‘A really good day’

Published 5:11 pm Saturday, November 29, 2008

FRANKLIN—“Black Friday” sounds like something sinister, a day of dread.

But local retailers had hope, not dread, on their minds as the day after Thanksgiving — the busiest shopping day of the year and a boon to retailers — progressed into the afternoon. Store owners and managers at businesses both large and small were anxious about how they would fare this year in a bad economy.

So far, so good.

“It’s been going great,” said Wal-Mart manager Kevin Hudgins. “We had a really good day, really good morning. One of the best mornings that I’ve seen in a long time.”

Lisa Outland, manager of Belk department store, was also upbeat.

“Today has been great, it’s been very good,” Outland said. “We’ve had a steady flow of customers. We’ve had momentary lapses sometimes when people may be taking a break, people taking lunches. It slowed up, but it picks right back up. We’ve been going strong ever since 5 a.m. this morning.”

Downtown stores were optimistic as well.

“I’ve had a few great days,” said Mary Brady, owner of Brady’s Jewel Box. “Today I’ve had two customers so far, and it seems to be brightening up. We’re just hoping that the downtown is going to support us, the out-of-town and in-town people. We’re hoping and we’re looking on the very positive side.”

Stan Rich, owner of Southampton Antiques, said he had sold about $850 worth of antique signs by Friday afternoon.

Business was “doing fine,” Rich said. “A lot of people have come in from out of the area, which is good. Right now, so far, so good. Hopefully business will continue doing what it’s doing. If we do, everything will be kind of on schedule with last year and the year before. Hopefully things will stay right now where they are until Christmas.”

The Peanut Patch in Courtland wasn’t having a specific Black Friday sale, but that didn’t stop people from pouring in to spend money.

“We always have a big day on this day,” said saleswoman Ann Marie Brotzman.

The same was true for Debbie Daughtery of New Life Resale Boutique in downtown Franklin, whose shop was crammed Friday morning with people stocking up on sweaters and winter clothes.

Mary-Ann Turner, owner of Southern Charm Garden Center on Armory Drive, slashed prices on wind chimes and offered deals on fresh Christmas trees, which resulted in plenty of shoppers.

“We’ve had more people in today than we’ve had all week,” Turner said.

Intangibles also helped local merchants. Hudgins said a power outage hit the Wal-Mart store in Suffolk, about 30 miles away, on Friday morning and lasted for about 20 to 30 minutes.

“So a lot of people came to Franklin,” Hudgins said. “More money for Franklin.”