By Renner Clements, Staff Writer

Deviating from common Black Friday practices, the Fayette Mall in Lexington announced that it would be closing for Thanksgiving on Nov. 24. All stores located directly inside the main building of the mall will be closed to the public, while stores that have direct outside entrances will have the option to remain open. This includes the Cinemark Theater and other stores and restaurants located around the main building.

CBL & Associates, the mall developer and owner of Fayette Mall, is reportedly closing 72 of its malls in order to accommodate the needs and well-being of each mall’s employees on Nov. 24.

“We think that for our employees and for the store employees, they deserve the day off and to be able to spend the day with their families,” said CBL CEO Stephen Lebovitz in an interview with CNBC earlier this month.

This announcement came shortly after The Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota announced that they would be closing on Thanksgiving as well. Being the largest mall in the nation, the Mall of America clearly affected CBL’s decision. Since a mall of such a large size is closing and rejecting a head start on the biggest retail day of the year, smaller malls can do the same.

This trend of giving employees Thanksgiving off is certainly a step in the right direction for businesses everywhere. Providing space for employees to regain strength and engage in the culture of America could be one of the most important choices U.S. businesses can make. The opportunity to contribute to a local community culturally, not just economically, opens the door for increased business and social well-being.

We think that for our employees and for the store employees, they deserve the day off and to be able to spend the day with their families.

In addition to this, attention to the well-being of employees can reap sizable benefits for businesses. According to a 2005 Gallup study, increased employee satisfaction is linked to 80 percent higher customer ratings and a 70 percent higher profitability. When a business cares for its employees in tangible ways, like closing on national holidays such as Thanksgiving, employees feel more cared for and valued, raising satisfaction.

The well-known benefits of caring for people in the world of charity and religious circles are finally starting to creep into the entrepreneurial world as well. Deliberately taking a financial loss by remaining closed the day before the largest retail shopping day of the year is proving that employee satisfaction is a cause worth fighting for, at least for the Fayette Mall. Hopefully, more businesses will follow this example set before them by CBL and the Mall of America.

The paradoxical statement that “people matter more than profits” benefits businesses as well as the communities housing them. One non-paradoxical statement will also benefit businesses and their communities: Fayette Mall will reopen at 6:00 a.m. the next day for Black Friday shopping.