It’s beginning to look a lot like Black Friday

Merchants talk about the importance of the day after Thanksgiving to the overall health of their business

Santa

BIG GAY SANTA | Fete-ish owner Chad Vogel placed a big Santa over his doorway in time to welcome Black Friday shoppers to his Bishop Arts District store. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

Although most gay shopkeepers don’t approach Black Friday with the same frenzied mentality as mainstream retailers, the day after Thanksgiving is nonetheless important to their businesses.

To get the edge of those holiday shopping dollars, big box stores have been opening earlier and earlier. Wal-Mart even announced its Friday hours will begin on Thursday this year.

Dallas’ LGBT retailers haven’t turned the day into that kind of maniacal hysteria, but gay merchants on Cedar Springs Road and in the Bishop Arts District want customers to know they depend on good sales this weekend, too.

“Oh my God! It’s very important,” Skivvies owner David Richardson of the day-after-Thanksgiving shopping rush.

He said that he and partner Todd Seaton get to the store three hours early that day to start setting up, and business starts the minute they open the doors. He schedules extra help for the day and stays in the store himself from open until close to help answer questions, work the register and bag items.

“We’ll have discounts on some groups of merchandise throughout the store,” Richardson said, but every category sells well that day.

Black Friday accounts for as much as 20 percent of the Christmas season sales at Skivvies.

“It can be the biggest day of the year,” Richardson said. Only the day before Halloween rivals it.

Nuvo salesperson Daneen Foster agreed. She said she expected her store to be busy from open until close on Black Friday, even without any special promotions.

“We’re just going to be here with our fabulous merchandise, free gift wrapping and a knowledgeable, helpful and friendly staff,” she said.

TapeLenders owner Mark Milburn said, “This is the first time we’ve publicized Black Friday specials.”

In the past, he hasn’t noticed a big spike in business, but he said he thinks his “buy one, get one free” offer on adult videos and an additional 10 percent off on clearance items would especially boost sales.

Things are a little different for OutLines.

“It’s not one of our busier days, like at the malls,” owner David Lester said.

He said that for the past three years, Black Friday has been no better than any other Friday at OutLines. However, to boost sales over the holiday weekend this year, Lester planned to open the store from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

During those four hours last year, he said, he did more business than on the traditional shopping day. He said that specials would be offered throughout the store during the weekend.

“But our biggest weekend is Pride,” Lester said. “And First Wednesday is always a good night for us.”

Bishop Arts retailers report less reliance on a Black Friday surge.

Bishop Street Market owner Mike Harrity said it is usually busier than a normal Friday, but he expects to do much more business on Small Business Saturday. That is an American Express promotion started last year that gives $25 off to anyone that uses an Amex card in a small business on the Saturday following Black Friday.

“Down here we have Jingle Bells on Bishop,” Fete-ish owner Chad Vogel said.

That event takes place the following week.

“We’ll have live entertainment,” Vogel said. “Thousands of people roll through that weekend.”
Harrity agreed that Jingle Bells on Bishop was his store’s biggest weekend of the year

But Vogel said that Thanksgiving weekend does give his store a healthy and welcome spike in sales.

Then he reacted to the question of how gay stores do on Black Friday.

“What makes you think our store is gay?” he asked as he was lighting up the big pink Santa whose mouth is the front door of the store, while other employees were spraying tinsel and glitter everywhere.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 25, 2011.

 

—  Kevin Thomas

BUSINESS: Skivvies goes wholesale

GENTLEMEN PREFER SKIVVIES | Dave Richardson shows off one of his new Skivvies designs that will soon be available in stores across the country. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

Owner David Richardson has designed a line of men’s underwear that is now selling around the country

DAVID TAFFET | Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

Dave Richardson not only sells underwear at his store Skivvies on Cedar Springs Road but now wholesales a line under the store’s name.

“I’ve always wanted to create some underwear styles of my own,” said Richardson.

This week he and his partner Todd Seaton are in Las Vegas at MAGIC, the largest men’s apparel wholesale market, looking for new lines for their store and selling the new Skivvies line to other stores.

When it opened, Skivvies was the first men’s fashion underwear store in the country, Richardson said. With its 5,000-square-foot space, it has remained the largest.

Richardson said that others have copied his idea and some individual brands have opened retail outlets. But his concept of selling underwear as fashion was new when he created the store.

About 30 years ago, Richardson began his retail career at TapeLenders with his partner, Steve Freeman. After Freeman’s death, Richardson took over the rental outlet and expanded with a store in Austin.

In 1994, he and Seaton, his new partner, opened OutLines and about five years later Skivvies. They have since sold the other stores while expanding Skivvies.

“I’ve learned what design aspects sell the best,” Richardson said. “So in my new line I’ve combined the colors, fabrications, fit, pouch design and waistband materials that our customers like best.”

Through a contact in the garment industry, he found a factory in Medellin, Columbia that is manufacturing the product in relatively small runs of 10,000 pieces at prices he can wholesale competitively.

After the first manufacturing run, Richardson and Seaton tested the brand in their own store.

“To my great surprise and pleasure, it’s been selling very well,” Richardson said.

Then they held their product launch party on the last Atlantis cruise and picked up a few retail accounts. Skivvies is now selling in stores such as LA Sporting Club in Los Angeles and Underwear Station in Miami.

For the Las Vegas market, they chose the top five models, counting on those models to catch on across the country.

Since “skivvies” is a military term, Richardson decided to use military terms for each of the designs in the line. “Rear admiral,” he said, has the butt cut out.

Richardson said that when he got into the business, most underwear lines had two or three styles and colors.

“Now we get new styles in constantly,” Todd said.

As for the wholesale line, Richardson said he’s hoping to grow slowly and steadily.

“We don’t want to be a flash in the pan,” he said.

He said he doesn’t want to overextend his company and would be delighted with about.

A slide show of men modeling the new Skivvies line is available on line.

—  John Wright

Razzle Dazzle Dallas gets off to a busy start

Razzle Dazzle Dallas kicked off with a Wine Walk on Wednesday and continues through the weekend.

A 25-year tradition returns to Cedar Springs with the Main Event on Saturday

DAVID TAFFET | StaffWriter
taffet@dallasvoice.com

The five-day Razzle Dazzle Dallas revival began Wednesday, June 1, with a wine walk on Cedar Springs Road.

“I think last night went really well,” Chet Whisenant, owner of Subway at the Crossroads, said Thursday. “Foot traffic was way up. It was a great kickoff for Razzle Dazzle Dallas.”

Thom Dance, owner of the UPS Store on the other end of the strip said: “We had more people in our store than on any similar event. The street was alive.”

Skivvies owner David Richardson said: “Last night was great. For us, I haven’t seen that large a crowd for a wine walk event.”

Richardson, the former owner of TapeLenders and OutLines, has been a Cedar Springs merchant since the early 1980s. Several retailers said that although they stocked double the amount of wine they pour for other wine walks, they still ran out early.

Many people brought their dogs, and most retailers were allowing dogs into their stores throughout the evening.

Party express buses were scheduled to run Thursday night until 1 a.m. Friday, shuttling patrons to four clubs located off the main strip.

Metroball begins at 7 p.m. at Station 4 on Friday, June 3. Raffles and a silent auction as well as admission tickets benefit the Greg Dollinger Memorial AIDS Fund. Deborah Cox performs. VIP ticket holders are invited to a catered reception after the show to meet Cox.

On Saturday, the Cedar Springs Merchants Association will stage a sidewalk sale and classic car show during the day. More than 50 members of Classic Chassis Car Club plan to display their antique and classic cars along Cedar Springs Road.

Sale tents, food booths, an artist pavilion and activities will be set up along the sidewalk. The street will remain open to car traffic during the day.

The Main Event begins Saturday at 7 p.m. Cedar Springs Road will close to traffic at 4 p.m. to set up the stages and booths.

Sales from The Midway, community booths, art vendors and food and beer vendors all benefit Razzle Dazzle’s eight beneficiaries.

Jenna Skyy and Michael Doughman will host the live entertainment stage. Performers include Cazwell, Chaz Marie, Dallas Pride Cheer, Billy Halliday, The Bright, Uptown Players, the Gary Floyd Trio, Anton Shaw and Something Fabulous!!! On the dance stage near Cedar Springs Road and Knight Street, Dallas DJ Mickey Briggs will trade off with DJ Tim Pfleuger from Oz in New Orleans. BJ’s NXS will provide the go-go boys and girls.

For VIP ticket holders there will be two VIP-only areas. At the north area, Axiom and Dish will serve samplings. At the south area, Al Biernat and Doug Boster Catering will host a food tasting.

Free valet parking at ilume will be provided to VIP ticket holders on Saturday night.

Admission to the street party is free.

On Sunday, closing parties begin at TMC: The Mining Company with an afternoon tea dance.

The Mr. and Miss Razzle Dazzle Dallas contest takes pace at the Brick at 10 p.m.

Richardson said he was looking forward to the rest of the Razzle Dazzle weekend.

“It looks like we’re going to see a lot of new faces,” he said, “and a lot of people we haven’t seen around for awhile.”

He offered special recognition to Jimmy Bartlett, the Razzle Dazzle board member who first pulled the idea to revive the event together.

“I greatly appreciate Jimmy and all of his efforts to bring Razzle back,” Richardson said. “I think this is going to be a bigger and more exciting Razzle than any I remember.”

—  John Wright