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Small businesses plan for big Black Friday and Small Business Saturday sales

Local shops hope to offset losses from pandemic
The Hot Room
Posted at 4:10 PM, Nov 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-27 00:08:52-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Local businesses are hoping this Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and the rest of the holiday shopping season will help offset what’s been a rough year financially.

At the Hot Room Indianapolis, dozens of people spent Thanksgiving morning burning calories and treating their minds and bodies to a workout.

But COVID-19 concerns and government shutdowns have kept people away from local businesses like the Hot Room.

"It has been detrimental,” Ashish Kalgaonkar, Hot Room owner, said. “Our class sizes are way down."

The Hot Room has seen a 50 percent reduction in membership since the pandemic began, but the business is looking to change that.

This holiday shopping season, they’re offering discounts on everything from retail merchandise, to memberships and classes — like a 13 pack of classes for the price of 10.

"I would implore people that before they hit that Amazon buy button they think about what's going on in their local areas and look for the deals happening here,” Kalgaonkar said. “There's just as many deals happening here, we have some great Black Friday specials."

This Black Friday and Small Business Saturday will be crucial for central Indiana stores looking to offset COVID-19 losses, like Stout’s shoe store on Mass Ave.

“Just like everybody else, it definitely took a dip out of our revenue,” said store manager Sara Klimenko. “We've tried to stay positive the whole time."

Stout’s is selling a lot more slippers and sneakers as more people stay home.

"We are a store that specializes in support and comfort and we're excited to see people come in and bring those gifts of comfort home to their families,” Klimenko said.

Local businesses are hoping consumers will be in the mood to treat themselves and lift their family’s spirits after a rough 2020, and some predict that will be the case.

The National Retail Federation forecasts that holiday sales during November and December will increase between 3.6 percent and 5.2 percent over 2019 to a total between $755.3 billion and $766.7 billion.

“We know this holiday season will be unlike any other, and retailers have planned ahead by investing billions of dollars to ensure the health and safety of their employees and customers,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Consumers have shown they are excited about the holidays and are willing to spend on gifts that lift the spirits of family and friends after such a challenging year. We expect a strong finish to the holiday season and will continue to work with municipal and state officials to keep retailers open and the economy moving forward at this critical time.”

Aronstam Fine Jewelers in Carmel expects shoppers will want to spend some money on themselves and their families.

"I think it's going to be different because people are doing things for themselves more,” said owner Marc Aronstam. “They're not taking vacations. They're working on the house or they look in their drawers and find things they don't wear — and bring it in for me to do something."

Aronstam specializes in redesigning jewelry.

“People are not dressing up, they’re not doing anything fancy so they’re picking things they can wear more often,” Aronstam said. “They’re bringing things in they don’t wear anymore and having me redesign them. They want to make it special, and they like creating memories.”

Businesses say they’re adding extra safety precautions and cleaning procedures to keep shoppers and members safe.

For example, the Hot Room replaced its HVAC system in all of its studios.

"We've been trying to figure out like many other businesses how to adapt and I think we've done a pretty good job so far considering,” Kalgaonkar said.