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‘Gray Thursday’ draws customers to mall early
November 30, 2013, 05:00 AM By Angela Swartz Daily Journal

Angela Swartz/Daily Journal
Shoppers flocked to Hillsdale Shopping Center in San Mateo for Black Friday deals.

Local retail stores joined the nationwide holiday shift from Black Friday to Gray Thursday but that didn’t keep consumers from also enjoying the allure of the traditional post-Thanksgiving Day shopping day.

Stores like Ann Taylor, Express, Forever 21, Macy’s, Sears and Starbucks opened at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving at Hillsdale Shopping Center in San Mateo. By Friday, the venues didn’t appear quite as packed but store workers said business remained steady.

“Business has been going really well,” said Brittany Bustamante, assistant manager of hat store Lids which was open on both Thanksgiving and Black Friday. “We wanted to give customers more of an opportunity to purchase more items.”

One shopper named Jamie, who declined to give a last name, hit the Macy’s department store at Hillsdale the morning of Black Friday looking to score deals on jewelry, pots and pans.

“I’m working a double shift today so this is my only time to Black Friday shop,” she said.

Other non-typical Black Friday shoppers also went to Hillsdale for the day. Bob Spain arrived at 9 a.m. with his wife and was surprised there weren’t more people, noting there were no parking issues.

“It’s getting more crowded now,” he said around 10 a.m. “I don’t normally do Black Friday.”

Likewise, Susan Forbes of Belmont simply went to Hillsdale to get her computer fixed at the Apple retail store, but ended up slipping into Coldwater Creek to buy some clothing while waiting.

Some stores barely offered a break between shopping opportunities on Thursday and Friday. Big box retailer Kmart, which has a location in San Mateo, opened for nearly two straight days beginning on Gray Thursday. Old Navy at Hillsdale Shopping Center wasn’t far behind, staying open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Thanksgiving through 11 p.m. on Black Friday.

Some Bay Area groups hosted anti-Black Friday events to protest consumerism. Buy Nothing Day promoted “unshopping, unspending and unwinding.” Small Business Saturday aims to support local businesses in the Bay Area. American Express cardholders can sign up to get $10 back after spending $10 or more at participating small businesses. Participants along the Peninsula include Dean’s Produce, Plato’s Closet and Galati Jewelers in San Mateo, Tutti Frutti in San Carlos, Broadway Grill in Burlingame, East West Gallery in San Bruno, Pickled in Redwood City and other small stores that take American Express Cards.

Others used the day as an opportunity to highlight their causes at big box retailers. A protest at the San Leandro Walmart coincided with Black Friday shopping. A group of Walmart workers, labor activists, other low-wage employees and supporters gathered at the store to shed light on low worker wages and workers’ rights violations as part of a nationwide protest.

For the complete list of small businesses taking part in Small Business Saturday visit

Bay City News contributed to this report.

(650) 344-5200 ext. 105



Tags: friday, black, store, hillsdale, small, shopping,

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