After two years of in-person capacity restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Big Island businesses are banking on customers returning en masse for one of the biggest holiday shopping weekends of the year.
After Thanksgiving is over, retailers in Hawaiʻi and across the country will be opening their doors to offer Black Friday deals followed the next day by Small Business Saturday.
“People are going to enjoy a tangible and tactical shopping experience,” said Wendy Laros, president and CEO of the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce.
Laros said business is back to usual, with the exception of many businesses experiencing labor shortages.
“No one is going to take anything for granted,” Laros said. “We’re all going to be grateful to welcome customers.”
Mary Smithson, owner of Mary Janes, a women’s boutique within Keauhou Shopping Center, looks at these shopping holidays as a way to give back to the community.
“We’re doing our biggest sale we’ve ever done and we’re excited about that,” she said.
The boutique, one of 24 businesses in the Keauhou Shopping Center, is offering an early bird special from 10 a.m. to noon when merchandise will be 30% off storewide. After that, products will be 20% off.
“We were really pushing it on our social media we want our locals to come out and shop with us on these big days,” Smithson said.
Noelani Sugata, marketing director for Keauhou Shopping Center, said this will be the first time since 2020 that there are no requirements for mask-wearing or indoor capacity mandates.
“The retailers can focus on driving foot traffic into their store to increase sales and not be under the guise of the state/county restrictions,” Sugata said.
Shopkeepers are excited to host in-person activities such as sip-n-shops and a free gift with purchase.
The shopping center will have live music and Santa Claus has come from the North Pole to take photos with keiki. Registration is required.
Another business at the shopping center, local bookstore Kona Stories, is sponsoring Small Business Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will host activities for people of all ages.
Sugata said it’s important to shop local because the money generated from small businesses stays in the community. By shopping small, consumers help community members thrive in their business.