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[35 comments]

Family-Owned Chain Wants to 'Save Thanksgiving'

November 12, 2013

P.C. Richard & Son, a consumer electronics chain with 66 stores in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, doesn't think much of all the other retailers opening on Thanksgiving Day.

In an ad that appeared in the Sunday edition of The Star-Ledger, the largest daily newspaper in New Jersey, the family owned and operated chain issued a call to "Save Thanksgiving" above a full-color photo of a cornucopia.

The ad copy read: "It is our opinion that retailers who choose to open on Thanksgiving Day or Night show no respect to their employees and their families, and are in total disrespect of family values in the United States of America. Keep Family First!"

Just above the "Save Thanksgiving" ad was a much smaller black and white announcement by the chain telling readers not to miss the company's circular in that day's paper.

Discussion Questions:

What is your reaction to P.C. Richard & Son's "Save Thanksgiving" ad? What do you think the objectives of the ad are, exactly, and will it be effective towards those ends?

While we value unfettered opinion, we urge you to show respect and courtesy for people or companies about whom you comment. Keep in mind that this is a public, professional business discussion. RetailWire reserves the right to edit or refuse the publication of remarks that we deem unsuitable. We may also correct for unintended spelling and grammatical errors.

Instant Poll:

How would you rate P.C. Richard & Son's "Save Thanksgiving" ad for effectiveness?

Comments:

P.C. Richard & Son's ad is a great idea for a chain that is not going to be open anyway. Instead of passively not opening they are shouting about it. They are emphasizing that P.C. Richard & Son stands for American family values. Hard for someone to argue against that.

That being said, I expect that their competitors will emphasize that they also supporting American families. How? By being open to allow those same American families who are time starved to opportunity to take advantage of a day off to get started on their Holiday shopping.

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Steve Montgomery, President, b2b Solutions, LLC

The ad's objectives are to create warm fuzzies for the company, and make a point that is no doubt based on sincere beliefs of the owners. While I happen to share those beliefs, the mainstream does not and it will have little effect. The money for the ad would have been better spent on Thanksgiving turkeys for employees.

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Warren Thayer, Editor & Managing Partner, Frozen & Refrigerated Buyer

I think the P.C. Richard ad is an attempt to stand out from the crowd and offer a different viewpoint on the Thanksgiving day openings. My guess is that they will compare Black Friday sales from this year with last and if they have been "scooped" they will join the crowd that opens on Thanksgiving!

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J. Peter Deeb, Managing Partner, Deeb MacDonald & Associates, L.L.C.

I believe there is a growing niche of shoppers that are in a mode that "enough is enough," when it comes to the commercialization of traditional family holidays. The recent Black Friday encroachment on Thanksgiving by some of the major retailers may represent a "line being crossed" by those retailers and there may be some consumer behavior backlash because of it.

A smaller, family owned company like P.C. Richard should find some new business by taking a stand. I applaud them for both their principles and their marketing smarts. Both are in play here!

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Mark Heckman, Principal, Mark Heckman Consulting

They should not have run the ad above it promoting the circular. Sort of kills the sincerity of the Thanksgiving ad. That said, I think it is great that a retailer is taking a stand against the how crazy our culture has become in terms of shopping for the holidays. Can't we all just have one major holiday where we all celebrate and be thankful with our families?

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Zel Bianco, President, founder and CEO, Interactive Edge

My personal view is that P.C. Richard & Son's message is a sound one. I agree with it.

However, it has a snowball's chance in Hades of stopping the growing trend of retailers shifting into a higher gear of opening their stores for all or part of the Thanksgiving Holiday. The nuclear family looks far different than it did in 1909 when Peter Richard opened his first store.

Today, only 1 out of 4 households experience (I'll say enjoy) the pleasure of children. Less than one-half of the population is not married. And 26% of adults maintain that they have never been married.

Consumption is 70% of the U.S. economy - we would be better served by having that number at 65% of the economy, but that is for another story. Retailers are harder pressed to make their box pay for itself. Added hours becomes one of those avenues. Tax dollars that are lusted after by local, state, and federal government agencies, consciously or unconsciously drive retailers to push for more sales, at ever thinner margins.

Glad to see P.C. Richard speak their mind. I'll be certain to look at them for the next consumer electronics item that I have in mind - I don't live in the Northeast, but I'll travel 35 miles North from Naples, Florida to their Fort Myers' store. Bravo P.C. Richard & Son!

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Roger Saunders, Managing Director, Prosper Business Development

The ad is a reaction to the decision by many large retailers to open on Thanksgiving. P.C. Richard is not going to be open and they are using that as a point of differentiation. I hope the ad is successful, but doubt that it will have much impact.

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Max Goldberg, President, Max Goldberg & Associates

Kudos to them for making a stand. While an ad like this would have been a drop in the publicity bucket years ago, today's consumers are considerably more socially aware, and will take notice. If I lived there, I'd buy something there, just to make a point.

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Cathy Hotka, Principal, Cathy Hotka & Associates

If you don't stand for something, what then sets you apart from your competition? Good for them to come out swinging and get some much needed attention (hey ... we're all talking about them today, which would have had a 0% chance of happening if they ran an ad promoting another round of discounts).

They might lose a few sales that one day, but I think they'll more than make up for it in the days ahead from customers who'll notice them and staff who'll love them!

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Kevin Graff, President, Graff Retail

Hooray for P.C. Richard & Son. I applaud them for their efforts, although it will be fruitless. Other retailers are not only opening; they are opening earlier than before. Each day you see an announcement that this chain is opening at 8 PM and another is opening at 5 PM and another is doing everything but not closing. There has to be respect for the employees. I am not ready to believe they will be paid overtime, etc. The main thing for these employees is to be home with their families on Thanksgiving. What's the big deal in opening as early as they now say they will?

The only way to stop this is to take the line from the old movie and say "I am mad as hell and won't take this anymore." Don't shop those stores opening with no respect for their employees.

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Ed Rosenbaum, CEO, The Customer Service Rainmaker, Rainmaker Solutions

While I applaud their concern for family as I do (not open for major holidays), most Americans don't care, as long as they can get what they want, when they want it. The article about Amazon tells us that 7-day a week full-speed-ahead consumerism is here to stay.

It is a personal decision, and I choose to be closed, but shopping and spending like maniacs is here to stay, and I choose to stay home and cook for my family.

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Tony Orlando, Owner, Tony O's Supermarket & Catering

I say I hope others follow suit. Sometimes we should put our "family first" money where our mouths are.

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Paula Rosenblum, Managing Partner, RSR Research

I applaud P.C. Richard & Son for the position they've taken and the way in which they're sharing the company's values with their customers.

Nordstrom has taken a similar stance for years, with advertising and in-store signage stating "We won't be decking our halls until Friday. We just like the idea of celebrating one holiday at a time. Happy Thanksgiving."

Though both of these retailers are finding themselves in an ever-shrinking minority of stores choosing to stay closed on Thanksgiving, I respect their taking a stand on family values and holding a few things sacred.

The retail industry is reaching at tipping point, where the current trend will one day soon see stores open on Christmas, New Years and Easter. Those choosing to buck the trend will be rewarded by their employees and customers.

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Jeff Hall, President, Second To None

If every store is open Thanksgiving, how does a retailer stand out? By closing and advertising to a beleaguered American (which is not defined as a "consumer"). Is it good business to advertise this point? Perhaps, but this is secondary to the point that they are closed and their employees are home with their families and not on the sales floor.

'mikeb22'

I applaud the company for putting a stake in the ground and standing for "something." I think they attempt to achieve their objective - to compete with those that are open by minimizing their "love of family, community, and respect." Will it be effective? Nahhhh. That horse is out of the barn.

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David Zahn, Owner, ZAHN Consulting, LLC

I think this is a good marketing posture for P.C. Richard. As Steve Montgomery notes, they aren't going to be opening themselves. And as a family-owned business, I understand completely where they are coming from. So, make lemonade.

Those corporate-owned retailers who do open will do business and make sales, sales that P.C. Richard chooses not to compete for.

This ad brings them some positive pub, and earns them points from those consumers who won't be shopping on Thanksgiving anyway. But for those that are out there thinking that there are bargains to be had, well, they'll just go to Best Buy.

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Ted Hurlbut, Principal, Hurlbut & Associates

Hooray for P.C. Richard & Son! They've been around for 104 years and have very clear ideas as to what constitutes their brand and business practices. In addition to communicating to their employees the company's family values, the company's objective is to strike a chord with those consumers that hark back to a "simpler" life, that it's okay to slow down, pause, reflect and be thankful. In doing so, they would hope their like-minded customers will connect further with their brand, build loyalty, and of course that they shop ahead of the holiday and/or wait until they reopen post-Thanksgiving.

Will they be effective? With their core customers I would say yes! Might they make some pause and think about this runaway consumerism at the neglect of family? YES. Will they make a dent in other retailers' plans? Probably not. However, raising awareness is a first step to having consumers change behavior. But I'm not holding my breath.

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Mohamed Amer, Vice President, Global Integrated Retail Unit, SAP

Yes! Yes! Yes!

I have no respect for a society that would destroy its most American of holidays. And businesses who are willing to do this are part of the corruption.

Kate Blake, Social Media Manager, Take Five with Kate Blake

It is a clever message and will likely resonate with consumers of traditional values.

John Hyman, Overseer of Order, Zen Marketing Inc.

I agree with those who commented that the intent is honorable while the impact will be nil. What if P.C. Richard goes on to offer that (with a bona fide receipt of purchase) they will match on Friday the deals shoppers found elsewhere on Thursday? Now wouldn't that be a game changer for P.C. Richard and their employees!

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Joan Treistman, President, The Treistman Group LLC

The idea of P.C. Richard wishing the people a Happy Thanksgiving and putting families first was a nice thought. They should have stopped there.

The copy that "retailers who choose to open on Thanksgiving Day or Night show no respect to their employees and their families, and are in total disrespect of family values in the United States of America" was an insult. And enough of an insult to counter anything else they may have been trying to do.

There are plenty of folks out there who have no family to share Thanksgiving with and there are plenty, in this economy, who could use the extra bucks to keep a roof over their family's heads. That is a family value as well.

Now, I am not advocating for retailers to be open on Thanksgiving. I am simply calling an insult an insult!

Lee Kent, Encourages retailers to meet share and learn, YourRetailAuthority

I respect their view, but it's a big decision to forgo the sales that these other stores will see. The cat's out of the bag on this one so each retailer has to make its own decision as to how they will manage Thanksgiving Day.

That being said, even if they choose not to open their stores, their website will be open for business, so am betting they will have employees working.

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Bill Davis, Director, MB&G Consulting

I don't think they're cynically doing it because they expect great retail impact or for most any of the normal advertising reasons. Therefore, it is a mistake to view their piece in that way or through that lens. I think they're just making the point that "Hey, if you're one of those families who look forward to spending the whole Thursday of Thanksgiving together to, you know, cook and eat food made from traditional family recipes and give thanks - well we and our employees do too! And we hope you'll please keep in mind that we're here and open every other day with good products and good deals."

Good for them. Stores that require their employees to work on Thanksgiving have done great damage to American family celebrations.

'Liatt'

The best comment I've heard regarding Thanksgiving Day/Night shopping: Only in America would people be rushing to the stores to buy new stuff on deal when they have barely finished a meal symbolizing how thankful they are for everything they have.

Connie Kski, owner, Animal Fair Pet Shop

While P.C. Richard & Son griped, Fry's Electronics developed an innovate solution for Thanksgiving last year.

Fry's created a Black Friday circular allowing people to place an order online from their home during Thanksgiving and pickup the item at the store on Black Friday.

Customers stayed at home on Thanksgiving, Employees were not working (except IT) and it was a win-win innovative solution.

Ed Dunn, Founder, (Stealth Operation)

I have mixed feelings on this: certainly I agree with the message, but do I agree with how it was it presented? Is it really sincere, or rather a clever - and ultimately cynical - way to attract favorable publicity by proclaiming "holier than thou"? I will give them the benefit of the doubt, but point out that an ad that simply announced they would be closed (as usual) on Thanksgiving could have transmitted the same message without the ambiguity.

'notcom'

An emotional issue for certain. And not all feel the same way. P.C. Richard is facing 6 fewer days in which to make its holiday season too. This is their effort to serve up a relevant message. Good for them.

But the cynic wonders: What about Sunday? Less respectful? How about the grocery store open on every holiday? Less American? Return to Blue Laws? If P.C. Richard sells fewer TVs, will it open next year?

Or as we like to say, "retail ain't for sissies."

'IMRetail'

I wholeheartedly agree with P.C. Richards and this folksy, honest "Save Thanksgiving" ad really works for me. It makes me value even more the family owned businesses that are so challenged in today's marketplace and still manage to find a unique way to stand out and make a statement.

Especially like how the "Save Thanksgiving" ad is in stark contrast to the slick ad campaigns of retailers who are blessing us with the opportunity to shop on Thanksgiving Day, which is Chanukkah for some, too!

And, I like the fact that P.C. Richards is promoting their circular in the day's paper. Smart, smart, smart!

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Karen S. Herman, Founder & Design Director, Gustie Creative LLC

Nice sentiment, but the mean-spirited way they chose to express themselves undoes any goodwill the ad might have garnered.

'gafpromise'

I completely agree...it is getting utterly ridiculous the trend to open on this holiday. We really need to remember the reason for this holiday...not increased sales and profits, but to give thanks to Almighty God for the blessings in our lives, in particular our families.

Rick Perry, President, Cross Border Consulting

Damn. I guess I will have to go shopping someplace else.

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Gene Detroyer, Professor, Independent

"Christmas Creep" is going to get a lot of media attention this year and P.C. Richard & Son is wise to use this as an opportunity to differentiate themselves from other retailers.

Consumers are used to being hyper-connected and in today's omnichannel world they want to be able to buy anything, from any channel at any time. The retailers that are choosing to open their stores on Thanksgiving are just responding to the new reality. And in a capitalist society, this will either be wildly successful (and more retailers will join in) or it will be a flop (and retailers won't repeat the experiment.)

I'm betting that stores will be busy on Thanksgiving. I'm also betting that there will be a very vocal minority of backlash, primarily via social media.

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Bryan Pearson, President and CEO, LoyaltyOne

P.C. Richard is a highly respected, and profitable retailer that has stood the test of time, many times over. They ran a great TV campaign a few years back with the theme of "they come and they go," with the names of defunct electronic stores (national and regional) displayed in the background, and there are many.

They have been running ads scolding other retailers for opening on Thanksgiving for several years now, and their refusal to open on Thanksgiving has not hurt their bottom line. As for some posters taking issue with their "attack" on retailers that choose to open on Thanksgiving, hello, they are P.C. Richard's competitors. P.C. Richard has every right to openly challenge them.

I will not be shopping on Thanksgiving, and I plan on making my opinions known to anyone I know who does. In my case, I will berate them to their face, not just on social media.

Kenneth Allan, FORMER Retail HR Exec, Times-Review

As a result of this ad, I plan to buy my range at P.C. Richard. Kudos to them! It's so sad that a company has to advertise that they respect their employees lives and will remain closed on a traditional American holiday, like Thanksgiving.

'MaggieGee'

I am a current Best Buy store manager and I'm disgusted we lose our holidays for the greediness of our corporate partners. I completely agree with P.C. Richard and support them. While I am certain P.C. Richard has other motives for running this ad, I still believe they care for their employees. Best Buy constantly talks about how they promote a healthily work life balance, but we have to work every holiday including 6 p.m. thanksgiving to 9 p.m. Black Friday, then all day Saturday and that Sunday. I really don't see the work/life balance here. I hope P.C. Richard has a great Black Friday and proves we don't need to work on Thanksgiving.

'NYC10461'

Love it!

'hschupak'

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