RiverGate gears up for shopping season

jmarks@lakewyliepilot.comNovember 20, 2012 

— It’s the most profitable time of the year. At least it could be come Friday, and through an elongated shopping season that many in the RiverGate center hope will put their bottom lines into the black.

Jenni Freeman, manager at Bath & Body Works, prepped last week for the anticipated Black Friday rush at her store. She’s planning to open at midnight, offer VIP bags with more than $100 in discounts and, for the only time all year, allow shoppers to “stack coupons” to their hearts’ content.

Last year, Black Friday brought up to 274 transactions in one hour on just two registers. Regular staff of 15 is more than doubling to 33 for the holidays, particularly for Black Friday.

“Definitely our business is continuing to grow,” Freeman said.

Manager Allan Strickler is opening Omega Sports an hour early on Black Friday. Cold temperatures don’t keep shoppers from piling up outdoor sports gear, with Christmastime second only to the warmer back-to-school rush at Omega for total sales.

“It’s not as big as some of the big box retailers or the malls, but we definitely see a bump in business,” he said.

Restaurants, dessert shops, massage or haircut places – the stories are the same. Even places that provide services that can’t be wrapped up for a month do well with gift cards or similar items. The Wine Shop does well on Black Friday, but even better just prior. They’ll be open on Thanksgiving, but for fewer hours than normal.

“We always do well the day before Thanksgiving,” said Devin Allen. “That’s one of the biggest days of the year for us.”

Ready to shop?

Several events are planned for RiverGate near its central fountain during the holiday season, including:

Nov. 24, Santa and Mrs. Claus, 12-2 p.m.

Nov. 25, Strolling Carolers, 1-4 p.m.

Dec. 1, Strolling Carolers, 1-4 p.m. and Horse and Carraige Rides 4-7 p.m.

Dec. 2, Santa and Mrs. Claus, 2-4 p.m.

Dec. 8, Santa and Mrs. Claus, 12-2 p.m. and Horse and Carraige Rides 1-4 p.m.

Dec. 9, Strolling Carolers, 1-4 p.m.

Dec. 15, Strolling Carolers, 1-4 p.m. and Horse and Carraige Rides 1-4 p.m.

Dec. 16, Santa and Mrs. Claus, 2-4 p.m.

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