By Paul Burton

BRAINTREE (CBS) – With Black Friday just days away, retailers are stacking their shelves and getting ready for the holiday rush. From electronics to clothes, stores are hoping for a fruitful start to the holiday shopping season even during a pandemic.

Dana Katz is the president and owner of Miltons The Store for Men. Typically known for selling suits and sportswear, Katz said he’s had to adjust to the COVID- 19 retail culture. Now, he has a women’s pop-up shops in the stores at the South Shore Mall in Braintree and Chestnut Hill.

Retailers are hoping shoppers will come out for Black Friday sales. (WBZ-TV)

“A guy can come in, take care of his needs and take care of his gift needs for her. And a woman can come in and take of him and pick up something for herself,” Katz said.

“A lot of small businesses need to transform themselves and change their entire models,” said Jon Hurst, president of Retailers Association of Massachusetts. He said stores are marketing hard with huge sales to get consumers back early. “A year ago, only 25% of our members were online. Today, over 40% are.”

Katz said he’s even adjusted to customers who are not comfortable with coming into the store. “We’ve done everything from curbside pick-up, we’ve dropped off merchandise at people’s houses and we have our e-commerce site,” Katz said.

Debbie Roach of Holbrook was busy shopping at South Shore Mall in Braintree. “It’s hard to get people out, and everyone is shopping online today. I’d rather go into the store and see what I have, try it on,” Roach said.

Business owners say they’ve missed their customers and hope shoppers come out and support them this holiday season.

“Local businesses have always needed support but more than ever. We are fighting for our survival, and we all could really use as much support as we can get,” Katz said.

Paul Burton