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Black Friday gold

Rikki Richards, a Sutherlands employee, checks out merchandise that Julie Price picked up during a day long sale at the store on Friday. Black Friday has become a shopping tradition for many people.

By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate publisher

Nationally the trend on Black Friday (the shopping day after Thanksgiving) looked to be all about cash. Some said things were down, others up.

Locally, regardless of how people spent, it looked very good for a number of retailers in the Price area.

"We opened at 4 a.m. and that's six hours ago," said Sutherlands manager Wayne Clausing as he sat in his office watching the lumber counter line of shoppers grow. "We have already done more business in that few hours than we did all day last year on Black Friday."

And so it was across town. Retailers said they were either doing better or at least as well as last year.

"It's been very good," said J.C. Penny manager Leslie Childs, who was standing behind a counter in the downtown Price store just before 11 a.m. on Friday morning. "When we opened at 5 a.m. there was a line at the front door that stretched down the street. I don't know our exact numbers but I know we are up dollar wise from last year."

It seemed early, early morning opening or not, many businesses in town were doing well on what is traditionally one of the busiest shopping days of the year. At Beall's in Creekview Shopping Center, many cars were in the lot and the store lines were long. People also seemed in a happy mood, many smiling and joking, despite the wait.

"We have been really busy," said an employee at Sears on Carbon Avenue. "I think it is about the same as last year."

Whether to open really early, or just somewhat early has been a dilemma for many businesses over the years. The crowds at stores like Walmart and K-Mart are legend, and some store owners and managers have often wondered whether it was worth the trouble.

"The first couple of years we were open in Price I wondered if it would be worth it," said Clausing. "I drove by Pennys one early morning on the day after Thanksgiving and didn't see many people there. But then I started to think about it and said to myself "What could we lose by trying it?"

Clausing said that once they had done it they could see the success and have continued it.

Stores in the area opened as early as 4 a.m. with others opening at 5, 6 and 7 a.m. for extended hours. To avoid the crush at the door that has happened before, Walmart opened the store basically all night to customers, but the cash registers were closed until 5 a.m. and then people could actually buy what they wanted.

All in all it seemed to be a good day for many merchants as the holiday shopping seaon was kicked off.




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