Eagle County merchants ready to weather Black Friday
EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – Erin Seabury knows her audience. Her store, Everyday Outfitters in Eagle, had its Black Friday on Tuesday of this week.The way Seabury sees it, many of her regular customers in Eagle and Gypsum would be traveling over the Thanksgiving weekend, so Everyday Outfitters’ big Christmas sale came when folks were in town.”We’re really busy,” Seabury said Tuesday. “This has actually been more successful than things we’ve done on the weekend.”But Seabury and other local business owners – 70 in Eagle alone – are also participating in “Small Business Saturday,” a national promotion sponsored by American Express. With careful use of the event’s website, shoppers can be eligible for a $25 gift card when they shop at local stores.The event was in response to Black Friday, a shopping event dominated by big stores offering big discounts on select items. Of course, scoring those deals usually requires some effort – mostly involving some early-morning work by people still hung over from their Thanksgiving feasts.But Black Friday isn’t all about cheap TVs. In West Vail, Eagle Valley Music owner Tom Robbins is participating in Black Friday Record Store Day, a promotion put together by a trade group of independent record store owners. Instead of blowout prices on electronics, the music stores have been able to secure small stocks of special album packages – almost all in old-school grooved vinyl – by bands from Pink Floyd to Phish to the Black Keys.Here, the lure isn’t price, it’s rarity.”This was created to give the public something they can’t get anywhere else,” Robbins said. “You can’t just order these things from Amazon.”Eagle Valley Music’s Black Friday specials are an extension of a promotion the trade group holds in the spring, something Robbins said has paid off for him.”If you get a few new customers from one of these events, it’ll pay off in the long run,” Robbins said. Of course, there are a lot of stores in the valley that don’t really sell Black Friday-type merchandise, or have Black Friday-type customers.The Scarab in Minturn specializes in imported rugs and similar items. Presumably, people out looking for a rock-bottom price on a tablet computer aren’t prime candidates to go fine-rug shopping on the same weekend. But the store will be open today.”We’ve never been open on Black Friday before, but we’re going to try it this year,” the Scarab’s Kirsten Wechsler said. “We’re going to be open for Small Business Saturday, too. We’re not expecting a windfall, but we’re going to try.”Then there’s life in Vail Village. Whatever the opposite of Black Friday shopping is, you’ll find it there.At the Bag & Pack Shop in the village, Laura Thompson said the store is still getting its new-for-the-season gear.”People have been asking whether we have Black Friday specials,” Thompson said. “But this is the beginning of our season. We’re not in a metropolitan setting, we’re a premier resort. What we have is new, fresh, and full price.”Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or email@example.com.