The term “Black Friday” may not have meant much traditionally to the small, local businesses in Cape Ann’s towns, but that’s changing this holiday season.
While brand name department stores and online shopping may dominate the shopping list for some residents, many people still shop and eat locally during the holidays, local merchants say.
That has spurred some two dozen stores in downtown Gloucester to open at 6 a.m. Friday for Black Friday, and it’s encouraged others — like the Sears Hometown Store on Gloucester’s Eastern Avenue — to open as early as 12:30 a.m. Friday.
But while stores in Cape Ann’s towns aren’t getting that quick a jump, business owners in Rockport, Essex and Manchester say they’re confident for a good holiday shopping season, and believe they have an important niche for shoppers in the face of the retail rush.
”We get all of the people who are looking for something special, something out of the ordinary,” said Robert Coviello, owner of Coviello and Main Street Antiques in Essex and the head of the Essex Merchants Group.
Coviello said this is the prime time for local businesses to flourish. When people return to the Cape Ann area to visit their friends and family, he said, it is a great chance to indulge in the local flavor.
Coviello said he’s kept an eye on the cycles of shoppers and family throughout the years, like a tide rolling in and out.
”Thursday, we will get the early birds who came the day before to get shopping done,” he said. “Then Friday, the family members who stayed a day after will be around the towns as well.”
Christian Del Rosario, co-owner of a local surf shop, Surfari in Manchester, said he was giving in to the black Friday tradition.