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Where do you buy local?

buy localForget the Black Friday craziness at big-box stores. Plenty of you out there are vowing to buy local this holiday season. More money stays in the local economy when you do that (and it’s easier to find unique gifts, I think). So let’s make it easy for a Fresno-minded shopper to go Christmas shopping this year. What is your favorite local store to shop at? What do you get there?

Full disclosure: You’re helping me do my work by responding to this. We’re planning a shop local story in a future Sunday paper and your input will help guide what goes into it. I’m looking for your favorite locally owned stores to shop at in different categories, including:

Kids
Women’s
Men
Gifts for the home
Food gifts

And heck, anything else that comes to mind. The more examples of cool stuff you’ve found, the better.

The great Black Friday debate: Will you shop on Thanksgiving Day?

Black Friday

Photo: Ross Taylor, Associated Press

The Black Friday shopping craziness is coming. In fact, it should be called Black Thursday this year because most of the big stores are opening on Thanksgiving Day. Fashion Fair mall and many department stores will open at 8 p.m. Thursday, for instance. Craft store Michaels will open at 4 p.m.  Will you be there?

With Black Friday encroaching on the time usually reserved for turkey and pumpkin pie, the debate over early openings has reached a fever pitch this year. On one side, there’s the multiple generations of families in town for the holidays who have made a tradition of going shopping for great deals and spending quality time waiting in line together. In the other corner are the people vowing not to shop. They believe retail workers should have one holiday to stay home with their families, and abhor the expression of consumerism and greed.

Where do you stand?

Below are opening times for major stores (and for the record, Costco, Sur La Table and RadioShack deliberately are not opening on Thanksgiving Day).

Opening times on Thanksgiving Day:

6 a.m. Kmart (Kmart has opened at 6 a.m. in the past, but this year it won’t close during the middle of the day. It will stay open for 41 hours through Friday.)

4 p.m. Michaels

5 p.m. Toys “R” Us

6 p.m. Best Buy

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Black Friday gets an early start

Are you ready, Black Friday shoppers? Or should I say “Black Thursday?”

The post-Thanksgiving shopping madness starts earlier than ever this year as Toys “R” Us, Walmart and Sears break out the doorbuster deals at 8 p.m. and Target opens at 9 p.m. Thursday.

You can read all about what to expect in the Fresno area here. Note that stores like Walmart, Target and Sears are appealing to night owls and early birds alike with waves of different doorbuster deals throughout the night.

The earlier-than-ever opening times are inspiring a backlash from Target and Walmart workers, who say they’re ruining Thanksgiving.

But if you’re one of the many caffeinated Americans who make Black Friday shopping a family tradition, the opening times listed below can help you plan your strategy. Most retailers Black Friday ads will be Thursday’s Fresno Bee or are already online.

Also, many Starbucks locations near major shopping areas will be open all night Thursday, including Starbucks at River Park and the new one at Shaw and West avenues.

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