By Jason Lockhart
THERE ARE SEVERAL stores in downtown Red Bank that plan to extend their hours on Thanksgiving Weekend. With Black Friday being the official kickoff day for holiday shopping.
Some independently-owned retail stores plan to make the most of the season by staying open a few extra hours on a weekend in which thousands of people plan to shop. Red Bank storeowners like Ellen Halpern of Esoterica Salon believes it’s a fabulous time for everyone to shop.
“We have a lot of fantastic gift items that you would see on the runway and in fashion magazines,” said Halpern, who sells fragrances, cosmetics, and jewelry at her salon on Monmouth Street. “I think people will be ready to climb out of their dull rooms and go back to spending. The job market is opening back up, so people will be working and having money to spend.”
Prima’s Home, a furniture store on Broad Street, has no plans to extend its shopping hours for the Black Friday weekend unless demand warrants it, but is looking forward to seeing more business during the holiday season
“We are hoping for more sales to close on Thanksgiving weekend since we have more items in the store such as the 300 items that are under $300,” said store manager Roberto Nogueira.
Nov. 26 is also the date of the annual Town Concert and Tree Lighting featuring the Holiday Express band. The popular event brings thousands of people to downtown Red Bank for the early evening event, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into more sales for retailers, one shop owner says.
Linda Moller, co-owner of LUX Beauty Store of Broad Street, said Holiday Express may bring more people to the area but it’s also a distraction from shopping.
“I feel that many times when there is a public event, retail stores do not do well because people are there for the event,” said Moller who added that her store was brand new when the town tree lighting and concert took place last year. “No one wants to be out carrying bags.”
One store that’s hoping to capitalize on the crowds in town for the tree lighting is
a brand new furniture store opening up on Broad Street on Black Friday. Trading Post 65, a growing furniture chain that has stores in New York and Florida, plans to stay open up until 11 p.m. so that those coming into town for the tree lighting and concert can do a little shopping as well.
“Staying open late will get a lot of people to come in and check out the store,” said project manager Eileen Larkin who said she is excited about having the store open on one of the busiest days of the year. “We will also have painters, guitar players, food, and apple cider for people that come in to view the store.”