Shopping season begins today |

Shopping season begins today

So what are you doing today? Shopping?

If so, you’ll join a vast sea of bargain hunters who flood into stores the day after Thanksgiving.

Considered the kickoff day for holiday shopping, the post-Thanksgiving trip to the mall is as much a tradition for many people at Thursday’s turkey and stuffing.

About 40 percent of all retail sales happen during the last two months of the year, according to Ray Earhart, the new co-owner with his wife Robbie of Sierra Gifts in the Bijou Center.

Or that’s what he hears. The Earharts bought the gift shop in June and are not sure what to expect this weekend, but they prepared for a busy weekend.

“The UPS man (and all the other delivery people) and I are on a first name basis,” Earhart said.

The Earharts also own Tahoe Togs. That tourist-oriented shop does not have the influx of holiday shoppers.

“At Tahoe Togs, November is the slowest month of the year. One of the reasons we bought Sierra Gifts was so that when it’s slow here (at Tahoe Togs), it’s busy there.

Due to the influences of tourism and the small-town shopping limitations, retail businesses at Tahoe tend to work a little differently than in other parts of the country.

“I don’t think (Thanksgiving shopping) is a major blip in the way the South Shore community behaves,” said Kathleen Farrell, executive director of the Tahoe-Douglas Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s my experience that if we have a strong opening of the ski resorts in concert with Thanksgiving, and people are in the mood to shop, then the day after is a positive experience.

Nevertheless, some retailers, even at South Shore, make an extra effort to ensure a booming business for the Thanksgiving weekend.

Sidestreet Boutique in the Crescent V Center has everything in the store 20 to 25 percent off. On Thanksgiving Day, those who took a break from feasting and football had an additional 10 percent off.

Overall, Thanksgiving weekend is a good weekend but not necessarily the best of the year, boutique Manager Stacey Barreras said.

“Dollar-wise, someone might come in on a slower day and buy a fur for $10,000 which would make that a great day,” she said. “As far as traffic goes, it’s a busier weekend.”

Kmart puts out several special advertisements for the weekend, including one for Thanksgiving day.

“Thanksgiving is a big day for us,” Tahoe store Manager Jerry Lockhart said, noting the store hires an extra 35 to 40 people for the holiday shopping season. “It’s the start of the season and sets the pace for the following weeks to come.”

By the time the weekend ends, retailers will know just what toys are selling fast and the holiday decorating trends for the year, he said. Most retail shops also begin their extended holiday hours on Thanksgiving weekend.

The weekend is not necessarily the busiest day, Lockhart said, noting the three days before Christmas tend to be bigger.

From Thanksgiving on, “it just keeps building.”

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