Hamptons Retailers Won’t Open Doors on Thanksgiving

Hildreth's Department Store, Main Street, Southampton Village.
Hildreth's Department Store, Main Street, Southampton Village. Photo credit: Brendan J. O'Reilly

Black Friday, the name for the day after Thanksgiving when the Christmas shopping season has traditionally started, has crept up in recent years onto Thanksgiving Day itself, but local Hamptons retailers refuse to get on board with the trend.

“As I get older, I’ve found that money isn’t everything,” says Henry Hildreth, the owner of Hildreth’s department stores in Southampton and East Hampton. “I’d rather have my health, I’d rather have my family, I’d rather have happy employees.”

Hildreth’s will not be opening its doors on Thanksgiving Day—ever, according to Hildreth. He says “We don’t do Black Friday,” either; his stores open at their normal times. He is, however, looking forward to Small Business Saturday, held the weekend of the Thanksgiving. It’s when American Express encourages patronizing local shops rather than chains and bog box stores. “Local is where’s it at,” he says.

P.C. Richard & Son, which has an appliance store and an electronics store in Southampton, also refuses to open on Thanksgiving.

“It seems everybody is opening this year, but like always we decided not to,” says President and CEO Gregg Richard. “It’s a holiday to be home and celebrate with family and friends—it’s a family holiday, not a shopping holiday.”

Richard disapproves of businesses trying to get families out of their homes on Thanksgiving, especially for deals that aren’t really as good as they sound—with restrictions like “limited quantities” and “no rain checks.”  “Is that a way to do business?” he asks. “Is that what makes customers happy? We don’t think so.”

And it’s not just the customers he is concerned for. At the the fourth generation leader of the family business, Richard says,  “We’re not going to take the day away from our employees. We’re going to keep family first.”

P.C. Richard stores will open at 6 a.m. on Black Friday—just three hours earlier than usual—and items on sale will not be restricted to a few early risers.  “All of our customers should have access to it,” Richard says. “Not just ones that line up at 2 o’clock in the morning in the rain, sleet and snow and a limited handful get them.”

Macy’s in Hampton Bays will be opening at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, while Kmart in Bridgehampton will open at 6 a.m.

Tanger Outlets in Riverhead will open at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving, as it has for the past two years. Tanger Riverhead general manager Janine Nebons said the outlets had Midnight Madness for a few years, and now the opening is called Moonlight Madness. She attributed Black Friday’s earlier and earlier start time to competitive pressure among retailers and having to answer to corporate shareholders.

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