Early start to holiday shopping again this year

For many people, the day after Thanksgiving otherwise known as Black Friday kicks off the holiday shopping season.

But some shoppers will barely have their Thanksgiving dinners digested before they will head to the Lycoming Mall.

“The majority of them (stores) will be open Thanksgiving night at 8 p.m.,” said Lycoming Mall Marketing Director Sharon Leonard. “Our intentions were to open at midnight, but we had so many that wanted to open earlier that we decided to open at 8 p.m.”

As a special offering, 250 shopping bags filled with $10 gift cards and savings from stores will be given away at that time.

For the rest of the holiday season, mall hours will vary, Leonard said.

Through Dec. 9 the mall will be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Mall hours from Dec. 10 to Dec. 17 will be extended from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Starting Dec. 18, the hours will be extended even further from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.

The holiday shopping season wraps up Christmas Eve with mall hours running from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Leonard said shoppers can expect to see various discounts and sales throughout the season.

Many stores in downtown Williamsport are ready to offer area residents a holiday shopping experience as well.

Williamsport Business Association President Bernie Katz conceded that Black Friday does not represent the same kind of big shopping day for the downtown as it does for the mall.

“We do get people who come downtown later in the day,” he said.

Many shoppers, however, may venture into Williamsport after spending time at the mall.

Katz is excited about the variety of stores that can be found downtown and some of the newer ones that have opened.

He noted the downtown experience can be enriched with the selection of restaurants to be found there.

“It is a place to come and go eat,” he said. “We have more restaurants for a downtown of a community our size than most others.”

The downtown certainly is dressed up for the holidays too, particularly along Third and Fourth streets.

Pine Square also is adorned in holiday attire thanks to the efforts earlier this month from Williamsport students.

Katz said some downtown stores are participating American Express Small Business Saturday Nov. 30.

“If you have an American Express Card, you get a $10 credit if use your cards,” he said. “This is a national campaign to help small businesses.”