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Retailers relish Black Friday

By Staff
Determined shoppers out early as they hunt for bargains everywhere
By CLAUD HODGES
Senior Reporter
With 31 shopping days until Christmas, Washington merchants may wish each of those days will be like Friday, a day when cash registers were ringing.
The post-Thanksgiving shopping frenzy on Black Friday is anticipated by the retail industry.
Stewart said “a shopper was at the door” when she arrived at the store Friday morning.
Billy Jefferson, owner of Big Bargain Furniture in downtown Washington, said he is selling rocking chairs, recliners, jewelry armoires and gliding rockers for Christmas. Jefferson said his “big-ticket items” like sofas, beds, mattresses, appliances and tables usually do not sell at Christmas as they do other times of the year.
Washington’s Wal-Mart was having “a great day” said Danielle Palmer, assistant manager of the store, on Friday afternoon.
While the Washington Wal-Mart is open 24 hours a day, some additional employees come in to work at 4 a.m. “to be ready to handle” the influx of customers, Palmer said.
Palmer said sales were moving along “way better than last year” and the store was performing “over margin.”
Deborah Wright with Blythe House in downtown Washington said her customers like the one-on-one care she provides them as they shop.
As for the “big boys” among the retailers in Greenville, Wright said she could not see them having advantages over Washington merchants. That’s because Washington has many one-owner shops that “attract a certain customer” who wants the warm welcome and good assistance found in Washington, she said.
During her time as a retailer, Benthall said, business at her store has consistently been better the Saturday after Thanksgiving. She believes that’s the case because many shoppers visit the larger retail stores on Black Friday.
Other downtown merchants agreed.
Will Mayo, spokesman for Tassel’s in downtown Washington, said he thought “people were going to the big stores early” for sales before coming to “the independent, smaller stores” for special Christmas items.
At the Goody’s in Washington, manager Kim Beacham said sales on black Friday were “great.” Beacham said some shoppers came to Goody’s because there were specific incentives offered during specific times they visited the store.
At Amy’s Hallmark in Washington, Laurie Dawson, manager, said business was “real steady during the day.”
Vanessa Freeman, assistant manager at Friedman’s Jewelry in Washington, said an early bird special attracted shoppers and that sales were “very good.”