Black Friday begins on Wednesday at Rose & Eye, where the owners of the women’s boutique on West Beech Street will throw an in-store party for loyal customers. It’s one way Long Beach businesses look to compete during the busiest shopping day and weekend of the year, when shoppers typically head to the malls.
“If you want to compete with the big guys and keep people in town, you have to offer some of the same things they’re offering,” Rose & Eye co-owner Michael Muratore, who worked at Lord & Taylor on 5th Avenue for 15 years, said about starting the Christmas-holiday season early. “And the real business happens on Wednesday and Saturday around Thanksgiving.”
The boutique will offer 25 percent off all purchases from Wednesday to Sunday. Muratore said among the top-selling items are his sequin tops ($42), wrap sweaters ($48 to $72), ponchos ($65) and Jeggings, a jean legging ($48).
Across town at owner Nick Mehra will offer 20 to 50 percent discounts on cell phones and accessories to at least Sunday. “We may even carry the promotion until Monday,” he said.
Mehra must compete with Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, MetroPCS and RadioShack, not only at their stores at Roosevelt Field, but also within a block of his store on East Park Avenue. He promotes his independent, multi-carrier store as one-stop shopping store that caters to customers' particular needs. So while the prices of Mehra’s most popular items, whether Android-based smartphones or iPads, are already set by their manufacturers, Cell City offers competitive packages. For Black Friday and beyond, he is pushing a family package of four lines, including unlimited talk, text and web, at $400 and no contract required.
Joseph Christopher is one business that will offer deals only on Black Friday. The salon and spa has a client email base that is 10,000 strong, and will primarily use that list to promote its one-day discount: 30 percent off gift cards ($150 minimum) for all spa services (massages, facials, nail care, hair and body treatments) and all salon services (except hair color).
“Customers can call up and we can either mail [the gift card] to them for an slight extra charge, or they can come pick it up at the store, or we can email it to them and they can print it,” said Manager Kathy Magnus.
Magnus noted that Joseph Christopher, located on West Park Avenue, is perhaps one of the few salons between Long Beach and the mall that offers Aveda hair, skin and body products.
Down the block at Maritime Surf, a surf shop at West Park and Laurelton Boulevard, Mike Flammer finds it difficult owning a small store on the beach in the winter. “It’s not a destination like Roosevelt Field where you can hit 30 stores at a time,” he said.
Having worked at surf shops in Long Beach for 15 years, Flammer said business typically peaks just days before Christmas. So starting on Friday, hoping to catch an earlier rush, Flammer will offer three days worth of 10 to 50 percent discounts, including 20 percent off a Patagonia down sweater, a nylon-type jacket with a $200 price tag.
During the holidays the biggest sellers are wetsuits, which are generally priced from $135 (Billabong) to $625 (Patagonia), and surfboards starting at $500.
“It’s so hard though because you can go to Best Buy and they have all the TVs at 75 percent off with no percentage financing for two years,” Flammer said. “And people will say, ‘Heck, ‘I’ll buy a TV instead of a surf board.’”
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