The second Black Friday of the pandemic is nearly underway, and Salisbury businesses are preparing for the high traffic shopping day.
Vernon Powell Shoes, Kaiju Records and Barefoot Baby Boutique shared what they are anticipating ahead of the Christmas season this year.
“Shopping local is extremely important for the community,” Vernon Powell President Joe Wright said. “When (people) shop local, more dollars stay here. Think about that before trying to click and buy this year.”
Black Friday deals
All three stores plan to offer special deals on Black Friday this year.
Wright said Vernon Powell plans to offer some deals, though they could be more selective based on inventory availability.
At Barefoot Baby Boutique, styles and prints of clothing in which there is only one item left will be discounted by 50%, according to owner Martha Ogburn.
Kaiju Records plans to discount used records by 10%.
The record store will also extend its hours on Black Friday. Owner Shawn “Bip” Roberts anticipates large crowds, especially since Black Friday is also Record Store Day, a national recognition of independently owned record stores that occurs biannually.
To combat the coronavirus, many stores like Kaiju Records will enforce social distancing guidelines and capacity limits.
“Even though we want people to come out and shop, we want people to be smart,” Roberts said.
Supply chain issues and staffing shortages
Nationwide, excitement for the holiday season has also brought concerns about supply chain issues and labor shortages.
Wright said Vernon Powell has experienced these issues firsthand.
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The shoe store is witnessing shipment delays and operating with fewer employees than before the pandemic.
“We have (products) on order, we just don’t know when (they) will arrive,” he said. “It’s a wait-and-see situation.”
Wright said products could arrive on time, arrive late or never show up.
Though he described this as “scary,” he said the store is still carrying merchandise and is “ready to go” for the holidays.
Additionally, Wright shared optimism for the future.
“Once we get the supply chain fixed, we’d love to get back to business as usual and be open the hours we are typically open and have the number of stuff we’re used to,” he said.
Each store experienced the pandemic differently. For Vernon Powell, the pandemic brought an “extremely challenging” year and a half.
Like small businesses across the country, the shoe store struggled to pay bills, bring in customers and maintain employees, according to Wright.
However, Vernon Powell is “rebounding now,” in Wright’s words.
Kaiju Records experienced the pandemic differently — perhaps due to the resurgence in popularity of vinyl records. In 2020, vinyl outsold CDs for the first time since the 1980s.
Roberts speculated this could be because many people became interested in vinyl while stuck at home during the beginning months of the pandemic.
“I think the pandemic did wonders for the vinyl industry,” he said.
Meanwhile, Barefoot Baby Boutique seemingly lucked out at the beginning of the pandemic. The boutique, which sells organic and eco-friendly clothes and toys, changed locations the week before the shutdown in March 2020.
The months of lockdown allowed Ogburn to set up her new store and prepare for customers.
Ogburn said she is well stocked and looking forward to the holiday season. Though the pandemic can be disheartening for businesses, she said it is important to look at the big picture.
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“It’s the long haul that counts,” Ogburn said. “You can’t get caught up in the moment and get pulled down and get negative. You have to see the long haul and go for that.”
Maddie Aiken is the community reporter for Delmarva Now/The Daily Times. Have a story tip or idea? Send it her way at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @madsaiken.
This article originally appeared on Salisbury Daily Times: Black Friday: Shop local Salisbury businesses urge for Christmas 2021