Businesses prepare for holiday shopping season

Businesses prepare for holiday shopping season

Black Friday not as busy, ‘terrifying’ in Juneau as elsewhere, owners say

As soon as the tryptophan wears off and the football is over, many people start preparing for their Black Friday shopping.

For businesses around town, the preparation for holiday shopping season starts long before then. Around Juneau on Wednesday, store owners and employees were decorating and stocking their shelves in advance of the biggest shopping day of the year.

In Juneau, Black Friday is a bit of a perfect combination, a couple business owners said Wednesday. While it’s still a big day for business, it’s not quite the madhouse that it is in some other communities. You’re unlikely to see a viral video of Juneau customers knocking each other down to get a deal.

Anthoney Gurule, the store manager at Fred Meyer, has worked in retail for 20 years in Southern California and Anchorage and said his favorite place to do Black Friday is in Juneau.

“The community makes it an event that’s more exciting than terrifying,” Gurule said. “It’s fun. It’s not something to be dreaded.”

Gurule, who has been in Juneau for a little over a year, said there’s a good energy at Fred Meyer on Black Friday. It isn’t a competition or a mad rush, but just a dedicated group of shoppers looking for a deal, he said.

The store opens at 5 a.m., and Gurule said he usually gets to work at about 4 a.m. On Black Friday last year, he found a line already extending from the middle entrance of the store to the pharmacy. Fred Meyer employees hand out coffee to people in line, he said, and it’s a relaxed, happy group of people.

There’s one more reason to look forward to it this time around, Gurule said.

“I’m excited this year,” Gurule said. “It’s not as cold as last year.”

The action isn’t quite as exciting at Costco, General Manager Aaron Lahnum said. The store is opening an hour early, at 9 a.m., but that’s about the only major change. Lahnum said Juneau’s Costco will have the same sales advertised nationally. Items on sale include refrigerators, laptops, tablets, televisions and vacuum cleaners. Many sales start online on Thanksgiving, and people can go to to find more.

Alaska Airlines has annual Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales as well, according to its website, offering discounts on flights. That sale begins Friday.

Downtown, more than a dozen businesses are also opening up a little bit early and are offering free donuts for visitors. The event, coordinated by the Downtown Business Association, is called Deals and Donuts and is meant to give people a place to go before the Public Market opens at noon. Shops will open at 8 a.m.

Deals & Donuts has been successful in bringing people out to downtown the past two years, and DBA Downtown Director Dana Herndon said they hope to make this an annual Black Friday tradition due to its popularity.

Participating businesses include: Annie Kaill’s Gallery; The Bear’s Lair; Ben Franklin; Bustin’ Out Boutique; Downtown Dames; Foggy Mountain Shop; Harbor Tea and Spice; Heritage Coffee Roasting Company; Juneau Artists Gallery; Juneau Drug; Juneau’s Imagination Station; Hearthside Books and Toys; Rainy Retreat Books; Shoefly; and Trove.

Mike Wiley, the owner of Ben Franklin, said they’ll have Black Friday deals and are looking forward to it, but this is more of a warm-up for the biggest downtown event of the holiday season: Gallery Walk.

Gallery Walk, which takes place from 4-9 p.m. Dec. 7 this year, is essentially a block party downtown that offers shopping, artwork, food and live music. Wiley said that the rush of Black Friday has become “watered down” over the years with online shopping becoming more prevalent, but Gallery Walk has continued to be reliable.

“For us, really our Black Friday is Gallery Walk,” Wiley said, “so Black Friday is good for downtown but it’s more a box store kind of thing, and the internet. Gallery Walk is when our big promotion for downtown kicks off.”

• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.

Jim Berry looks through the sock display put out for Black Friday sales at Fred Meyer on Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Jim Berry looks through the sock display put out for Black Friday sales at Fred Meyer on Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Fred Meyer employee Sandy Demmert stocks season items to be ready for Black Friday sales on Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Fred Meyer employee Sandy Demmert stocks season items to be ready for Black Friday sales on Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

More in News

The Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Encore docks in Juneau in October, 2022. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)
Ships in Port for t​​he Week of Sept. 17

Here’s what to expect this week.

Samantha Crain, of the Choctaw Nation, sings to the crowd during a performance Thursday night as part of the Áak’w Rock music festival at Centennial Hall. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
‘It’s pure resiliency’: Áak’w Rock kicks off

The three-day Indigenous music festival attracts full crowds during its first night.

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, walks down a hallway Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023, at the Alaska State Capitol. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
With Alaska’s federal judge vacancy nearing 2-year mark, Sullivan breaks from nomination tradition

Murkowski appears skeptical about the switch, saying she’s prepared to advance nominees to Biden

Jordan Creek flows over a portion of a footbridge behind a shopping center Thursday evening. The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning for Jordan Creek, Montana Creek and Auke Lake until 10 a.m. Friday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Flood warning for Jordan Creek, Montana Creek and Auke Lake issued until 10 a.m. Friday

Glacier Highway, structures near Jordan Creek may inundated, according to National Weather Service.

Soon-departing Assembly member and Deputy Mayor Maria Gladziszewski smiles for a photo at her seat in the Assembly chambers Thursday afternoon. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
Q&A: Deputy Mayor Gladziszewski prepares for departure, shares advice to candidates

The long-serving Juneau Assembly member nears the end of her final term.

Participants in the 38th Annual International Coastal Cleanup carry a fishnet to a boat on a coast near Sitka in August. (Ryan Morse / Sitka Conservation Society)
Resilient Peoples and Place: Coastal cleanup removes 1,400 lbs. of trash from Sitka’s beaches

Effort by wide range of groups part of global project that has collected 350 million lbs. of waste.

Cars drive past the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. building in Juneau on Thursday. This year’s Permanent Fund dividend will be $1,312, the state Department of Revenue announced. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
This year’s official Permanent Fund dividend: $1,312

Distribution of payments will begin Oct. 5.

Albino Mbie, a Mozambique-born musician whose band is now based in Boston, performs during a youth jam at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall on Wednesday night as a prelude to the Áak’w Rock Indigenous music festival that starts Thursday. His band is scheduled to perform at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Áakʼw Rock ready for full-fledged opening as ‘monumental, historic event’

Youth jam Wednesday offers preview as only Indigenous music festival in U.S. makes in-person debut.

This is a photo of the front page of the Juneau Empire on Sept. 21, 2005. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
Empire Archives: Juneau’s history for the week of Sept. 24

Three decades of capital city coverage.

Most Read