Outlets prepped for shopping storm

Some stores open on Thanksgiving

SHOPPING FRENZY Black Friday shoppers file into the Gilroy Premium Outlets in 2018. File photo

The Gilroy Premium Outlets last week were busy preparing for the swarms of people who come from all over the world in the hopes of finding a deal before and during Black Friday, Nov. 29.

According to outlets spokesperson Shannon Steffen, a majority of the stores were to open at 6pm on Thanksgiving Day, stretching into the early hours of the next morning before closing at 2am Friday. They weren’t to be closed for long, however, as the outlets’ hours on Nov. 29 are from 6am to 10pm.

The California Welcome Center Gilroy, which is located in the outlets, was one of the establishments to be open during the holiday hours Nov. 28 and 29. According to executive director Jane Howard, the welcome center typically sees visitors from Asian countries such as China, Japan, Singapore and South Korea. A number of shoppers are also from Canada, Germany and Mexico, she added.

“The team here at the California Welcome Center Gilroy is looking forward to welcoming hundreds of visitors to our center during the Thanksgiving/Black Friday weekend,” Howard said.

According to a survey conducted by the International Council of Shopping Centers, shoppers anticipated spending an average of $470 during this year’s holiday weekend, with an estimated $101.4 billion spent. Specific numbers for Gilroy are unknown.

But not every major retailer is getting in on the turkey day shopping frenzy.

Costco, Lowe’s, Marshalls, Home Depot and others said they would remain closed on Thanksgiving, but open late morning the following day.

Walmart at 7150 Camino Arroyo in Gilroy was to be open during its regular hours of 6am to midnight on both Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

According to Walmart spokesperson Michelle Malashock, the company planned to serve a free dinner to its employees working on Thanksgiving. In addition, those who work Nov. 27-30 were to receive 15 percent off on a basket of products in December, on top of their usual 10 percent associate discount.

For the past two years, Walmart has given available hours during the holidays to its regular employees rather than to temporary hires, according to Malashock.

“It has worked very well for us, and the feedback from customers and associates has been overwhelmingly positive, which is why we will do this again during the upcoming holiday season,” she said. “There may be some hiring on a store-by-store basis as needed, but the majority of our stores will be giving those hours to current associates.”

Steffen said some businesses in the outlets choose to hire temporary employees based on needs.

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