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Black Friday: Boutiques open at midnight? How ‘little guys’ try to compete.

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This year, with several giant retailers from Walmart to Target to Toys “R” Us launching major product pushes as early as 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, the stakes are higher than ever.

“What is at stake for boutique shoppers is the opportunity to take advantage of a consumer’s mindset to shop,” says Roger Beahm, executive director of the Center for Retail Innovation at the Wake Forest Schools of Business in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Smaller shops located at malls are well positioned physically to take advantage of the bigger stores’ promotions, he says.

Consumers “are in a shopping mode and want to get their Christmas shopping done,” he says. “Boutiques should capitalize on this, as it’s something that larger retailers have already built. It’s the mall strategy – anchor stores draw customers in, but boutiques take advantage of increased number of customers eager to buy.”

And he notes that this strategy, “in a broader sense, doesn’t just apply to bricks and mortar.”

Many cities are highlighting special gatherings of smaller retailers – pushing the idea of staying small and “staying local” as a way of boosting the tax base in the community, as well as rewarding the creative, innovative and non-corporate.

“This is a really nice way of honoring the brick and mortar stores, the mom and pop outlets who really can’t compete with the deals of goliath retailers,” says Ron Elkus, of “The Shirt Box” in Farmington Hills, Michigan.

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