Shops along 30A are preparing for Black Friday a little differently than the big-box stores. There will be some sales, but merchants are working to make the day not one of door-busters, but of leisure.
Shops of Grayton
The Shops of Grayton will offer a fun and relaxing shopping experience topped off with special deals for customers.
This will be the third year of business at the shops for Ophelia Swimwear’s Tori Von Hoene.
Von Hoene says last year’s Black Friday “was busier than usual,” and she expects the same this year. She adds, however, that the shops’ traffic will not be anything to shy away from.
“It’s more ‘Come and hang out.’ I don’t think you’ll get bumps and bruises,” said Von Hoene.
Ophelia will be serving Mimosas for shoppers to drink, as well as cheese and crackers so shoppers can keep up their strength. Other businesses will likely offer hot chocolates and other treats.
The Shops of Grayton is comprised of Allison Craft Designs, Ophelia Swimwear, The Studio Gallery, Shooz of Grayton, Sweet Bay Prints, nicole paloma, Nest 30A, and Sirens at the Beach, each of which will have special deals for customers Black Friday.
“Each special is localized,” said Von Hoene, whose shop will have “tons of swimsuits that are 75 percent off.”
A constant figure at The Shops, but not a merchant, Michelle Uhlfelder was excited for the holiday offerings by TamTam Stitches, which sells at Sweet Bay Prints.
“Tami Huston does embroidery and makes children's clothes … She makes the most adorable chevron children's dresses and chevron scarves. Embroidery is always really huge during the holidays — everyone wants to personalize bags, shirts for kids and gifts so this is her busy time of the year. Plus, she is one of the only businesses that does this around here,” said Uhlfelder of her friend.
Whether you’re searching for that perfect personalized gift, a beautiful piece of art, or something lovely to wear during the holidays, there will be plenty of steals at The Shops of Grayton.
Von Hoene just hopes it will mirror last year in one aspect.
“It was fun last year,” she said.
The shops are traditionally open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., but some shops may have extended hours.
Over at Gulf Place, the artists have decided to hold two celebrations post-Thanksgiving, with a Friday and Saturday Holiday Open House, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days.
“Last year we had a great crowd, and hopefully will again this year,” said Maxine Orange Bern, who displays her works at her Maxine Orange cottage.
“All of the artists will be there; we have lots of fun crafty art workshops all day both days — (potter) Dwight (Ward) brings his kiln for Raku Firing, there is jewelry making, sand art ornaments, starfish decorating, gingerbread houses, and more. There will be live music from Stevie Ray Moseley, food and cheer,” said Bern.
Santa Claus will be on hand for photo opportunities with the kids Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. He will also pick up his mail from the red "letters to Santa" mailbox, which has been up and available for children to drop off their letters.
Seaside will also have a weekend slate of activities which will kick-off Black Friday, but not in the traditional way.
“You wont find that you’re fighting crowds,” said Erica Pierce of The Seaside Style, a conglomeration of five stores including Perspicasity, Pizitz Home and Cottage, and Seaside Kids, Beach, and Classic.
“There are always great sales. We discontinue the color palette for the season to get ready for the 2013 color pallet,” said Pierce. The famous navy and white T-shirts with Seaside on the front and “New Town, Old Ways” on the back will also be discounted, which Pierce says is unprecedented.
Perspicasity and Pizitz will also have sales for Black Friday shoppers, with fall merchandise on sale and closeouts on furniture.
The Seaside Style will also use Friday to jump-start its holiday food drive, which runs until Dec. 24.
Customers who bring in a bag of canned goods for Caring & Sharing of South Walton will receive 20 percent off of their purchase.
Though Pierce says “the morning starts off pretty slow,” she doesn’t believe that’s a bad thing.
“You can spend the day enjoying the day,” Pierce said. “We are a different kind of shopping experience … you can relax and still find some special offerings.”
Linda White, owner of Sundog Books, says the store will not be drawing crowds with markdowns, but will offer free gift wrapping, as well as their commitment to customer service.
Store hours at Sundog will be extended to 8 a.m. Friday morning until 10 p.m. that night, and White expects it to be busy with traffic from locals and out-of-towners.
She expects the vintage college calendars will be “a big hit” with more than 60 colleges represented.
Upstairs, Central Square Records will open at 8 a.m. and will be releasing limited edition records, from Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan to Toro y Moi and Lumineers.
Other shops in Seaside plan for holiday sales, with Mercantile boasting 20 percent off all holiday merchandise, an extra 20 percent off all sale items and a little something extra with a $200 purchase. Duckies Shop of Fun will offer 20 percent off all clothes and shoes, as well as an additional 20 percent off on sale items and a free gift when customers spend $50.
Snap Tweens at Seaside will offer special early bird prices with 30 percent off 8 to 10 a.m., 25 percent off 10 a.m. to noon, and 20 percent off noon to 2 p.m.
Shimmering Seas Jewelry and Gifts will kick-off the holidays Black Friday with a Shimmer & Glimmer Holiday Celebration.
The store will offer customers champagne and chocolates, as well as the opportunity to win a $100 Shimmer gift certificate. The store will open at 10 a.m. Friday with the unveiling of the PANDORA Black Friday bead.
“On Black Friday and Small Business Saturday customers will receive a free India Hicks Island Living Hand Therapy Lotion with their purchase of $100 or more,” said marketing assistant Samantha Tuno.
For gifts for the athletes in the family, visit The Fitness Fetish Sport and Beach Shop will for its annual Perky Turkey Celebration.
With the purchase of any active wear top and bottom, customers will receive either a free Sweaty Band or a packable Vapur Sport Bottle. Additionally, they will have a chance to win a $100 Fitness Fetish Gift Certificate and opportunities to join their Club FitFet customer loyalty program.
Both Shimmering Seas and Fitness Fetish will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
No matter where you shop in Seaside, however, it will be more about the enjoying oneself than fighting crowds for deals.
“It’s manageable to do Black Friday. I don’t think that we compete (with big-box stores). It’s kind of a rest from the madness,” said Pierce.
So relaxation on the biggest shopping day of the year isn’t your speed: Head over to Silver Sands for Midnight Madness. The stores will have nearly 24 hours of discounts for brave shoppers who aren’t afraid of the dark or the crowds.
Most stores at the Premium Outlets will open at midnight Thursday, with a few stores opening at 9 p.m. Thanksgiving Day. Stores will stay open until 10 p.m. Friday.
The parking lot fills up quickly, and shoppers often park in lots across Hwy 98.
Visit Silver Sands Premium Outlets website at premiumoutlets.com/silversands for a listing of store discounts.