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Black Friday is almost here and it’s time to talk strategy.
From big business to mom and pops, from designer outlets to artisans, stores in the Historic Triangle are ready to help you ace your holiday shopping.
And whether go online or brick and mortar, whether you go local or luxury, whether you want to buy booze at a discount or avoid getting scammed, it’s all about having a game plan.
“I think people want a balance,” said Bob Harris, vice president of tourism at the Williamsburg Chamber of Commerce.
If designer duds and bags are your thing, Williamsburg Premium Outlets, 5715 Richmond Rd., will kick off Black Friday on Thanksgiving Day at 6 p.m., according to Lisa Jones, director of marketing and business development.
The center will stay open through Friday at 10 p.m., for 28 hours of nonstop shopping.
Jones declined to provide specific numbers about last year’s Black Friday bargain hunters, but she did say the outlet center, which has been open for 20 years, had a strong kickoff for the 2015 holiday shopping season and looks for similar interest this year.
“We’re expecting basically the same turnout,” she said.
Which is why it’s important to have a plan before hitting the parking lot.
Jones suggested going online first, to prioritize which stores to visit, when they’re open and what discounts they’re offering. Also plan ahead of time where to park and keep common sense in mind, too.
“Come as early as possible,” Jones said. “Be patient.”
The outlet center will have a VIP lounge, with comfy seating, snacks, Starbucks coffee and a Black Friday DJ from 6 p.m. to midnight. Admission is free and open to anyone who registers online or onsite.
“We have so many choices,” said Jones. “You could get your holiday list all checked off in one day here.”
Williamsburg offers more than outlet shopping, of course.
Tourists and locals alike can take inspiration from Small Business Saturday, the day after Black Friday, and find locally sourced gift options – including works by local artists that will connect the recipient to the Historic Triangle, Harris said.
“This is a good opportunity to celebrate that as well,” he added.
Among the places Harris suggested are Quirks of Art, 1430 High St., the Williamsburg Art Gallery, 440 W. Duke of Gloucester St., and A Touch of Earth, 6580 Richmond Rd.
Another way to buy locally sourced gifts comes from the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
The state’s alcoholic beverage retailer is offering holiday specials, including a Black Friday 10-percent discount on pretax purchases totaling between $50 and $74.99, and a 15-percent discount on pretax purchases of $75 or more.
“It’s the best sale that we offer throughout the year,” said Kathleen Shaw, a spokesperson for ABC.
On Cyber Monday, observed on Nov. 28, ABC will offer the same tiered discounts on more than 200 premium products, including 66 Virginia-made spirits, according to a release.
To place your order, go to abc.virginia.gov.
But don’t expect a Cyber Monday booze delivery at your doorstep. You still have to go to an ABC Store to pick up your order and show ID.
Speaking of Cyber Monday, a word of caution from Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring, whose Consumer Protection Section recently circulated a release with tips for online holiday shoppers. Among them:
- Pay by credit card whenever possible.
- Get a gift receipt.
- Keep a record of your purchase, including price, online receipt and shipping information.
- Make sure you know the refund policy and delivery date