Local stores report strong turnout for early Black Friday sales
BY BRYCE KELLY and KARYN SPORY
Mt. Pleasant News
Whether they were dedicated pre-planners or just shopping enthusiasts perusing the aisles for a good sale, locals certainly turned out in good numbers to get their Christmas shopping started early Thanksgiving Day.
“We actually had a higher customer flow last night through our 6 p.m. pre-Black Friday sale than we had last year,” said Mt. Pleasant Wal-Mart Supercenter manager, Chad Sloat, who reported crowds came in the store steadily throughout Thursday night. “Many of our customers had good things to say about our sale, which we are very proud of.”
In terms of toys for little ones, it seemed as though Paw Patrol brand items and Hatchimals by Spin Master Toys were hot toys this year at the Supercenter.
As always, electronics and gaming systems were also popular gifts for the older names on most shopping lists.
“The Hatchimals were our number one requested item this year - even before our sale,” Sloat said. “We also had a certain type of trampoline that went really fast, and we had some giant plush bears that were gone in about two minutes. Those just flew out of here really quickly.”
For local outdoorsman, Rick Smithburg, he says he wasn’t on the lookout for Christmas gifts for his family quite yet, but rather a few items for himself during Wal-Mart’s early Black Friday sale.
“I’m just here to look for some stuff for when I go hunting,” said Smithburg. “I never Black Friday shop, but this year I had some free time and thought I’d just come look around to see if there were any good deals going on, and I found a few things I’d like.”
According to Smithburg, he said he didn’t mind stores being open for business on Thanksgiving, saying it’s ultimately every individual shopper’s choice to patronize Thanksgiving Day sales, or stay home.
Among a dozen or so individuals lining up at Peebles on Thursday, in Mt. Pleasant, for the store’s noon opening was Karynda Mangold, who insisted it benefited her schedule to get in early on holiday sales Thanksgiving Day.
“Everyone else is still at home, so I thought I could come and do this fast,” Mangold said, who was on the hunt for Peebles’ shoe deals. “It (early sales) helps some people. I’m a nurse, and I work Black Friday so I can have Christmas off to be with my kids. Christmas is just a bigger deal in my house than Thanksgiving is.”
And although many stores locally decided to open on Thanksgiving, employees at Sound Advice were given the holiday off, and store manager Kevin Perron says he doesn’t plan on changing that.
“We’ve never opened on Thanksgiving Day,” Perron said simply. “It’s a holiday and it’s a time to be with family.”
Despite keeping their store on Mt. Pleasant’s Main Street closed on Thursday, Sound Advice was open bright and early on Black Friday. According to Perron, hot ticket items in the world of electronics this year are drones, and any electronic device with Bluetooth capabilities is also very desirable amongst consumers this holiday season.
“Drones especially are pretty popular right now,” he said. “Especially drones that you don’t have to have a license to operate, and we do carry those.”
Despite the high turnout rate of shoppers Thursday and Friday, stores like Wal-Mart say that shoppers remained patient and courteous throughout the bustle and hustle.
“Much like last year, there was a very safe shopping experience for our customers to enjoy. At the end of the day, maintaining a safe environment for our customers to shop in is always our goal,” Sloat reported. “Everything seemed to go very smoothly, and we are very thankful to our customers for that.”