KC shopping malls to close on Thanksgiving so employees can spend time with family

Posted at 4:42 AM, Nov 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-04 07:58:34-04

Black Friday isn't the Black Friday it once was. Coverage from the past couple years has been tame and modest. Nothing like the pushing, shoving and trampling of years past.

Stores hit the jackpot with soaring sales when Black Friday started becoming notorious nearly 15 years ago.

Then it started creeping into Thanksgiving. Many retailers and malls opened as early as 5 p.m. on Turkey Day, and stayed open until late Friday night. 

By the time it got to Black Friday morning: crickets.

"It takes something away from the fun and almost magic of Black Friday," Legends Outlets General Manager Jennifer Wojcik said.

Numerous online petitions popped up from fed-up retail workers demanding change, asking that stores give them back their holiday.

According to the National Retail Federation, Black Friday sales were down 12 percent in 2015.

A solution? By not being open on Thanksgiving at all.

"Go back to a true Black Friday event," Wojcik said.

The Legends, Oak Park Mall, Country Club Plaza and Zona Rosa are all on board.

The decision is getting a collective "Amen" from shoppers and retail workers around the metro.

"I think it's great," Linda Geer said.

Her friend, Marlene Denney, agrees.

"That's family time, and family should be together. That's the way it was when we were growing up, that the holidays were for family, not shopping."

"I think it's good to not be so commercialized. The next thing you know they're going to be open all day on Thanksgiving," shopper Carl Misner said.

"Keep Black Friday on Friday," Daniel Kooser said.

The Legends says being closed for a few hours really isn't going to hurt sales - they hope.

"I think you see the event being diluted," Wojcik said. "It's a little bit of time on Thanksgiving, it's Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Cyber Monday. So how much are you increasing your sales and how much are you just moving them around?"

A shopping center's individual stores can choose to stay open. Macy's at Oak Park Mall is opening at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Old Navy at the Legends is opening at 4 p.m. that day.

Independence Center mall is one of the only few retailers staying open, despite the new trend. They wouldn't tell us their reasoning, only that the mall would be open 6 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Wojcik says there will be security and proper lighting for any stores that stay open at the Legends.

Most retailers' employees are relieved to go back to some normality, or "sanity" as Wojcik put it.

"We'll be holding the same events at 6 a.m. the next day. They'll be refreshed and the employees will be happy and full of turkey," she said.




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