Mall Stores Threatened With Fines If They Don't Open On Thanksgiving, 'We Caution You To Open'

Some store managers are upset with new shopping hours released at the Walden Galleria in Cheektowaga, New York. The mall decided to open for "Grey Thursday," six hours earlier than last year. However, the hours were not relayed to store management teams until a week ago, leaving managers scrambling to cover Thanksgiving shifts and possibly facing steep fines if they do not open their doors.

WGRZ reports that there is a lot of debate in the retail community about whether stores should open on the holiday or allow their employees to spend time with their families. Some small store managers pointed out that many stores may not benefit financially from remaining open on the holiday, whereas other managers simply want to provide their employees with the ability to spend the holiday with their families.

Debbie Minotti, an employee at Beauty Plus Salon, says that it wasn't just one store with concerns about the holiday hours.

They [Galleria management] talked about opening at 8 o'clock, then it went to 6 o'clock, and a lot of people said 'Oh, I'm not working at that time. Ya know?' but they decided it was going to be 6 o'clock."
Rebecca Wojcik, the Store Manager at Pandora, says that the policy is unfair to small businesses.
We got such short notice on it. And not having that time frame of, ya know, we have just a couple weeks now that we need to be staffing for all of that."
Aside from the scheduling conflicts created by the short notice received by the store owners, the potential for hefty fines also exists. Depending on the lease contract, fines can cost upwards of $200 per hour for stores that are not open during "normal business hours." When stores reached out to mall management over the potential for fines, a definitive answer was not given. However, a warning was given.
We caution you to open at 6 pm when the rest of the mall opens."
WGRZ also notes that the mall specifically stated to store managers that opening on Thanksgiving was "mandatory."

According to WIVB, some stores say regardless of mall policy, they will not open on Thanksgiving. One such company is DSW. Store management for DSW says they will not open until Black Friday at 7 am.

What do you think of stores opening for "Grey Thursday?" Should stores within malls be fined if they choose not to open on Thanksgiving?

[Image courtesy of Gear Live]