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Black Friday looms as big shopping day
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Judy Sonke is going to enjoy Thanksgiving more than most.

It’ll be the last time that she gets a chance to rest before heading to her Sears franchise at the Manteca Marketplace on West Yosemite to get ready for the Black Friday sales that people routinely camp out for in order to get the massive discounts offered by the chain stores to kick off the holiday shopping season.

With a 4 a.m. opening time, Sonke will have to be there by 2:30 a.m. to check the orders that came in during the night. She also needs to make sure that everything is in place before opening the doors for the bargain hunters hoping to get their hands on one of the limited items that each store is distributed.

“It’s really a huge day for us in terms of business, and we’ve been having huge weekends because of all of the door busters that Sears has been putting out to build up to it,” Sonke said. “It’s by far the busiest weekend that we have all year, and the sale prices that we have are a big reason for that.”

And while some might think that all it takes to pull off a Black Friday are a few sale items and some open doors, Sonke says that preparation and placement are key to making sure that everything goes off without a hitch.

Rather than spacing out their door busters, aimed at drawing customers into the store to see some of the other items that are available for sale, the Sonkes have decided to consolidate them in one place to make it easier for their customers to locate them.

Thanks to Sears’ aggressive campaign to bring shoppers into their stores, the traffic at the Manteca location has picked up considerably during the last few weeks. Sonke believes that it’s an early indication of what things will be like when the real sales are finally unveiled.

“I think there are like 70 pages for the day after Thanksgiving,” Sonke said. “And while certain items are limited in availability, others – if they’re out of stock – can be ordered, even if they’re on sale. That’s really big for customers that won’t be there early in the morning but still want to get the same savings.

“And now the CEO of Sears is pushing for rewards cards that give customers back actual gift certificates when they spend money in our stores. There was a lady in here last week that got a $60 gift card back after she bought a bunch of things – it’s always good to get money back after you spend it on something.”

But other businesses, like Double Stitch Embroidery, have a completely different approach to the Black Friday shopping craze: Don’t even open the doors.

According to business owner Sunny Enos, the locally owned and operated store is keeping the doors shut tight on the day that most people are flooding into malls to grab up what they can at discounted prices.

“The Christmas season isn’t typically our busiest time of year, and customers that are coming here to get something will typically find time to do it anyway. They don’t have to rush down here and wait in line,” Enos said. “We do sell gift items during Christmas time like heat pressed shirts and sweatshirts with pictures on them and embroidered aprons, robes, and towels.

“But everybody is going to be out at the big stores on that day anyway, so we’re just not going to open up and enjoy the day with our families.”