If the big-box boys can do it, so can the little guys.
As “midnight madness” spreads among the area’s largest retailers on Black Friday, copycat actions have begun amongst smaller stores eager to play off the unprecedented early start to sales on the busiest shopping days of the year.
The earliest bird of all is Wal-Mart—with the two Niles stores flinging open their doors for holiday bargain-hunters at 10 p.m. Thanksgiving Day. Meanwhile other major retailers will follow two hours later: three Best Buy stores — two in Skokie and one in Niles — along with a pair of Target stores in Niles, the Kohl’s store in Golf Mill in Niles and Macy’s in Westfield Old Orchard in Skokie. Kohl’s, in fact, will be open 24 hours — 12 a.m. to 12 a.m. — on Black Friday. These midnight openings are the first in the history of their respective stores nationwide.
And as police anticipate longer lines of customers during the expanded hours, they don't expect security and traffic problems.
“Typically the stores people start lining up way ahead of time (on Thanksgiving), camping out,” said Officer Joe Marzigliano of Skokie’s Crime Prevention office. “Our patrols are aware of it. The stores have kept things orderly.”
“We’ve never had an issue with any of them,” said Niles Cmdr. Joseph Penze.
Old Orchard employs off-duty Skokie police officers for its security force. But no off-duty Niles officers work for Golf Mill, Penze said.
Following Macy’s Early Start
Ann Taylor, the women’s apparel shop across the walkway from Macy’s southeast entrance, felt the business had to play off the bigger store’s traffic flow. Store manager Maria Rosales petitioned corporate headquarters to open at midnight instead of the original 6 a.m. Friday start, and got the go-ahead. “I want some gravy on top of regular sales,” said Rosales.
Not to be left behind, other Macy's mall neighbors will also pull all-nighters to play off the expected flow of shoppers into the longtime Old Orchard anchor store. Justice, Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch are open for the first time at midnight, said Westfield Old Orchard general manager Tom Geiges. The Gap also got the corporate OK to start at midnight, although other stores in the chain aren’t opening until just after dawn.
“Macy is such a draw, they (other stores) figure they’re going to draw a crowd,” said Geiges. “It’s becoming more and more popular, retailers know how to do it well. As a company we’re getting accustomed to it.”
Nearly four miles south, an electronics competitor just a parking lot away from Best Buy’s Village Crossing center location figured it had to match the established chain outlet second by second just two months after opening.
hhgregg, 5701 W. Touhy Ave., had its grand opening Sept. 15. The nationwide chain will be open from midnight to 9 p.m. on Black Friday. All items in the store worth $99 or more will be on sale.
“It will be brutal,” said an hhgregg employee who declined to be identified. “The wave of customers staying up will come in (at midnight), then another will come in at 6 a.m. I hope there will be a break in-between.”
Sears’ Influences Later Openings at Golf Mill
Other major retailers, like Golf Mill's Sears’, have decided to delay its opening until 4 a.m. on Black Friday. Sears' decision prevented its neighbors in the south end of the Golf Mill Shopping Center from midnight openings to rival the free-standing Best Buy and Target outlets nearby. The mall interior entrance to the open Kohl’s will be closed at midnight.
Golf Mill administrative assistant Angela Moreno said the mall will open its doors shortly before the 4 a.m. start times at Children’s Place, Express, Fashion Era, Finish Line and Game Stop. Bath and Body will open at 4:30 a.m., a half-hour prior to Gloria Jean’s, Northgate and Toyland.
Meanwhile on the Old Orchard front neither Nordstrom nor Bloomingdale’s, both upscale outlets, will open on the midnight watch. Bloomingdale’s will open at 8 a.m. with a special sale for every $100 spent, the purchaser gets a $15 coupon for their next visit. Nordstrom opens at 9 a.m.
Another store sitting out holiday hustle is the Apple store. Apple will be open between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. Nov. 25.
“Black Friday is a normal day for us,” an Apple employee told Patch. “We never have sales.”
Stay tuned to Patch for more Holiday shopping stories. Like your local Patch on Facebook to join the conversation.