Chesterfield retailers stand to make more green on Black Friday
By: Carol Enright
The Chesterfield City Council approved by a vote of 6-1 on Oct. 15 to amend a city ordinance and allow Chesterfield retailers to extend their hours of operation on the day after Thanksgiving.
Black Friday, as it is commonly known, is the largest shopping day of the year. In recent years, stores have been opening earlier each year to take advantage of the big crowds willing to forego sleep to score that perfect sale.
According to city officials, last year about a half-dozen retailers in the Chesterfield Commons opened at midnight the day after Thanksgiving, openly violating a city ordinance restricting their hours of operation. City officials said these stores were fined in amounts ranging from $100 to $300, a fee that would seem a small price of doing business on the year’s busiest shopping day.
Councilmember Connie Fults (Ward 4) was the only member of City Council to vote against loosening the restrictions on retailers’ hours of operation.
“If there is one thing that the residents have spoken out on many of these developments, again and again, and worked very hard on was to control the hours of operation, especially that of the Commons. With many, many meetings and a lot of hours put in by the residents, it was clear they did not want 24-hour retail in the city of Chesterfield. It was clear they wanted the restrictions that were brought forth in many of these ordinances,” Fults said before the vote.
After the meeting, Fults expressed concern that relaxing the restrictions on Black Friday could lead to a slippery slope in which retailers would press to extend their hours of operation around other holidays, such as the day after Christmas and the day after New Year’s.
Mayor Bruce Geiger, who supported relaxing the restrictions on retail hours of operation, said he understood Fults’ concern with setting a precedent, but he said the ordinance was aimed at “one day” and he did not foresee a future in which the city would allow extended hours of operation surrounding other major holidays.
Chesterfield retailers who wish to extend their operating hours the day after Thanksgiving must apply for a special activities permit with the city at least seven business days before the holiday.