Local Businesses Celebrate Black Friday During Pandemic

As shoppers across the country celebrate Black Friday, local stores throughout the Northland celebrated with bargains as they learn to accommodate to shopping during the pandemic.

DULUTH, Minn. – As shoppers across the country celebrate Black Friday, local stores throughout the Northland celebrated with bargains as they learn to accommodate to shopping during the pandemic.

After a nontraditional Thanksgiving holiday, small businesses across Duluth opened for an equally unconventional Black Friday.

For Blue Heron in Duluth, it was a slower shopping holiday this year. The store didn’t have any particular Black Friday deals, but it was still open for customers. Management there says they didn’t expect many people because of pandemic restrictions.

“We’re certainly feeling this sense of caution this year,” said Sam Connolly, the manager at Blue Heron Trading Company. “We aren’t anticipating hoards of people nor are we encouraging hoards of people.”

Meanwhile, at DLH Clothing in Lincoln Park, Black Friday was celebrated for the first time. Business owners say they usually take Black Friday off for an extra day of rest, but with the pandemic, they felt it was appropriate to extend hours for customers.

“It’s a time to really celebrate small businesses,” said Sarah Herrick-Smisek, co-owner of DLH Clothing. “But people seem to really rally around this weekend and we’re excited that we get three days of it versus just one this year.”

Black Friday was also a first for Underwood Coffee after it opened just two months ago. For the shopping day and throughout the entire weekend, the business is giving customers 20% off all its merchandise.

Owners say small businesses need the help, especially during these next few days.

“We love it and we want to keep providing this service and to do that, people need to buy our products,” said Jake Underwood, the co-owner of Underwood Coffee. “And that’s the same with any small business right now. Everybody’s struggling.”

Back Alley, a surf shop in Lincoln Park, hosts businesses like Underwood Coffee who don’t currently have a storefront. Management there says they want to help local merchants during difficult times like these.

“Just supporting the community and supporting the people making stuff here in Duluth and just making things all over the place that are just making things that they love and people need to be supported in order to keep doing what they’re doing, said Jerome Fischer, the owner of Back Alley.

Businesses like Underwood Coffee and DLH Clothing are offering orders online as well for those who feel uncomfortable shopping in-person but still want to shop local.

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