By Melanie Patterson
North Jefferson News
NORTH JEFFERSON —
Black Friday shoppers were out in force this year, and north Jefferson was no exception.
The traditional kickoff to the Christmas shopping season — day after Thanksgiving — always features big sales and plenty of hype to get shoppers into stores.
The area’s largest shopping mecca, the Promenade Shopping Center in Fultondale, saw crowds and sales that easily met those of last year. Many retailers saw increases.
“It was what we had expected, what we had hoped for,” said Rebecca Conner, associate manager at Maurices. “We were one of the stores that didn’t open at midnight, but it was a really good day. We had steady traffic, up from our normal pace.”
Maurices opened at 7 a.m. on Black Friday, but Conner said the crowds didn’t hit until an hour later.
“I was expecting a massive amount of people at 7 a.m.,” she said. “I have worked Black Friday in retail for many years. Usually we’re slammed that early.”
But she said the fact that many other stores in the shopping center opened at midnight on Thursday impacted early morning sales at other businesses.
But at 8 o’clock, the store started getting busy.
“Customers said they were shopping late last night, and they took a nap and came back in,” Conner said. “It was great. We did very well. We made our sales goal. Customers were sleepy, but happy.”
In Gardendale, Walmart also had a good day, according to manager Mike Chandler.
“Turnout was good. We had a good sale,” Chandler said. He said the crowds were especially large at the store’s first two sales, which were at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.
He said the most popular items on shoppers’ lists were small appliances, televisions, electronics, bedding and towels.
Most smaller businesses didn’t get bombarded with customers the way big stores did, but many of them report a good day, as well.
Tanya Cornelius, who owns Tanya’s Boutique in Warrior and Tanya’s Gaudy Girls in Gardendale, said her stores had a good day on Friday.
Merle Norman in Gardendale also had a busy day, according to owner Marguerite Craft.
“Usually small shops like us don’t get big business like the bigger stores, but we did have a good sales day,” Craft said. “We did better than last year. I’m glad about that.”
Meanwhile, local police departments said there were no unusual incidents this weekend related to Black Friday.
“It was pretty quiet for us,” said Gardendale Police Chief Mike Walker. “There was nothing out of the ordinary for Black Friday.”
Officer T. Cornner said Fultondale was also uneventful on Friday, except for much more traffic than usual.
“It was busy but not anything major,” Cornner said.