Drawing them in

Local retailers have more than just discounts in store for Black Friday shoppers

November 24, 2010|By Chris Kaltenbach and John-John Williams IV, The Baltimore Sun

Whether it's camping out in the wee hours of the morning, putting on track shoes or plotting out elaborate plans of attack days in advance, getting ready for Black Friday has become a tradition all its own.

This year, promoters at many area malls and shopping complexes are looking to reward the faithful — and maybe persuade them to come to their malls first.

They're offering live entertainment, special discounts, and free food and drink. One even offers the chance at $10,000 in gift cards, while another is offering free movie passes — to be used, presumably, once all the shopping is done.

"We want the community and we want our shoppers to know we care about them," said Stephen R. Walker, director of marketing for Marley Station. "There's free stuff. People like free stuff."

Sure, we've heard the stories about how Black Friday isn't the big deal it once was — that sales are being spread out across the entire holiday season, that online shopping is rendering the whole idea obsolete, that retailers aren't as dependent on that single day's sales as they once were.

But Black Friday is still Black Friday, and reports of its demise seem greatly exaggerated. Stores are stocking up, malls are preparing for crowds and anxious shoppers are setting their alarms for an obscenely early hour.

Some retailers are even jumping the gun altogether by opening on Thursday — a trend that, if it continues, may force a holiday name change from "Thanksgiving" to "Thanksbuying."

Baltimore

Belvedere Square

540 E. Belvedere Ave.

Shoppers will have the opportunity to take a photograph with "Naughty Santa" during "Moonlight Merriment," the square's annual party and shopping night, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday. In addition, Crush will be offering a pair of $7 drinks, "Sex on the Square" or a "Dirty Martini," as well as a 15 percent discount on dining

Harborplace

Light and Pratt streets

There won't be special sales, but there will be plenty of entertainment, including caroling by students and community groups and an appearance by Santa Claus, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the amphitheater.

Mondawmin Mall

2401 Liberty Heights Ave.

Early-bird shoppers will receive $10 gift cards with the purchase of $100 or more. From 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., mall employees will give customers shopping bags to help carry their purchases.

Anne Arundel County

Arundel Mills

7000 Arundel Mills Circle, Hanover

The first 25,000 shoppers over age 18 who arrive between midnight and 4 a.m. will be given a scratch-off card with the chance to win a share of $10,000 in American Express Simon Giftcards and other prizes. Mall employees will distribute 1,000 "I Survived Black Friday" T-shirts, and there will also be strolling carolers.

Marley Station

7900 Ritchie Highway, Glen Burnie

The first 200 shoppers 18 and older who spend $100 at retail stores will get a $10 American Express gift card, as well as goodie bags with coupons and other incentives. From 8 a.m. to noon, WLIF-FM (101.9) will be giving away prizes such as an autographed photo of Baltimore Ravens tight end Todd Heap and more American Express gift cards.

Westfield Annapolis Mall

2002 Annapolis Mall, Annapolis

Westfield Annapolis Mall is offering free movie passes to the first 200 cars entering its blue parking garage. Be sure you're not pulling into the red, orange or green garage — at least not if you have your heart set on a free movie.

Baltimore County

Towson Town Center

825 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson

The first 100 customers to spend at least $100 before noon will receive a $10 mall gift card by bringing their receipts to the Redemption Zone on Level 1. Mall employees also will surprise customers with random gifts.

The Shops at Kenilworth

800 Kenilworth Dr., Towson

Santa arrives Friday; the train garden opens as well. From 10 a.m.-1 p.m., WBAL-AM (1090) will be broadcasting live from the mall, and free coffee and cookies will be available for shoppers.

White Marsh Mall

8200 Perry Hall Blvd.

The first 100 customers to spend at least $100 before noon will receive a $10 mall gift card by bringing their receipts to the Redemption Zone near Macy's. Mall employees will have random gifts for customers, and some stores will open at midnight on Black Friday.

Carroll County

TownMall of Westminster

400 North Center St., Westminster

Five hundred shopping bags will be handed out, each containing coupons, fliers and gift cards starting at $10. Doors open at 5 a.m. Time Out Sports Grille is even preparing an early-morning meal they're calling "Breakfast on the Blacktop,"

Howard County

The Mall in Columbia

10300 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia

Some 500 goodie bags will be distributed — five of them containing vouchers for an Apple iPad, Nintendo Wii, a $250 mall gift card, a flat-screen TV or digital camera.

john-john.williams@baltsun.com

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