On a shivery Wednesday night, the Northland’s Zona Rosa kicked off holiday shopping with “Orange is the New Black Friday.”
Six years ago, Zona Rosa moved up its traditional Black Friday festivities to midnight Thursday. The consumer response was overwhelming, with lines of cars snaking out of the center, down Barry Road and even onto Interstate 29.
The shopping district had a competitive edge that year, but since then more and more retailers across the country are opening ever earlier on Thanksgiving Day — 10 p.m., then 8 p.m. even 8 a.m. — with specials they used to start running a day later.
This year, Zona Rosa surveyed its customers, merchants and employees and found they no longer are so sold on Thanksgiving shopping, preferring to spend the day with family.
But they still want the deals.
The Orange is the New Black Friday event ran from 6 to 10 p.m. with stores offering some of the best sales of the season — hours earlier than other stores in the Kansas City area.
While the new event didn’t attract the same crowds as Zona Rosa’s previous holiday events, the district’s parking lots were full and several shoppers embraced the theme by wearing touches of orange, from parkas to tiger-striped hats to boas.
By 7:30 p.m., Angie Burns and her mother, Pattie Rodriguez, both of Weatherby Lake, had several gifts knocked off their shopping list, and they each won a $25 gift card.
“We love it that we don’t have to go out tomorrow and we can spend the day with family,” Burns said. Still, they may head out again Friday for more deals.
Claire Williams of Rushville, Mo., had in years past hit the midnight event at Zona Rosa. On Wednesday night, she brought along her 9-month-old daughter, Ellis. After spending the day with family on Thanksgiving, Williams plans to sleep late on Friday while her husband, Drew, heads out for a Black Friday deal on a new TV.
Zona Rosa is officially closed on Thanksgiving, but some stores will open. The district reopens at 8 a.m. on Black Friday.