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Will opening for the first time ever on Thanksgiving result in Paramus malls finally opening Sundays?

Posted: 6:51 PM, Nov 12, 2014
Updated: 2014-11-13 04:42:09-05

PARAMUS, N.J. (PIX11) --As home to three major shopping malls and hundreds of other retail stores, Paramus, New Jersey has built a reputation as one of the largest retail locations in the world. It's also built a reputation for having blue laws that keep all of its shops shuttered on Sundays and major holidays. But come Thanksgiving, part of that reputation will fall away this year, leaving open the question of whether or not all of the blue laws will one day fall.

At the largest mall in the country's largest retail town, Garden State Plaza, or GSP, Wednesday was just another shopping day. Thanks to a new decision by the operators of GSP, as well as the Paramus Park mall nearby, Thanksgiving Day will also be another shopping day.

"Really? Really?" asked stunned GSP shopper Ricky Pinzo. "In that case, we may as well just bring the turkey here [to the mall] and start eating the turkey here and cranberry here."

Pinzo was among the many who expressed a strong dislike for the notion of stores being open on the holiday, for the first time ever.

"I won't shop on Thanksgiving," said shopper Lisa Hauser. "It's the one day everyone is calm and quiet, no gifts, just food and happiness. I won't shop.

"You should be closed," said Tiffany Moton, another shopper. "People should be allowed to be with their families."

For its part, the operator of Garden State Plaza said that since other malls do it, it chose to also open for the holiday.

"Given the enthusiasm for earlier and earlier shopping throughout the past several years," said Lisa Herrmann, senior marketing director for the corporation which owns and operates GSP, "Westfield is so happy to accomodate our shoppers and retailers to meet that demand."

Again, though, most people who spoke with PIX11 about the subject were not demanding Thanksgiving Day shopping. Quite the opposite, in fact.

"I'm a business owner myself," said Michael Gavin, "and I feel that every holiday an employee is entitled to spend time with their family."

However, the naysayers tended to be adults with families, as opposed to younger people, like shopper Felix Pimentel.

"No, I don't mind [them] being open on Thanksgiving," he said. "It's going to be a great business step for them."

Recent polling shows that more people his age, 25 and under, do not mind stores being open on the holiday. In fact, polling by the research firm Accenture shows that more people overall will shop on Thanksgiving Day than in the past.

Last year, 38 percent of people polled said they would shop. This year, the number has risen to 45 percent.

Will numbers like that be enough to get Bergen County, in which Paramus is situated, to change its blue laws and let stores begin opening on Sundays? Nobody -- especially popular Paramus mayor Richard LaBarbiera -- is endorsing that notion.

Still, retailers are at least trying to woo over as many Thanksgiving Day naysayers as possible.

"We're offering, actually, complimentary dessert for those shoppers, and a complimentary cup of coffee," said Herrmann, the GSP director, "[and a $1000 shopping spree this holiday, and a VIP parking pass."

Meanwhile, not every store in her mall is opening. Two major anchor retailers, Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus, will remain closed for Thanksgiving. Both GSP and Paramus Park Mall are only open from 6 P.M. to 11 P.M. Thanksgiving evening.

The third major mall in Paramus, Bergen Town Center, will remain closed all day on the holiday.