Black Friday shoppers prowl stores

MIKE KELLY The Marietta Times Shoppers leave the Marietta K-Mart as a Salvation Army worker rings his bell and a line of Christmas trees waits for buyers on Friday. The day has been in the past the first day of holiday shopping, but many stores started offering bargains well before Thanksgiving Day this year.

Black Friday has become a multi-day concept as the retail sales push has expanded across the clock and the calendar.

What was originally a holiday shopping kickoff that began in the wee hours of the morning the day after Thanksgiving has bled into adjacent parts of the week, with many retailers now open on Thanksgiving Day and some holding deep discount sales the entire week.

In Marietta, the Big Lots store was open from 8 a.m. to midnight Thursday, and store manager Mike Sprouse said business was brisk.

“I was here until 3:30 p.m. yesterday. I saw a lot of recliners going out the door,” he said.

Traffic held up Friday.

“Lots of people,” he said.

At Apex True Value Hardware on Pike Street, the store held a week-long sale around Thanksgiving and Black Friday, office manager Rita Stollar said.

“People have been big on tools, we had a really good price on drills,” she said. “It seems like it’s been steady, but we haven’t been overwhelmed.”

The store isn’t opening extra hours for the holiday shopping season, she said. Its regular hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

The Thanksgiving holiday weekend strategy adopted by Teri Ann Pfeffer and other downtown Marietta merchants is somewhat different.

Teri Ann’s, a boutique on Front Street, is holding a holiday open house this weekend, and most other stores are putting out the holiday welcome mat Saturday and Sunday.

“We’ve done this for several years, it’s a way to celebrate the holiday weekend,” she said. “We’ll have homemade refreshments, it’s our way of doing something special for our customers. We giving away a free poinsettia with each order.”

Locals and visitors tend to come downtown to relax after they’re done with shopping frenzies elsewhere, she said.

“There’s not a lot of traffic just yet,” she said late Friday morning. “Some have done early shopping in other locales, then they come downtown. They stroll with their families, have coffee or lunch, and do some shopping.”

Sunday is kickoff day for downtown holiday Sunday shopping, when stores open from 1 to 5 p.m., she said.

“There will be people downtown,” Pfeffer said. “They come to town to visit their families, and we’ve already seen some of them. They make it a point to come downtown and enjoy.”

But there are still Black Friday traditionalists despite the retail evolution.

On Friday morning, Joshua Hill from Beverly and his brother Nathan Hill from Lowell were unpacking an overloaded shopping cart after a successful foray into Lowe’s in Marietta.

They talked about the experience as they lifted several ladders, a big box of tools and other items into a pickup in the Lowe’s parking lot.

“We’re just looking for the best deals on construction stuff and things for around the house and the garage,”.Joshua said. “We do it every year. I would say we got about 50 percent off all this.

“We got these ladders and a big old toolkit,” he said, gesturing to a box bearing the message that it contained 227 pieces.

“Not a lot of crowds here, none of the rudeness you hear about,” he said. “We’re headed over to Parkersburg now, going to Rural King and maybe Walmart to get some toys for the kids.”

Stephanie and Jim Barnes, with their son Abel, from Belpre, were more in line with tradition, at least as it stands now. The family was headed into K-Mart in Marietta after a day of shopping on Thanksgiving Day.

“We started yesterday (Thursday) at 3 p.m.,” Stephanie said.

After checking flyers, they hit Kohl’s, Walmart, K-Mart and Lowe’s in Parkersburg. “Now were here,” she said.

Debby Boyd of Marietta hit J.C. Penney and Toys-R-Us before landing at the Marietta K-Mart.

“It’s not as busy this year, not as many deals,” she said. “But I haven’t been looking for anything big.”

Don and Darlene Harris of Marietta, loading a big box into their SUV in the K-Mart parking lot near dusk, said it was their first outing of the day. They were drawn by one particular deal there.

“We’re not your typical Black Friday shoppers,” Darlene said.

About Black


≤ Started: 1952.

≤ Name origin: Thought to be the day when retailers’ balance sheets began showing black ink instead of red.

≤ Has been the busiest shopping day of the year since 2005.

≤ First midnight openings: 2011.

≤ First Thanksgiving Day openings: 2012.

Source: International Council of Shopping Centers.