Merchants prepared for Black Friday rush

Published 7:05 pm Thursday, November 22, 2018

Area merchants are prepared for the onslaught of Black Friday customers today —and through the weekend.

“We’ll have a couple extra people on hand on Friday and Saturday. Of course, Saturdays is Shop Small, we kind of roll it all together,” said Russell Smith, owner of Russell’s Men Shop in downtown Washington and a veteran downtown merchant. “It’s usually a really good weekend. The weather’s going to be beautiful. We’re anticipating a really big weekend.”

In anticipation of a large volume of customers, Smith has been making sure he’s got plenty of merchandises on hand.

“We are packed and jammed and we are still ordering stuff every day. About this time of year, people start honing in on certain things. I can find out what’s going to be really hot for the season. We go back and keep filling in. There are several items that we buy every week to stay stock,” Smith said. “We’re still getting stuff every day where we keep filling in.”

Things are about the same next door at Nauti Life, where owner Gennia Weatherington and her employees are expecting plenty of customers today and Saturday. “We’ve been getting our last-minute ordering in. We’ll have extra staff available and ready to go on Friday and Saturday because Small Business Saturday is actually a littler bigger for us than Black Friday. They (customers) shop at Wal-Mart and Target and that sort of thing on Black Friday,” Weatherington said. “We’ll have extra staff. We’ll have plenty of merchandise. We’ll have free gift wrapping. We’ll be ready to go.”

For some merchants, the day before Thanksgiving and Black Friday prove profitable and busy. At Rachel K’s Bakery on Wednesday afternoon, tables and carts were piled high with pies, cakes, pastries and breads ready to be picked up for enjoyment during Thanksgiving and the holiday weekend. Customers who had not pre-ordered their baked goods and other items stood in a long line as they perused display cases to determine what goodies they would buy and take home … or to grandma’s home.

Folks in one North Carolina city — Charlotte — apparently take their Black Friday shopping seriously. The SouthPark area of the Queen City is the most-heavily trafficked area of the United States on Black Friday, according to WNCN and WBTV television stations in Charlotte.

A High Point University Poll found 31 percent of North Carolinians plan to shop today. Fifty-nine percent of the people polled said they will not shop on Black Friday this year. When North Carolinians do shop for the holidays, they are split as to whether they plan to do most of their shopping at brick-and-mortar stores (25 percent) or online (35 percent). An additional 25 percent of respondents say they will do both with equal frequency, according to the poll.

Black Friday shopping does not necessarily mean going to malls or downtown shopping areas, according to the poll. “The percentage shopping on actual Black Friday has increased, but that does not necessarily mean they will spend less time with their family,” says Dr. Daniel Hall, chairman and associate professor in HPU’s economics department. “Many Black Friday shoppers may do so online on the couch with their family.”

This year, Black Friday shoppers are projected to spend an average of $472 per shopper, online and in-store, among those surveyed by

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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