Tuesday, November 6, 2007

11/3/07 Early Bird Sale

I participated in this cultural phenomenon. Details to come!

'Early bird' sales aimed at early holiday shoppers

Staff writer
Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel

A good deal on a good deal. That promise is what brings out shoppers, often clad in pajamas, at 6 a.m. for Reny's annual Early Bird Sale on the first Saturday in November.

The 27-year tradition of giving customers 20 percent off between 6 and 9 a.m. has become the company's biggest sale day of the year, according to Reny's president, John Reny. And fellow merchants have jumped on board.

In Farmington, most downtown merchants will be open at 6 a.m. with special promotions, and many stores will have sales all day, according to the Downtown Farmington Business & Professional Association. The Farmington Reny's logged the fourth-highest Early Bird sales company-wide last year, according to manager Carol Robbins.

"Some people say they don't like to shop the Early Bird because they don't like crowds. But this is not your normal crowd," she said.

"Everyone is in a great mood. The staff loves it because the energy is incredible," she said. "But after three hours, we are exhausted."

Reny's is a chain of discount stores founded in 1949 with stores in Farmington, Madison, Pittsfield, Damariscotta, Bridgton, Gardiner, Dexter, Bath, Camden, Saco, Belfast, Ellsworth and Wells. They carry clothing, electronics, housewares, garden supplies, sheets and towels, and food.

"If you can't find it at Reny's, you don't need it," quips the company's Web site.

Robbins expects to arrive Saturday by 4:30 a.m. By 5, employees will be brewing coffee and setting out doughnuts -- offered free to shoppers. Doors open at 6 sharp.

"The larger stores have big sales on Black Friday -- the Friday after Thanksgiving. Rather than compete with them, this is our way of kicking off the Christmas shopping season," Robbins said.

Jeweler Ron Gelinas, owner of Mainestone Jewelry on Broadway, said hundreds of people are shopping downtown at 6 a.m. "They are having a ball. This is a great tradition."

He is offering a rare sale -- silver jewelry will be 20 percent off all day.

At Mickey's Hallmark, the sale is 30 percent off nearly everything between 6 and 7 a.m., 20 percent off from 7 to 8, and 10 percent off from 8 to 9, said manager Margaret Silkman. And for the first time, there will be 10 percent off Hallmark gift wrap and holiday cards all day.

"It is a lot of fun," she said.

Thousands of discount movie passes to the Narrow Gauge Cinema are sold by 9 a.m. by pajama-and-bathrobe clad theater owner John Moore.

John Reny said that when he thought up the idea 27 years ago to try the sale at the Bath branch, his father, Robert Reny, thought it was crazy to give 20 percent off of everything in the store.

"I told him, how bad can your sales be hurt in three hours?" John Reny said. "Then my father looked around that first day and saw the streets were filled with people.

"This gets us ahead of the big box stores. It helps the local merchants and the customers and it really works for the downtowns. It gives you a little edge and your customers a good deal," he said.

retrieved 11/6/07 from http://morningsentinel.mainetoday.com/news/local/4428523.html


Shannon said...

Hey Theresa,
I look forward to the updates on your adventure in Maine. I love his one, a little peek at life in a town (as opposed to the "big city" of Dallas or Atlanta) and the state of Maine, an enigma to those of us born south of the Mason/Dixon.
Betsy in Atlanta

Ariella said...

Good words.