Several big box stores and malls across Iowa will be trying something new next week — opening on Thanksgiving night. The Black Friday sales at Lindale Mall in Cedar Rapids will actually begin at 8 p.m. next Thursday. That’s fine with shopper Becky Mentzer. “I think it’s a great idea,” Mentzer says. “I’m always looking for a chance to get out early and kind of beat the rush and get my shopping done so I can get home to the kids.”
Some shoppers, like Mentzer, are eager to take part. Others, like Elijah Krepfle aren’t as enthused. “I don’t approve of Thanksgiving Day, especially at 8 p.m., because that would be taking away from family time,” Krepfle says. Lindale Mall managers call the early shopping opportunity “a good way to wrap up a holiday about togetherness.”
But, Connie O’Connell isn’t thankful for the Thanksgiving trend. O’Connell is manager of Rogers Jewelers in Lindale Mall. She says her jewelry shop will not open on the holiday. “I believe in being with family and just because you work retail doesn’t mean you don’t have a family, so I think it’s terrible,” O’Connell says. Her company gave the store the option of opening with the mall on Thursday or opening on Friday.
O’Connell’s employees decided the jewelry store would only open Black Friday morning. “They understand Black Friday, but if we had opened on Thursday, all of my employees would have been very, very upset,” O’Connell said. Many store managers believe the early opening will give them a competitive edge as they officially kick off the holiday shopping season.
A check of some other shopping malls around Iowa found a few — like Lindale in Cedar Rapids — will open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving and remain open overnight, through Black Friday. That includes Jordan Creek Town Center in West Des Moines and Southern Hills Mall in Sioux City.
Some malls that are remaining closed on Thanksgiving Day include Crossroads in Waterloo, Coral Ridge in Coralville, and Mall of the Bluffs in Council Bluffs. Walmart and Best Buy stores are opening at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving, while Target and Kohl’s stores will open at 8.
(Reporting by Jill Kasperie, KCRG-TV, Cedar Rapids)