always started the day after Thanksgiving with Black Friday, but this year more retailers are getting an early jump opening on Thanksgiving giving the holiday also known as turkey day yet another alias - Thrifty Thursday.
St. Lawrence Centre Marketing Manager Ronald J. Patnode noted thats a big difference between this years Black Friday and Black Fridays from the past.
The biggest change is what time stores are opening, he said. Its all over the place.
The mall itself will open for business at 5 a.m. Friday, but several stores have different opening times, some earlier and one thats even an hour later.
Sears will be opening at 8 p.m. Thursday and remain open through closing time Friday. Sears in Potsdam will open at 8 p.m., but then close at midnight before reopening at 4 a.m. Friday.
The Bon Ton will be opening at midnight and Bath & Body Works will be opening at 4 a.m.
J.C. Penney isnt opening its doors until 6 a.m. with a one-day sale, minus the door-busters typical of Black Friday shopping events.
Customers can come at anytime during the day, Store Manager Darlene Ward said. We want them to be able to come at their own leisure, not ours.
While the sales will be limited to while supplies last, Ms. Ward said 95 percent of the store will be on sale, meaning theres a bargain to be had regardless of what time customers arrive.
Ms. Ward said trying to make things easier for customers is one of the reasons they decided to eliminate door-busters.
The other is a little more personal.
We want our customers and associates to be able to enjoy Thanksgiving and spend time with their families during the holiday, she said.
Santa will also be at the mall from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, and the gift wrapping booth to benefit Habitat for Humanity will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
In addition to malls regular roster of stores, Mr. Patnode also noted that all of their seasonal tenants will be open for business.
Progressive Imports, Hickory Farms and Go Calendars/Go Games will all be returning.
Last year was their first season here, and they did very well, Mr. Patnode said referring to Go Calendars/Go Games. This year they have an expanded selection of toys and games.
A new seasonal tenant for the mall is the Twisted Turtle, a gift shop that also has a permanent location in Potsdam, selling tie-dyed clothing, dresses, hats, locally handmade jewelry, signs and home decor, handbags, wallets and more.
Students and volunteers from Trinity Catholic School will also be selling tickets for their annual truck raffle.
Im not sure what they have this year, but theyre bringing it in tonight, Mr. Patnode said Wednesday morning.
Another charity with a presence in the mall will again be the Salvation Army with its Gifts from the Heart program.
Also, five lucky shoppers will walk away with a fantastic prize.
This year were giving away two 50-inch LED TVs, a Toshiba and a Samsung, a $500 St. Lawrence Centre gift card, a $300 St. Lawrence Centre gift card and a 1/3 karat black and white diamond pendant with an 18-inch chain.
Those prizes, Mr. Patnode said total approximately $3,000 in value.
The first 250 shoppers through the malls main entrance will receive a flyer filled with information on special offers and promotions throughout the mall and a ticket that could be their key to victory.
For us its a day when were usually very busy. Theres a lot of people and the stores have a lot of bargains. For us its the start of the holiday shopping season, he said.
Mr. Patnode said he is optimistic it will be a successful holiday season.
We think now that the election is behind us people are feeling a little bit better. Were looking forward to a good holiday shopping season.
Other holiday events at the mall include a breakfast with Santa at 9 a.m. Dec. 8. Santa will also be available for photos with pets from 6 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 12, 13, 17 and 18.
The mall will also be hosting a 12 Days of Christmas promotion, where shoppers who show receipts totaling $200 or more at the Customer Service Center will receive a $20 mall gift card.
Also getting in on the action Thursday night is Walmart. According to flyers included in todays paper, Walmart has sales starting at 8 p.m. Thursday with another round of sales starting at 10 p.m. Thursday and yet another round kicking off at 5 a.m. Friday.
Lowes, who has stores in Potsdam and Ogdensburg, will be opening at 5 a.m. Friday and according to their flyer are offering Black Friday savings through Monday.
Olympia Sports, with locations in Massena, Potsdam and Ogdensburg will be opening their doors at 5 a.m. Friday with a variety of door-buster sales that its flyer says will be in place from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The flyer for Tractor Supply says theyre opening at 6 a.m. Friday with some one-day sales, as well as four day sale that actually starts today.
Rite Aid, with locations in Massena, Potsdam Canton and Ogdensburg is also in the Thursday shopping mix, with a three-day sale that its flyer says kicks of on Thanksgiving when theyll be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Big Lots, who has stores in both Massena and Potsdam, will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving, reopening at 6 a.m. Friday.
Walgreens will also be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day with a focus on Thanksgiving day shopping, rather than Black Friday, according to its flyer.