After enjoying a Thanksgiving meal with family today, local residents are invited to get a jump-start on their holiday shopping in downtown El Dorado.
Downtown businesses will open this evening from 8 p.m. to midnight, offering Black Friday sales at a pajama party-themed shopping event.
"There's always a really big crowd and good deals," said Beth Brumley, executive director of Main Street El Dorado, which partnered with the Downtown Business Association to present the Black Friday event.
Some businesses will open to VIP customers at 7 p.m., Brumley said, but for those waiting until the event officially starts at 8 p.m., Four Points Coffee Co. will be on-hand with warm drinks.
"It's usually packed downtown, so don't wait until the last minute," Brumley said. "Parking will be a little difficult if you want to park right in front of your favorite store, but there's plenty of parking downtown."
Downtown businesses began opening for Black Friday shopping on Thanksgiving Day about four years ago, Brumley said, and in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event has been consistently successful and a boon for downtown retailers. This year's event will hopefully be the biggest yet, she said.
"They get a boost in sales," Brumley said. "It's been good for them. They realized there's fewer people out of town on Thursday; people start going out of town for the holiday a lot on Friday for the weekend."
Downtown shops will also be open Friday, and on Nov. 26, downtown shops will unite for Shop Small Saturday®, a national campaign that is sponsored by American Express and encourages shoppers to make a big impact by shopping at small businesses. Operating hours this weekend will vary, and retail stores will offer a free holiday tote while supplies last.
Visitors have had a big impact on early holiday shopping and have been a welcome addition, Brumley said. But businesses are also hoping to see some local shoppers this evening.
"We've seen an influx of out-of-town shoppers and we wish local people would take advantage of our downtown businesses and these sales," she said. "We appreciate keeping money here in El Dorado."
On Dec. 10, Main Street will host Santa on the Square, an opportunity for local residents to take photos with Santa and ride on the Holiday Train. The event is schedule from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For now, though, MSE and the DBA are focused on Thanksgiving.
"We hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving, and when they're full and the guys turn on football, come on downtown to do some shopping," Brumley said.