Closed on Black Friday: How Some Businesses are Breaking the Cycle

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Every year, time between Halloween and New Year rushes past in almost a blur.  Christmas music appears on the radio before Halloween candy even has the chance to make it off the shelves.  In the middle of this busy season, Thanksgiving and its meaning seem to get lost in the mix.  People no longer use this holiday to enjoy a mountain a food, the annual NFL Thanksgiving football game, or most importantly, quality time with loved ones.  Instead, the holiday has now become a day to prepare for Christmas.

The most stressful part of preparing for Christmas is often trying to find that perfect gift for your secret Santa pair, your devoted mom, or even your best friend.  Over time, many retailers have worked to capitalize on this mounting pressure that only grows around Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving, which is a time to remember what people are thankful for, has now become synonymous with the retail holiday known as Black Friday.

Black Friday is a shopping day known for its massive deals, large crowds, and early store opening hours.  Retailers have slowly moved opening hours a little earlier with each passing year.  Unfortunately, many stores have even started opening on Thanksgiving Day, which overshadows this valuable family holiday with consumerism.  These retailers, opening their doors at these early hours have taken Thanksgiving away from their employees. These employees who are forced to go to work are missing what Thanksgiving is truly about, family and thankfulness.

This year MadCat, a local Madison business, is taking a stand.  MadCat will close for Thanksgiving and Black Friday.  By doing this they are recognizing that they value their employees and are giving them the opportunity to spend quality time with loved ones.  These are values that fall precisely in line with what Thanksgiving is all about.  Additionally, MadCat is highlighting their core values as a brand and business by displaying true respect and appreciation for their employees.  This in turn, has resulted in much praise from the Madison community.   Fortunately, other companies are making this change as well.

REI, a national outdoor retailer, will be closing for Black Friday and Thanksgiving.  They are encouraging people to enjoy the outdoors with family and friends.  REI’s message is another perfect example of a company representing their brand in a commendable manner.  REI is supporting a love for the outdoors, family time, and appreciation for their employees.

While MadCat and REI are fully acknowledging the deserved importance and values of Thanksgiving, other businesses are also making positive changes.  More than 50 retailers will be closed for Thanksgiving Day this year.  The list includes big box retailers like Nordstrom, Dillard’s, and Costco.  They will, however, still open bright and early in time for Black Friday crowds.

This progress is a step in the right direction and a positive message for what the future could hold.  Everyone should support businesses that make the brave decision to close for Thanksgiving.  One of the strongest elements of a successful brand is the message.  A company’s brand encompasses so much more than simply a logo, color scheme, or name.  As mentioned in our IH Concepts Branding Presentation, “it explains how people identify and support you, while being a representation of yourself as a company.”

Let us all show support to the businesses who have represented themselves though their commendable messages this holiday season.  None of us want to see loved ones missing from the dining room table on Thanksgiving, even if it is crazy Aunt Gertrud. This year spend the holidays surrounded by loved ones, remembering the true significance of Thanksgiving- family and thankfulness.  

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