Stores preparing for Black Friday

John Richmeier
Shoppers visit stores in downtown Leavenworth on Black Friday in 2019. Retailers are gearing up for Black Friday this year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

With COVID-19 numbers spiking, it is unclear how the pandemic will impact Black Friday shopping this year. But in Leavenworth, large retailers and smaller stores are getting ready for the day after Thanksgiving.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classifies shopping in crowded stores around the time of Thanksgiving as a “higher risk” activity because of the threat of COVID-19.

Walmart, which has a store in Leavenworth, has been promoting Black Friday deals all month.

In years past, Walmart has started its in-store Black Friday sales on the night of Thanksgiving. But the Leavenworth store will be closed this Thanksgiving. The store will reopen for Black Friday, according to the retailer’s website.

On Friday, Walmart customers will be asked to form a single, straight line to enter the store. Employees will hand out sanitized shopping carts to customers to help with social distancing, and employees referred to as health ambassadors will be stationed at entrances to greet customers and remind them to put on masks, according to a news release from Walmart.

Instead of focusing only on one day, the Santa Fe Trails Bicycle and Coffee Shop in downtown Leavenworth is observing what owner Brendan Sheehan calls Black Friday Week.

“We’re going big on Black Friday Week,” he said.

He said the store began offering a discount on its clothing items Monday. This promotion will continue through Saturday. He said an additional discount will be offered on all sales Friday including new bikes.

Traditionally, many Leavenworth residents travel from the area for Thanksgiving, Sheehan said.

But he believes many of them will be staying home this year because of the pandemic. And this may help local merchants.

“I think we’re going to get a good response,” he said.

Sheehan said employees will be wearing masks and customers also will be asked to wear masks.

The city of Leavenworth adopted a mask ordinance last week that requires people to wear masks in public spaces. But Sheehan said his store has been taking measures to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus since March.

Kansas Country Store in downtown Leavenworth is combining Black Friday and what is known as Small Business Saturday to offer discounts and promotions both days for items such as ornaments, fudge and pet toys, according to co-owner Sherry Brown.

She said the store also has taken measures to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus including the utilization of two room air cleaners as well as masks and sanitizing measures.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR