FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Howard Greenspan will be up bright and early Friday. He won’t be ready as early as shoppers planning to storm the malls at midnight, but he plans to offer deals of his own at his Fairfield store on Black Friday — but without the crowds.
“We want to change the rules and say ‘You can go out on Black Friday, get the same deals, and not wait in lines,’” said Greenspan, owner of Fairfield’s Giant Steps Toy Store. “We wanted to make a Black Friday where people can get the safety of a small business.”
Giant Steps will follow the lead of many other stores and open two-and-a-half hours early, at 7 a.m., and will have many items on sale. Other locally owned stores, such as the Shoe Emporium and Apricot Lane, have also planned major sales for Friday. Even the Pequot Library decided to join in with its own Black Friday Book Sale on Friday and Saturday.
But while Black Friday has been a tradition for years, stores are hoping to expand the frenzy throughout the weekend. Small Business Saturday is a program started by American Express in 2010 to encourage shopping at family-owned stores. Cardholders can sign up to get a $25 bonus for spending $25 at a participating small businesses the day after Black Friday.
“Small Business Saturday provides an opportunity to harness the nation's enthusiasm for small business and celebrate their impact on local communities and the national economy," Susan Sobbott, president of American Express OPEN, said in a statement.
Fairfield’s Chamber of Commerce is also looking to kick off the holiday season with a big draw this weekend. This Saturday is the annual Santa’s Arrival on Sherman Green. Santa will arrive at 10 a.m. on a fire truck, offering stuffed animals to each waiting kid.
The event will also include craft and bake sales from local nonprofit groups, a petting zoo, horse and buggy rides, an arts and crafts activity table for kids and breakfast cooked by the Fairfield Kiwanis Club. The event lasts until 3 p.m., and many stores in the Fairfield Center area will offer special deals.
Giant Steps also has a special event planned for Saturday. Carol Aebersold, author of the “The Elf on the Shelf,” will read from her book while kids participate in an elf-themed craft party.
“We don’t believe that people should just come to us because we’re a small business,” Greenspan says. “We believe that we should provide an extra value to our customers.”