Last year, it was a last-minute decision. Mark Flynn had recently opened his jewelry store, Criterion Diamonds, on Hwy. 278 in Hiram and was looking for a way to make a big splash ahead of Black Friday. So he opened his doors at 9:00 p.m. and offered to give away free diamonds. By the end of the night, he had given away thousands of dollars in diamonds, but more than made up for it in sales.
“We realized at 1:00 a.m. when we were shutting down the store, people still standing at the doors, pulling at the door handles,” Flynn said. “I did start something. Hopefully it will catch on.”
Flynn is one of a growing number of retailers whose doors are open this Thanksgiving, hoping to lure people in ahead of the traditional Black Friday. While a new study by the University of Connecticut shows only one in ten shoppers will leave their Thanksgiving feasts to go shopping, Flynn hopes to lure them away from the big box stores.
“I don’t know what we’re going to get,” he laughed. But he is offering free diamonds again this year – a promotion that got him written up in the jewelry industry media for innovation and out-of-the-box marketing. He is also offering for free other big-ticket merchandise to customers who come in Thanksgiving Day.
“Any and all are welcome, just to get something free,” said Flynn. To make sure he gets a shot at all the shoppers who venture out this holiday, Flynn may stay open through the night.
“I won’t close my doors until everybody gets a piece of the reward,” he vowed.