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Staying local on Black Friday


SYLACAUGA, Ala. – In just a few days, canopies, lawn chairs, and RVs will be set up in parking lots, and thousands of excited people will impatiently wait to become big winners. Although this may sound like a traditional Iron Bowl tailgate, it’s not football but Black Friday.

On Black Friday, hardcore shoppers hope to benefit from heavily discounted prices. Many will fight cold temperatures, long lines, and other shoppers, and that is before the shopping spree even begins. When the doors open, herds of shoppers will run wildly into stores and malls to make sure they get their favorite items.

Shopping trends change every year, so what will be the best deals for 2016?

According to a poll conducted by Consumer Technology Associates (CTA), 116 million Americans plan to purchase tech or tech accessories this week. “By all accounts, the 2016 Black Friday week looks like it will be a record breaker for tech,” said Shawn DuBravac, Ph.D., chief economist, CTA.

The top 10 technology picks according to the CTA website included:

  • Televisions
  • Laptops
  • Smartphones
  • Videogame consoles
  • Tablet computers
  • Headphones
  • Tech accessories
  • DVD or Blu-ray disc players
  • Digital cameras
  • Wearables

Sylacauga Chamber of Commerce Marketing Director Laura Strickland told that the technology trend could mean less business during the coming week for Sylacauga’s small businesses. “That would probably be the type of item that people would leave Sylacauga to purchase,” said Strickland. “I think that’s the case in most small communities like ours.”

That people leave the area on Black Friday is not a new trend, according to Buttons & Bows owner Tammy Gardner. She said Black Friday has not always been a great day for her boutique, but changes she’s made this year should help business. In the past, Buttons & Bows has opened on Thanksgiving night, but this year they’ll open at 8:00 a.m. on Friday.

Gardner told that Buttons & Bows will feature a store wide 20 percent discount sale, as well as door buster surprises for customers. “We’ve never done a store-wide discount on Black Friday,” said Gardner. “We’ve done sales at certain hours, but never the full 20 percent off, so we’re going to try it this time and see what happens.”

Magnolias owner Linda Hardy also emphasized the importance of shopping local. “We feel like the dollars spent at home are gifted right back to you,” said Hardy. “It’s an investment in the city and an investment in the future.”

She will open at 10 a.m. on Friday and plans on having sales on many items. Hardy said Magnolias will also play games and hold customer giveaways.

If you are one of those 100-plus million Americans intent on buying tech items, you can find those locally, too. Sylacauga Walmart Manager Aaron Fenton said his store is featuring numerous tech items including the iPhone 5 for $99, 55-inch 4KUHD televisions for under $300, digital cameras, drones, and more. These items will go on sale at Walmart at 6:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

“It’s first come, first served, and certain items will have a higher demand,” said Fenton. “We’ve tried to identify those items to help form lines which could start as early as noon.”

Discounted items at stores are not limited to Buttons & Bows, Magnolias, and Walmart. Strickland told that almost all local retailers in Sylacauga will offer some type of discounted items, and the money spent at these local retailers is vital to the community.

“To keep the tax dollars in our community is important because that’s what funds our programs,” Strickland added. “The more we can spend in Sylacauga, the more we can do for our citizens, our students, and our schools.”

According to Strickland, buying local benefits the community, but it may also benefit you personally.

Internal Revenue Service guidance may also help perspective. The standard business auto mileage rate, intended to estimate the costs of fuel, oil changes, wear and tear on brakes and tires, other maintenance, and vehicle depreciation, is 54 cents per mile, meaning, for example, that the “hidden” cost for a round-trip shopping adventure to Birmingham is almost $50 — which might be better spent on products and services available locally.

Jeremy Law for | © 2016, City Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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