Shoppers take advantage of holiday bargains

Published 10:49 am Saturday, November 28, 2009

FRANKLIN—Richetta Morris hit the stores hours before the sun rose Friday, hoping to take advantage of Black Friday deals.

She wasn’t disappointed.

“There were excellent sales,” Morris, of Ahoskie, N.C., said.

“I had a nice time,” she said as she left the Belk department store in Franklin Friday afternoon. Morris’ day started at 4 a.m. in Roanoke Rapids, N.C. While she was pleased with the discounts, Morris said it seemed like fewer people were shopping.

“I didn’t see as many people as last year,” she said. Belk, Morris said, was her last stop of the day — about 11 hours after she started shopping.

“I’m done,” she said with a smile.

Local retailers were pleased with Friday’s turnout.

“I felt that it would be a good day and it has been,” said Lisa Outland, the manager at Belk. She said the store opened at 4 a.m. Friday, and gift cards were given to the first 250 customers.

“We got rid of them in less than two hours,” she said of the gift cards.

Outland said everything “went pretty good,” and the store had seen steady traffic all day. Despite the problems with job losses, Tim Rice, the store manager at Lowes in Franklin, said business was “up a little bit” from last year.

“I was expecting it to be the same as last year or a little less, but we’re actually trending up,” he said Friday afternoon.

Kevin Insull, who manages the Schewel Furniture Co. store in Franklin, said he was “pleasantly surprised” with business Friday.

“It’s one of the best days we’ve had in several months,” he said.

Stores along Armory Drive weren’t the only ones offering deals Friday. Trinkets & Treasures, located on Main Street in downtown Franklin, was also offering special sales to draw in customers.

“It was a little better than average,” said Wydia Kearney, the store’s senior volunteer, of Friday’s crowd.

Retailers said that they’re hoping to maintain the momentum from Black Friday throughout the whole season.

“I hope we do well,” Insull said. “We’ll see what happens.”

Despite the news that International Paper Co. will be closing its Franklin mill, retailers said shoppers seemed to be in good spirits.

“I’m glad people are still positive,” Outland said.