Town worried about loss of niche market on “most important day of the year”
GOLFITO — As shoppers stretch for the early morning race to their desired store openings today, the town of Golfito has a message for them: our Friday is blacker than yours.
Golfito, located in the south-Pacific region of Costa Rica, is famous for having a duty free – and therefore dirt cheap – shopping zone. With import taxes in Costa Rica higher than Toronto mayor Rob Ford, Ticos and tourists alike visit the tiny town throughout the year for many of their shopping and appliance needs.
But that changes on Black Friday.
With popular San Jose-based outlets like Pequeño Mundo and Ropa Americana offering up to 80 percent off signature items like almost-the-same Froot Loops and Kalvin Clein jeans, Golfito loses its competitive shine on Black Friday – which just so happens to be the town’s most important day of the year.
“For us it’s like Christmas morning,” said local store owner Angie Mora. “We look forward to it all year. We really depend on selling as many spare tires and white Westinghouse televisions as we can.”
This sentiment is reiterated by “Blacker Friday” campaign manager Raul Mendez, who said that because stores in San Jose are adopting U.S. shopping traditions, Golfito needed an added edge to entice shoppers planning to stay in the Central Valley on Black Friday.
“The phrase ‘once you go black you never go back’ has really hurt us in past years,” Mendez said. “This year we decided that we needed to go the extra mile. We need people to go further than black – we need them to go blacker.”
After last year’s debacle of near-zero sales in the assorted tools and used linen markets, the town pulled together and came up with idea for “Blacker Friday”. Town stores opened today at 6am and won’t close until 6am Sunday morning. During the “48 hours of Blacker-ness”, as stores are advertising, some items like un-used pencils and computer mouses are going for as much as 95 percent off.
Everyone is hoping that it catches on, but the town is prepared to go to the next level if necessary, Mendez said.
“We are an armyless country, but this is all-out war now,” Mendez said. “Not that we want to, but if we have to go as far as a ‘Blackest Friday,’ well you gotta do what you gotta do.”