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Shopping weekend loses chaos

Shopping weekend loses chaos

December 1st, 2013 in News

Victoria Salenski checks out a customer of Downtown Book and Toy during Small Business Saturday. Salenski, who has worked at the Jefferson City store for about 5 months, said the day had been busier than normal thanks to patrons shopping to support local business in the community.

Photo by Katie Alaimo/News Tribune

Tomorrow's Cyber Monday will bring the biggest shopping weekend of the year to a close.

With the onset of Black Friday shopping on Thanksgiving this year, the feeling of this year's shopping madness was different.

Many stores opened their doors Thursday evening and didn't close again until Friday night, but others opened early Friday morning.

Radio Shack opened Friday at 8 a.m. to a line of more than two dozen shoppers. Menards opened at 6 a.m., and had checkout lines that stretched back to the pet aisles. Target's lines stretched to the food section.

In addition to Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping, Saturday marked Small Business Saturday. Many sales continue today, and online retailers will offer some sales online tomorrow only for Cyber Monday.

Cindy Ottman, assistant store manager at the Sears at Capital Mall, said Friday she thinks stores opening Thanksgiving evening, instead of the early morning hours Friday, gave people time to spread out their shopping.

"This year people aren't grumpy," she said. "I've been here 18 years and this has by far been the best one (Black Friday)."

She said she had noticed a good feeling in the air Thursday night and Friday morning.

"To me, that means so much," She said. "We're feeling it."

Ron Summers, manager of MC Sports, mirrored Ottman's enthusiasm. He dressed up in a Santa costume for the store's 4 a.m. Friday opening.

"It's been pleasant," he said. "With the expanded hours, we had that initial hit and then the crowds spread out more."

He said people had been purchasing the more miscellaneous, bigger-ticket items, such as kayaks, basketball goals and camping gear.

Ottman said many people at Sears were purchasing electronics and snowblowers.

She said her Black Friday experience bodes well for the rest of the holiday shopping season.

Many local retailers say this holiday season not only promises good cheer, but also decent profits.

"I think it will be better than last year but it will be close," said Jill Bednar, owner of the downtown Southbank Gift Company. "We generally increase every year."

She said her business makes 40 percent of sales during the fourth quarter, the holiday season.

Since Thanksgiving was a week later this year, Bednar said she compensated by offering Christmas merchandise and playing Christmas tunes earlier in the year than usual.

"We extended the selling season hoping to make up for the short time between Thanksgiving and Christmas," she said. "It's a time crunch in December."

Carrie Carroll, owner of Carrie's Hallmark, acknowledged the implication of holiday sales for her business.

Though she has seen excellent sales early in the shopping season, she predicts holiday profits to be "pretty much the same as last year."

"I have no reason to believe it won't be," Carroll said.

For Susie Hinds, owner of The Schaefer House, the month of December is crucial for the annual profits of her business.

"The fourth quarter is bread and butter," Hinds said. "Everyone's spending. You do what you can to add additional traffic."

She said she's hopeful.

"Retailers are always hopeful," she said. "We wouldn't be in this business if we weren't hopeful."

Accompanying photos:

Victoria Salenski checks out a customer

Cindy Cook and her daughter Amanda

Michelle Brooks contributed to this report.