Black Friday an Opportunity for Hillsborough Shops
Presence of national chains means opportunity for shoppers, local merchants say
It’s actually a pretty good place to be heading into the first big holiday shopping weekend, Sweeney said this week.
“The crowds don’t thin out after their door-buster specials,” he said. “The parking lot is full all day. We get the spillover.”
Sweeney’s store is attached to the Kohl’s, which anchors one end of the sprawling shopping center on Route 206. The proximity increases his own traffic, he said.
This year, larger, national retailers are expanding the traditional Black Friday by adding hours on Thanksgiving Day. For smaller retailers, it is a choice of whether to follow the lead of their larger neighbors, or keep to their usual hours.
Sweeney, for example, said being open in the overnight hours would be a security risk for a jewelry store.
But for Elisha Papera, manager of Justice, Just for Girls, a merchandiser of trendy fashions for teen-age girls, the lesson learned last year changed how her company approached this shopping season.
“We missed out on sales last year because we didn’t open at midnight,” she said.
This year the store, which is part of a national chain, will be open at midnight Friday, matching Kohl’s opening.
“This our first time opening at midnight," she said.
The store is offering sales up to 40 percent off to lure customers.
Hillsborough’s shopping district is several miles long on Route 206 and features seven larger shopping areas, and dozens of smaller stores and business that fill a variety of strip malls and stand-alone spots.
The presence of the Bridgewater Mall, 10 miles away, helps explain the general absence of large anchors stores in Hillsborough.
While the Hillsborough Promenade contains a Kohl’s and a Lowe’s hardware center as anchor stores, many of the other shopping centers are anchored by a grocery store, even while being filled with restaurants, locally owned specialty shops and local versions of national chains.
The atmosphere for highlighting local connections and promoting one’s business niche, said Maria Scerbo, owner of Haute, a “fashion forward” boutique for women.
The shop features fashion accessories including ostrich feather hats and purses, glittery bracelets and pins, and necklaces that Scerbo said, speak to trends, and reflect the interests and tastes of her staff, herself and her customers.
Open since late October, Haute has seemingly filled a gap in the local market for accessories that have flair, Scerbo said. She had lived in Hillsborough for 20 years and is aware of what women are seeking in a local shop, she said.
Scerbo said she also seeks out local artesians whose products and designs both fit into the store’s atmosphere and enhance the product line. It is a way of expanding the economic impact of a local shop, she said.
Scerbo, too, takes advantage of the presence of Kohl’s.
While it is a day when shoppers seek out larger items like big-screen televisions, once they have hit the mall and the large retailers, Scerbo said, her customers drop by seeking that special piece they might not find in the other stores.