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Shop Black Friday in a civilized fashion

Smaller boutiques and specialty shops offer good deals too – if you know where to look

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  • Boutique shopping on Black Friday

    • Call around or visit websites and Facebook pages first. Some specialty shops are running big discounts; others aren’t.

    • If you see something you love, buy it. Boutiques don’t keep large inventories, so you might not find your size again later.

    • Ask about returns. Smaller shops are often not as lenient as chains because inventory turns faster to keep fresh.



Hitting the big-box stores with a belly full of turkey or braving the pre-dawn flat-screen TV lines isn’t for everyone.

If fashion – not toys or electronic gadgets – is on your mind this Black Friday, take heart. There are civilized ways to score deals.

Many smaller stores and boutiques around Charlotte are offering big discounts (many ranging from 15 to 30 percent, or a tiered system where the deals grow as the purchase grows) or gifts with purchase.

At the Lilly Pulitzer store in SouthPark, shoppers on Black Friday will receive a free gift with purchase and have the option to buy an exclusive jewelry box ($78) sold only on Black Friday.

For some boutique retailers, succumbing to the Black Friday frenzy is not part of their business plan.

“We don’t have to be like Walmart or Kmart. We don’t sell toys, we sell fashion merchandise,” says Uri Krause of Via Veneto, a women’s boutique in Phillips Place. “We don’t wait until Black Friday” to discount items, he said.

And while most smaller stores are keeping to their regular business hours – don’t show up at their doors in your sweats at 6 a.m. – some are extending their sales for several days.

While Black Friday and Thanksgiving weekend sales are important to small shops, they aren’t as vital to the businesses’ bottom lines as for large retail chains, says Gregg Thompson, N.C. director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses. “From before Halloween until New Year’s, (small stores) depend on a continual stream of customers more than one huge rush of customers in a two-day period.”

Boutiques and independent shops depend on customers who appreciate personal service, easy parking and short lines, Thompson said.

At Dilworth boutique Coral, shoppers will enjoy wine, cheese, fruit and other snacks while partaking in 25 to 40 percent discounts storewide as well as a Holst and Lee jewelry trunk show. (Holst and Lee products are not included in the sale.)

Coral owner Sormeh Hafezi said her Black Friday sale last year was so successful she’s doing it again this year. “It’s a nice way to drive traffic here,” Hafezi says. “It’s so fun here at the store and it’s so cozy and homey.”

Christine Rinkert, owner of Luna’s at the Lake in Cornelius, is extending her “Thankful for You” sale through Saturday, offering customers 30 percent off the entire store, which sells designer goods ranging from Australia Luxe boots to Paige jeans.

“We’re trying to get people to think of shopping locally and shopping small,” Rinkert said.

At The Cheeky Bean boutique in Ballantyne Village, shoppers will get 15 percent off all purchases. The store’s popular “bubbly” statement necklaces, regularly $40, will be discounted to $29.

If you still want to visit the mall but are trying to stay away from anchor-store craziness, smaller shops could offer some relief.

Managers at SouthPark specialty shops like Madewell and Vineyard Vines say they expect to offer discounts but won’t know how big they will be until hours before their doors open on Black Friday.

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