Small businesses prepare for Black Friday

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Local businesses across Hawaii are preparing ahead of time for Black Friday.

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Small businesses have been hit especially hard during the pandemic.

Several business owners say they had to make major adjustments when stores were required to close back in March.

Eden in Love, located at South Shore Marketplace in Honolulu, had thousands of people wait in line during last year’s Black Friday sales event.

The owner, Tanna Dang, said it was so busy that there was a two to three hour wait in line just to check out.

When March rolled around and businesses were forced to close, she said they started shifting toward online sales. Dang shared that they went from 20 items on their website to an estimated 3,000 items as of late November.

“This year, we said, if our goal is to keep our community safe and to keep our people healthy, we cannot have anything in store. So we are going to have a sale, but it’s going to be a fraction of what’s going to be online,” Dang explained.

Eden in Love started their Black Friday deals early offering 50 percent off all items every Friday in November.

She said they’ve gone from six sales a week to 6,500 this month.

“We really tried to think of ways that we could just make people happy and spark joy in this pandemic,” she said.

“Our Black Friday sales actually exceeded what we did last year already,” she explained.

Dang said it’s paid off switching to online because now they’re able to sell items globally.

Keani Hawaii owner, Keani Barnes, also had to make adjustments this year.

The small business owner opened two stores on Maui in the last two years. One in Makawako and the other at Whaler’s Village in Kaanapali. She had a record-breaking year in 2019 and was excited for 2020.

When the lockdown happened, she also switched her focus to online and social media.

She said it’s been heartbreaking to see so many businesses close this year and she wants people to support local this holiday season.

“I think that if you love a business, you have to support it. You are the only thing keeping it alive,” Barnes said. “I’ve been super blessed to have people come in and cheer me up by just being like, ‘I just came in to shop with you because I don’t want you to go away.'”

Last year, Ala Moana Shopping Center drew tens of thousands of shoppers.

Hundreds waited outside Honolulu Homecoming, but this year, stores will have to keep it to 50 percent occupancy due to Oahu’s tier system.

“Last year was crazy busy. We had a line before we opened at 6 a.m.,” recalls Honolulu Homecoming store manager Glenny Quiaoit.

“So you can only imagine if there are a ton of people flocking to the mall and they’re limiting the number of people, then the lines are going to be crazy outside,” she said.

As case numbers rise statewide, retailers said switching to online has prepared them to move forward.

Jaxsea at Andaz Maui Wailea said she’s staying positive and hopes case numbers can remain low and everyone can stay healthy.

“I honestly think we all mentally prepared for this. We knew there was a second wave coming,” she said. “So I honestly have no expectations. I’m just happy to be open.”

Jaxsea has already started Black Friday deals with code YOURESCAPE40

Keani Hawaii will announce their Black Friday deals this week

Honolulu Homecoming will not be doing online deals for Black Friday, but will offer discounts in-store.

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