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Downtown businesses looking forward to shopping weekend
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Natalie Schlenker practices for Black Friday by shopping at Treasure Hunters on Tuesday (ANGELINA MARTIN/The Journal).

Black Friday has historically been reserved for the wait-in-line worthy deals at big box department stores throughout the nation while its counterpart Small Business Saturday is known for encouraging shoppers to spend locally, but in recent years downtown Turlock has turned Main Street into a shopping haven that celebrates a weekend of deals — and success — in the days following Thanksgiving thanks to its loyal customers.

“Believe it or not, there are actually people that come out Friday morning to downtown Turlock,” Treasure Hunters owner Cindy Hoffman said. “This will be our sixth year of being in business during the holiday season, and it’s changed in the past four years.

“People actually show up to support the downtown businesses greatly during those two days and it’s awesome to see that they care. Here they are showing up to spend money in our little stores and we’re thankful for that.”

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Ali Quilici and Whitney Byrd get a jumpstart on their Small Business Saturday shopping at Farm house on Tuesday (ANGELINA MARTIN/The Journal).

Small Business Saturday was first observed in 2010 as a complement to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which feature big box retail and e-commerce stores. In contrast, Small Business Saturday encourages shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local.

Turlock has always shown up to support downtown shops on Small Business Saturday, Farm House owner Candace Gonsalves said.

“In the past, Small Business Saturday has actually been our largest day, even bigger than Black Friday,” Gonsalves said.

The National Retail Federation, the nation's largest retail trade group, is expecting holiday retail sales in November and December — excluding automobiles, gasoline and restaurants — to increase as much as 4.8 percent over 2017 for a total of $720.89 billion. The sales growth marks a slowdown from last year's 5.3 percent, which was the largest gain since 2010.

Remember to shop local, because it’s those little shops that are paying for their kids to go to dance class or are putting bread on the table instead of buying a second home like the CEO of Amazon would be doing. If these people want these little stores to stick around, we need them to shop and spend money here.
Treasure Hunters owner Cindy Hoffman

There will be plenty of deals for shoppers looking to spend downtown this weekend.

At Treasure Hunters, Hoffman said that the store typically offers 10 percent off throughout the weekend as incentive for shoppers after the holiday. Gonsalves believes that the ideals surrounding each day are different, and reflects that in the deals offered at Farm House. Black Friday is about deals, she said, so there will be sales at the shop like $5 dish towels, discounts on glasses, $10 scarves and more. Small Business Saturday, however, is about community.

“We try to cater to our customer base on Saturday, and in years past we’ve always given a gift on that day,” Gonsalves said, adding that Farm House anticipates giving back to customers in the same way this year.

Glitz Fine Clothing employee Marilena Rivera is heading into her fourth year working on Black Friday, she said, and Turlock residents wake up early to catch the boutique’s clothing deals. This year, Glitz is offering 40 percent off from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. on Black Friday, 30 percent off from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 25 percent off the rest of the day.

“Usually we get here at around 5:30 in the morning and there’s already a line out to the corner of people waiting to get in,” Rivera said. “It’s a legit Black Friday for sure.”

Just down the road and across the street is Rustic Roots, where employee Jefferson McGee is looking forward to his first experience in downtown Turlock during the Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. He already worked during the Shop the Blocks event on Nov. 4, which got the holiday shopping season started with limousine rides and champagne, and expects a large crowd to rush to Rustic Roots for 50 percent off of furniture on Black Friday.

“Based on Shop the Blocks, it’s going to be crazy. It was cool that everyone could come down and see the local businesses working together,” McGee said.

He added that the message behind Small Business Saturday is one that everyone should support.

“Not only is it a day where people are coming together to support one another, but I think it shows love — people helping each other, laughing, having fun,” he said. “I think that’s important for a community and its businesses, to help one another and communicate.”

The biggest rivals to downtown businesses, Hoffman said, are online retailers.

“Online sales have really affected I think every store down here,” she said.

Adobe Analytics, which analyzes visits to retail websites, predicts a 15 percent increase in online sales to $124.1 billion in online sales for November and December, and Amazon is even stronger a company now than it was a year ago.

To keep stores like Treasure Hunters, Farm House, Glitz Fine Clothing and Rustic Roots around, Hoffman said the continued loyalty of the community.

“Remember to shop local, because it’s those little shops that are paying for their kids to go to dance class or are putting bread on the table instead of buying a second home like the CEO of Amazon would be doing,” Hoffman said. “If these people want these little stores to stick around, we need them to shop and spend money here.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.