CRAFT SHOW – 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Find something for Mom made by a local artisan. There will be quilts, jewelry, tumblers and more. Enter the raffle to win a free gift and to support Supper Heroes in Ripped Jeans. Southside Mall, Oneonta. 607-432-4401 or visit www.facebook.com/southsidemall/
HISTORY PROGRAM – 7 p.m. “Learn How To Create Your Family History – Geneology 101” with Bonnie Dailey. Free webinar, pre-registration required. Presented by Sharon Historical Society. Call 518-860-5513 or visit www.sharonhistoricalsocietyny.org to register.
VIRTUAL TOUR – 2 p.m. Zoom meeting featuring walk through of exhibit ‘Decking The Halls’ with discussion of the artifacts followed by live Q&A with Manager of Arts Education, Kevin Gray. Free, registration required. Suggested donation $5. Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown. 607-547-1400 or visit www.fenimoreartmuseum.org
ART TALK – 2 p.m. ‘Winter in the Arkell Museum Permanent Collection’ discussion with curator Mary Alexander. Learn how winter is portrayed in works by Walter Launt Palmer, Edward Redfield, many others in permanent collection. Free Zoom conference. Presented by Arkell Museum. 518-673-2314 ext. 113 or visit www.arkellmuseum.org/events-calendar
For Oneonta’s Bonnie Johnson, this year’s Black Friday gave her the opportunity to try something she hadn’t in years past.
“It was nice to sleep in!” she said as she browsed shoes the day after Thanksgiving at JC Penney. “Usually I have to get up early.”
Mindful of masks and social distancing, shoppers nonetheless flocked to the Southside Mall on Friday, Nov. 27, although it was a somewhat smaller flock.
“Shoppers are apprehensive about travel, so they’re staying local,” said Luisa Montanti, mall manager. “Store managers all told me they had good customer traffic and good sales results.”
Christy Lopreste said she was shopping on Black Friday for the first time. “My daughter really wanted to come, but it’s always too busy. Now with COVID, I didn’t think there’d be as many people.”
And although it wasn’t as crowded as in years before, that doesn’t mean that the stores were empty.
“It’s busier than we expected,” said Pam Morrissey, JC Penney manager. “But it’s a great year for gifts, and a lot of people are buying home appliances!”
Most years, the store is open on Thanksgiving – with Morrissey bringing in a full spread to feed her employees – but this year, the doors were closed until 5 a.m. the next day.
“We put a lot of COVID precautions in place,” she said. “Everyone is wearing masks, and people are buying them to give as gifts.”
TJ Maxx, the mall’s other anchor, had employee Roxanne Campo out front with a counter to make sure the big box wasn’t over capacity. “We’re allowing 170 people at any one time,” she said. “We didn’t know if it was going to get busy or stay quiet.”
Although there will be no in-person visits with Santa, letters may still be sent through the mall’s custom North Pole mailbox.
Additionally, on Saturdays through the 19th, the mall will again host artisans and craftspeople, who can sell their wares in the center corridor, Montanti said.
In addition to sanitation stations and one-way traffic patterns throughout the mall itself, stores each found their own ways to draw in customers who might otherwise be skittish about spending a day shopping.
“We have some of the only open dressing rooms in the region,” said Kacey Haggerty, store leader, Maurice’s. “It’s a big attraction!”
“I came in to try things on and make sure I know all my sizes, then order online,” said Kali Jones, who came in from Otego to pick up an online order at the woman’s clothing shop. “It reduces the risk.”
“As a bookstore, we’re the safest place to be,” joked Mike Konze, Black Tree Books manager. “We opened at 6 a.m. and only did $2 in business in three hours.”
All kidding aside, he said, many of their sales come from their new online store, which offers both shipping and curbside pickup.
“People are starting to realize that a used bookstore isn’t like a Barnes and Noble, rely on just what the district manager sends us,” he said. “We’re a resource. A lot of folks are searching for a special first edition or a rare book as a gift.”
ONEONTA – The county Department of Health is reporting a potential exposure to COVID-19 at Applebee’s Southside Mall location: An employee last worked there Monday, Nov. 9, tested positive for COVID-19 and is isolating at home.
As a precaution, the restaurant closed yesterday for deep cleaning, hiring a professional sanitation service to disinfect from top to bottom. It was scheduled to reopen today.
ASK THE EXPERT – 2 p.m. Learn how museums preserve the items in their collections, from storage guidelines to documentation, and how you can implement these in your own collection. Q&A as time allows. Free, registration for Zoom conference required. Hosted by The Baseball Hall of Fame. Visit baseballhall.org/events/virtual-ask-the-expert-collections-2?date=0
GOLF TOURNAMENT – 1 p.m. With new safety protocols, the Otsego County Chamber hosts 34th annual Chamber Classic Golf Tournament featuring lunch wraps from Roundhouse Pub and Grill. Proceeds of Tournament will go to Community Foundation of Otsego County. Registration required. Hosted by The Oneonta Country Club, 9 Country Club Dr., Oneonta. members.otsegocc.com/events/details/34th-annual-chamber-golf-classic-386
COVID-19 TESTING – 9 a.m. – Noon. Healthy Otsego County residents are invited to drive-thru testing for Covid-19, free of charge courtesy of Otsego County Department of Health. Registration required. Southside Mall Parking Lot, Oneonta. 607-547-4279 to register.
ONEONTA – As the Otsego County hovers on the brink of entering Phase Four under NY Forward, Luisa Montanti, Southside Mall manager, has been receiving “hundreds” of emails and texts, all asking the same question.
“They ask,, ‘Why isn’t the mall open?’” she said. “I’m asking the same thing.”
On Tuesday, Robert F. Mujica Jr., the state’s budget director, said that Governor Cuomo had made the decision not to allow malls, gyms and movie theaters to reopen when many regions, including the Mohawk Valley, reach Phase Four. No opening date has been given.
ONEONTA – If you need a video game, a tennis racket or some office supplies for working from home, Southside Mall still has you covered.
“A lot of our exterior stores are doing curbside pickup,” said Mall Manager Luisa Montanti. “They’ve been open through the whole pandemic, and we’re really proud of them.”
While the mall remains shuttered during the shutdown, Office Max and Harbor Freight are considered “essential services,” allowing customers to come inside and browse. Vision Works is open for essential appointments only, including broken glasses, blurred vision or ordering more contact lenses.