ONEONTA — Many Oneonta shoppers interviewed on Black Friday were cautiously optimistic about what the start of the holiday shopping season could mean for the economy. The day that follows Thanksgiving is traditionally the time of the year when retailers move into the black — signifying profitability.
Several store managers and shoppers on Main Street said the season was off to a good start.
Debra North, owner of Razzle Dazzle gift shop, said she did not know what the season would bring, but sales seem on a pace with last year. It’s not that there are crowds but “the people coming in are buying” jewelry, toys, and housewares that are among the items the store sells. This is her 38th year in business.
“People want what you have,” she said. “I feel really good.”
SUNY Oneonta dance instructor Michelle Gardner was shopping in the store around 3 p.m. She started the day downtown about noon with her family.
“It is important to patronize these stores” if the city is going to maintain a vibrant downtown, she said.
She said she will be coming back without her family to actually make most of her purchases downtown and at the Southside Mall this season. She was pleased to find “there are a lot of nice things” on sale. She also said she likes running into people she knows when she shops locally.
At the Green Toad Bookstore, owner Michele Pondolfino said the day had lots of “spurts of business” and then quieted down to give employees a chance to catch their breath. The store has not felt an effect from the increasing popularity of ebooks, she said.
“We have really strong support” from the store’s customer base, she said. Like other store owners who were asked about sales so far, she didn’t have any numbers but said she expects this year to be better than last year.