Battling crowds, staying up all night, working off a turkey dinner running around the mall with shopping bags in hand . . . Black Friday isn't for the weak.
This year will be very different, as so many Long Islanders are still recovering from superstorm Sandy. Still, Kathleen Hermann, director of mall marketing at Roosevelt Field in Garden City, says many shoppers are keeping their traditions alive heading into the holiday season.
"Superstorm Sandy's aftermath will be felt by many people for a long time," she said. "However, Long Islanders are resilient when it comes to dealing with adversity and from what we've seen, are finding comfort with returning to a sense of normalcy. To that end, we are looking forward to offering people the chance to recognize the holidays and continue annual traditions that inspire good thoughts and happiness for their families."
It's Herrmann's 17th holiday season working for Simon Malls, and although she will report to work from 4 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Nov. 23, she says Black Friday is her "favorite day of the year."
Roosevelt Field mall will open at 12 a.m., four hours earlier than last year. "Stores are opening earlier and earlier because it's being demanded," Hermann said. "In previous years, Macy's has opened at midnight, and it's always one of our most popular stores. The rest are just following suit."
Not every store in the mall will be open at midnight, but the majority will be. This means earlier early bird specials than ever before. Hermann says many stores will have extra early bird savings between 12 and 4 a.m., while others will extend those morning deals until 10 a.m.
Herrmann says Roosevelt Field gets busiest around noon, but don't expect an empty mall early in the morning, either. "There are as many people in the mall at 4 a.m. that Friday as there are on a typical Saturday afternoon," she says. "But if there's something in particular you really want and you're here [when the store opens], most likely it's yours."
It will also be the first Black Friday for a handful of new stores, including gift-friendly spots like housewares store Sur La Table and Lush, which sells handmade cosmetics and bath products.
Hermann said the Apple store is always a popular Black Friday destination, but this year the mall also has a Microsoft store and a Samsung kiosk to offer the newest phones, tablets and more. "We have the electronic world taken care of," she says.
Black Friday shopping tips:
1. Planning is key. Visit simon.com on Thanksgiving Day for a full roster of deals and promotions. "Have an idea of where you'd like to go," Herrmann says. "At least make an initial list of particular items or stores you're looking for. Make sure you know where those stores are; we're very big." Find a map of Roosevelt Field mall here.
2. Dress comfortably. "Wear sneakers," says Herrmann. "You will get a lot of exercise that day. Also, layer your clothing. It will probably be cold out, but you won't want to wear a heavy coat inside."
3. Park near the store you plan to end the day at. "You'll probably be leaving with arms full of shopping bags, so you'll want your car nearby," Herrmann said.
4. Keep yourself hydrated and relax. The mall has a food court, multiple restaurants and vending machines with refreshments and snacks. For a sugar rush, try a cupcake at the brand new Crumbs Bake Shop or refreshing frozen yogurt at Pinkberry.
5. Expect additional sales to continue through the weekend. "It's not just about Friday anymore," says Herrmann. "Lots of retailers have realized while the day after Thanksgiving tends to be a shopping tradition, it's not for everyone." Some sales will continue through Monday, Nov. 26, also known as "Cyber Monday", when many stores will bring their promotions to their websites for online shoppers.