LIHUE — It’s that time of year again.
As many residents prepare their Thanksgiving feasts or gather for some fellowship, retailers across Kauai are stocking shelves and preparing for one of the busiest shopping days of the year: Black Friday.
Kukui Grove Center spokeswoman Stacie Chiba-Miguel said the Lihue shopping mall will open at 8 a.m. on Black Friday and feature KONG radio host Ron Wiley, who will be giving away door prizes from 10 a.m. to noon.
“For Kukui Grove, it’s a really important time for us,” Chiba-Miguel said. “It’s the time of the year when the community comes together and Kukui Grove really makes a big effort into supporting the community, whether it be through the shopping center’s annual parade for kids and having Santa at the mall and doing toy drives and food drives.”
The shopping rush, however, will begin a little earlier for Sports Authority and Macy’s, which will open at 6 tonight. Ross Dress for Less, meanwhile, will open one hour later at 7 p.m.
“This is the most exciting year because we have Ross, Sports Authority, and Pier 1 now,” Chiba-Miguel said. “It’ll be a really fun Black Friday. It’s the first year that the community doesn’t have to fly to Honolulu, so the money saved can go back into the community to these retailers who have provided local jobs.”
Kmart will also be open today, beginning at 6 a.m.
“Kmart has been open on Thanksgiving Day for 23 years, offering our customers a place to go for any last-minute needs on the holiday,” Kmart spokeswoman Annika Tunberg wrote in an email. “We’ve seen consistent positive reaction from members showing up early, before doors open (at 6 a.m. at Kmart stores) to shop Thanksgiving door busters.”
Kmart’s Thanksgiving specials starting at 7 p.m. include a 50-inch RCA 1080p HDTV for $449.99, and on Black Friday from 6 a.m, to non, special include 80 percent off all 10 kt. gold earrings and a ping pong table for $79.99.
Longs Drugs will open at 5 a.m. today and Black Friday, and is offering a coupon on its fliers for 30 percent off, buy one get one 50 percent off deal on toys, assorted toys, and buy one, get one free on Tiger Sahara Cool stainless steel bottles.
Walmart Store Manager Crystal Fernandes said the island’s only store in Lihue will be open during normal business hours from 6 a.m. to midnight on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday. Black Friday specials, however, will begin at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.
Hot items this year, she said, include flat-screen television sets and mini iPads for $249.
To help mitigate the Black Friday rush, Fernandes said customers can only line up for the Black Friday specials two hours ahead of time. Wristbands for certain store items, she added, will also be handed out to customers, allowing them two hours after a Black Friday event starts to shop around the store and pick it up.
“Our priority is providing our customers with the easiest and safest shopping experience, so we’re ready and prepared for them,” Fernandes said. “Walmart sets up a great plan, they take care of the ads, so my associates and I can focus on taking care of our customers.”
Ace Hardware is offering a 50 percent off coupon on one regularly-priced item under $30 on Friday only, and Saturday and Sunday is offering a coupon for $10 off a purchase of $50 or more on regular-priced merchandise.
“We’re heading into one of the busiest time of the year, and I’m really excited,” said Demmis Cisneros, the Macy’s store manager at Ala Moana Shopping Center on Oahu.
Macy’s has a store at Kukui Grove Center.
Cisneros said some of the biggest challenges for him and other Macy’s officials across the state are ensuring that each store is staffed properly to accommodate the Black Thursday and Black Friday rushes.
Other challenges, he said, include ensuring merchandise is replenished quickly and that lines at the cash register don’t back up.
“Predominantly, you always have people waiting outside before the store opens,” Cisneros said. “Obviously, the crowds can be bigger depending on the size of the store.”
Other retailers are bucking the trend of opening earlier, and instead, remaining closed on Thanksgiving Day.
Though DejaVu Surf Hawaii stores opened up to Black Friday shoppers at midnight in previous years, company spokeswoman Sara Miura said their Kukui Grove Center and original Old Kapaa Town locations will be closed on Thanksgiving Day and reopen for business at 6 a.m. on Black Friday.
“We’re a family-owned business, so we decided that it was important for our co-workers to have the full Thanksgiving day to spend with their friends and families,” Miura said.
Poipu Shopping Village General Manager Valerie Roland said the shopping center will be open on Thanksgiving Day and on Black Friday during normal hours from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
“Resort shopping centers are a little different than your community malls like Kukui Grove,” Roland said. “It’s just a little different in how tenants in resort shopping centers buy — they buy differently than what a Macy’s store would buy like in bulk or quantity — so that’s why our hours just remain the same.”