After digesting turkey, many shoppers were gearing up to hit the stores for major savings for Black Friday on Thursday with some local stores opening Thursday evening.
Local retailers such as Peebles and Walmart opened with deals starting at 8 p.m. Thursday. According to Peebles Manager Lynda Saez, opening on Thursday was to keep up with competitors.
"It was just us keeping up with the competition. It was great and everyone was wonderful," she said.
Tim Sullivan makes a purchase at the Paper Factory in Fredonia as Melissa Tardi works the register. Below, Nancy York helps customers at Kirk’s Jewelers in Dunkirk.
"We had huge lines with people waiting to get in."
While Peebles opened Thursday evening, they closed their doors at midnight and reopened early Friday morning with more people waiting in line, according to Saez. Shoppers were steady throughout the morning and early afternoon. JCPenney opened at 6 a.m. on Friday morning and also saw a steady flow of shoppers.
"Traffic was very well this morning," Manager Kevin Gavin said.
Black Friday may have lost some of its appeal with some stores opening on Thanksgiving evening.
Here are some facts on Black Friday from the Associated Press:
226 million shoppers took to stores last year.
$399 was the average spent by shoppers last year
According to Gavin, JCPenney's CEO Ron Johnson chose to not open on Thanksgiving because he wanted "associates to spend time with their family."
"Our associates were really appreciative of that," Gavin said.
Something new that JCPenney is offering are holiday buttons. Shoppers may receive up to two buttons per day through Dec. 24. On each button, which Gavin said have a "retro inspired theme," is a code that may be entered online to see if its a winner. Also new this year, was the elimination of "doorbusters" and having sales continue throughout the day.
"Customer feedback has been very positive about that," Gavin said. "Overall, we had a very busy day and customers had a great time shopping."
Another local business that decided against opening on Thanksgiving was the Paper Factory in Fredonia. According to owner Ann Mulkin, the stream of people was "good."
"We saw quite a few people," she said. "It was better than a normal Friday."
While the Paper Factory was open Friday, they did not open any earlier than usual. The store ran various specials on merchandise which will continue today. Mulkin said they opted to not open on Thursday to allow employees to spend time with their family.
"We feel that Thanksgiving is important, as far as a family holiday. To allow our employees to enjoy that with their family, we didn't open earlier," Mulkin said.
Customers in Walmart Thursday evening said the store was busy. Dunkirk resident Leslie Fafinski said it took 30 minutes to find a parking space and she waited over two hours in line for a TV.
"I didn't think there was going to be as many people there at the Fredonia Walmart as there were," she said.
Another resident said she saw people camped out for great deals at Walmart.
"I saw one guy sitting in a camping chair who had found the spot for the TV sale. He had been sitting at the front of the line in his chair since 5 p.m. waiting," Rebekah Barr of Dunkirk said.
While Saez said Peebles did well opening on Thursday, she said it was too early to say if opening on Thursday will become an annual event.
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