Some Richmond County residents elected to wait until later in the day dreading the crowds and clamor of Black Friday.
“It’s just too crazy for me,” Shannon Davenport explained as she walked from Belk’s to J.C. Penney’s at Richmond Plaza Shopping Center around noon Friday. “You can go online and get the same deals, and you can wait until later in the day and get what you need.”
The risk of an altercation over a moderately priced flat-screen television at a corporate big box store wasn’t enough to keep everyone in bed to sleep off the turkey calories Friday, though.
When Belk’s workers began to arrive just before 3 a.m., more than 200 shoppers had already lined up for some after Thanksgiving deals.
“It has been absolutely fantastic,” Belk’s Manager Stephen Marshburn said Thursday morning. “We had 250 gift certificates, and we gave them out in about eight minutes, and there must have been 50 or more people standing behind them in line.”
Electronics are a hot item this year, Marshburn said, with his store selling out of GPS navigators, digital cameras and other items.
“Then, you have the traditional gifts, like men’s sweaters and slacks and women’s accessories - jewelry,” he continued. “Outerwear has been very popular this year - you’re coats, gloves and hats - really, anything that’s cold weather-related.”
Several storefronts down at Richmond Plaza Shopping Center, Jennifer’s Jewelry and Gifts owner Jennifer Wrenn was encouraged by the amount of business she picked up from the two major department stores.
This was her first Black Friday and the plaza shopping center, after relocating her business there from Long Drive about four months ago.
“I love being over, it’s a big improvement,” she said. “I’m thrilled with the turnout today.”
At J.C. Penney’s, it was another strong Black Friday in a row. At about 11 a.m., store manager Terry Greene was too busy with customers to evaluate the store’s overall performance.
“It’s been a very good day - a very strong day,” he said at 1 p.m. “We had people lined up at the door prior to opening, and we had some great deals for them once they got in here.”
Greene said small appliances and luggage were hot gift items in the home and decorations department; pea coats, high boots and women’s apparel were hot in the women’s department; and athletic shoes and jeans dominated men’s wear sales.
“We’ve had a great time interacting with our customers, and we hope they had a great time shopping with us,” Greene said. “I know they got some great deals.”
He added his thanks to customers who shopped at home rather than making a trip out-of-town on Black Friday.
Staff Writer Philip D. Brown can be reached at (910) 997-3111 ext. 32, or by e-mail at email@example.com.