Bargains, service draw shoppers to local stores on Black Friday

Published 6:17 pm Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday brought out a large number of early shoppers all across the state.

However, the Iron Bowl was expected to herd people home around noon but Scherr Qualls, owner of Douglas Bros. Jewelry & Gift Mart in downtown Troy, said neither Black Friday nor the Iron Bowl affected the way he conducts business on the day after Thanksgiving.

“It’s business as usual for me,” Qualls said, with a smile. “This what I do to make a living so Douglas Bros. in open for business as usual.”

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Qualls said most of those who join the shopping frenzy on Black Friday are looking for good buys on electronics and toys to put under the Christmas tree.”

“A lot of the jewelry business is men looking for that special gift for that special person in their lives,” he said. “And, men, being men, wait until the last two weeks to do that kind of shopping. But Douglas Bros. does have a sale on Black Friday to encourage people to shop downtown Troy.”

Douglas Bros. was buzzing with activity during its sale hours Friday morning. Frances Davis was in the store with two of her granddaughters.

“The way we Christmas shop these days is different,” Davis said. “We give the grandchildren money on Thanksgiving Day to spend for exactly what they want. So, we don’t have anything to take back or exchange.”

The fun then is twofold, as the grandchildren like for grandmother to go shopping with them – at the jewelry store – and they were having a lot of fun shopping “at home” on Black Friday.

“Last year, Lauren found a cross that she liked here a Douglas Bros. and this year Emma is looking seriously at a ring she likes,” Davis said. “We are having fun.”

And, just up the street at The Pink Parlor, Tyler Rutland was “tagging along” with is friend, Emy Manghan, who was shopping for a “game day dress.”

They had shopped first in Dothan and then in Ozark before finding the right crimson dress at The Pink Parlor.

Juliette Adams, owner of The Pink Parlor, said Black Friday is a good day at her shop.

“I’m open on Black Friday because it’s a good day for business but it’s also a way to keep tax dollars in Pike County,” she said. “Keeping tax dollars at home helps us keep our schools, hospital and businesses running effectively and our services among the best.”

Adams said that, in an effort to keep tax dollars at home during the shopping season, most of the businesses on the downtown square will have sales until Christmas.

“We invite everyone to visit the downtown square and see what’s on sale,” she said. “And, I’d like to encourage all Pike Countians to shop at home this Christmas season. When you do, we all benefit.”

Nationally, early indicators showed a robust sales day.

Bargain shoppers, braving rain or frigid weather, crowded the nation’s stores in the wee hours of the night to get their hands on deals from TVs to toys on Black Friday.

Early signs pointed to bigger crowds at many stores including Best Buy, Sears, and Toys R Us for the traditional start to the holiday shopping season.

In an encouraging sign for retailers and for the economy, more shoppers appeared to be buying for themselves than last year, when such indulgences were limited. Lengthened hours that pushed some store openings into Thanksgiving also appeared to pay off.

Toys R Us, which drew in shoppers with 50 percent discounts on such toys as Buzz Lightyear and Barbies, was counting on getting an extra boost by opening 24 hours straight, starting at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

Still, analysts monitoring stores said many people were paying with cash and were focused, doing plenty of research before venturing out.

“Where there are bargains, there are people looking to gobble them up,” said Marshal Cohen, chief analyst for market research firm NPD. “The consumer is still very calculated.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.