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Should Businesses Be Open on Thanksgiving?

By: Mike Kappel


If you’re a business owner, should you be open for business on Thanksgiving? After all, it seems that everyone else is doing it. 

Remember last year? Walmart made news by starting Black Friday on Thursday, figuring that by 8 p.m., everyone would have finished their pumpkin pie, kissed grandma goodbye, and felt ready to score some holiday deals. Toys ‘R’ Us and Target and others then followed suit with their own plans.
This year, more businesses are jumping in with some form of Thanksgiving store hours. Macy’s plans to throw open their doors right after the big parade. And now K Mart is making news, opening at 6 a.m. Thursday to start a 40-hour Thanksgiving blitz. 
This new holiday trend presents small business owners with a conundrum: do you jump on board, too? After all, there’s lots of money to be made.
If you decide that you will open your doors on the holiday, you may give your business a much-needed boost. You may also present your employees with a difficult choice: loyalty to you or loyalty to their family. And while you may really clean up on holiday sales from shopping die-hards, there’s also the PR aspect to consider.
Retailers claim that shoppers are the ones who are demanding that they open their doors on Thanksgiving, but surveys are saying otherwise. According to Debate.org, 91% of respondents are saying no, stores should not start their Black Friday sales on Thursday.
I personally believe that Thanksgiving Day is a time for friends and families to be together. It’s a time for tradition, like everyone showing up with the same green bean casserole and for mom to overcook the turkey. For the sweet potatoes with the little marshmallows to make their annual appearance. It’s time for us to just be together, relax, and enjoy the day.
But most importantly, Thanksgiving is a time for us to just stop, give thanks, and count the blessings that God has showered upon our great country. 
It’s not a day when I count on making more money.
Here’s one big advantage to owning a business: you get to decide what it will stand for. You get to play by your own rules. That’s why on Thanksgiving, my employees will get the day off—and the next day, for that matter. 
We could just go about our business and make a little more money, but it’s more important for me to give this time to them. I don’t want to be the guy who made them miss out on being with their families on Thanksgiving.
This Thanksgiving, I challenge you to buck this trend. Be thankful for your business and your employees, and give them a well-deserved day with their friends and families. And while you’re at it, take some time off and enjoy your own. 
Published: November 14, 2013

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Mike Kappel

Mike Kappel is the president of Patriot Software, Inc., which develops affordable online software for U.S. small business owners. Patriot Software is one of five successful small businesses he’s started in the last 25 years. He still enjoys the challenge of a start-up, and shares his experience and passion for entrepreneurship in his blog, the Small Business Expert. Contact him at mkappel@patriotsoftware.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @MikeKappel and on Google+.

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