Closing a Web Site for the Sabbath

By Deane Barker on May 5, 2009

Why Circuit City Failed, and Why B&H Thrives: Spolsky gushes over an electronics store called B&H, and mentions this interesting tidbit:

[…] the most amazing thing is that because the owners of B&H are Orthodox Jews — Hasidim, in fact — the store closes every Friday afternoon for the Jewish Sabbath, and on Jewish holidays. Moreover, B&H’s website, which reportedly accounts for 70 percent of sales, shuts down, too. is, to my knowledge, the only major online retailer that closes for 25 hours every weekend.

Their Web site closed in observation of their religious beliefs. That’s fascinating. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered that before.



  1. The site doesn’t ‘close.’ An alert is displayed telling visitors that orders will not be processed until a certain time. I found it strange and a little annoying at first. Now I barely notice, and it’s nice to know how shipping times will be affected.

  2. As a frequent B&H shopper, I’ve seen that notice a lot. It’s never bothered me. The also close for a longer period (a week?) for a religious holiday at another point in the year. I think Adorama might do the same thing.

  3. B&H has a great site. It informs customers about upcoming “down” times. (As Aaron said, it’s not really down anymore. It just won’t let you order. You can still put items in your basket. One of the first iterations was actually down.) Ya gotta respect a group of people who do business without conflicting with their beliefs.

    I plan my purchases around when B&H is open for business rather than going elsewhere. They’re that good. And if anything goes wrong, they have a senior customer liaison, Henry, that actively participates in several photo online communities. He has for years. I remember him on CompuServe when 1200 baud was blazingly fast.

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