July 29, 2014

Elyria
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Retailers report smaller, calmer crowds with Thanksgiving night openings

There were full parking lots and lots of traffic at Avon Commons as shoppers took advantage of Black Friday sales. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

There were full parking lots and lots of traffic at Avon Commons as shoppers took advantage of Black Friday sales. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

ELYRIA — The national decision to start Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving this year brought with it both controversy and in many retail outlets, calmer crowds.

“It was a complete game-changer,” JC Penny store supervisor Janine Welch said. Welch works at the JC Penny store in Elyria’s Midway Mall. She added that the decision to open doors for sales Thursday was a blessing for many customers who lined up outside of the store Thursday night.

“It was crazy. They lined up at the door. The customers loved it,” she said, adding that employees didn’t seem to mind working on the holiday. “Our company did a lot of fun things for associates.”

Some Black Friday shoppers said the extended day of sales did make for a less busy Friday. Joyce Thompson, who shopped at Sears in Midway Mall on Friday, said her husband went to stores Thursday evening and saw massive crowds waiting outside the mall.

“It doesn’t seem as crowded now,” Thompson said.

Despite smaller crowds Friday, many shoppers were disappointed in the early start to the national tradition.

Shoppers at Midway Mall walk to their cars after taking advantage of Black Friday sales. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

Shoppers at Midway Mall walk to their cars after taking advantage of Black Friday sales. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

“It’s a national holiday for a reason,” said Sarah Zimmerman, who with a friend, shopped at Kohl’s in Avon on Friday but refused to go Thursday night, out of respect for employees who had to work during the holiday.

Other shoppers agreed that employees should spend Thanksgiving with family and friends, rather than at work.

“Do it on Wednesday. That way, no one has to miss Thanksgiving,” said Vito Cammarata, a Midway Mall Best Buy shopper.

However, other customers appreciated how the Thursday start made for smaller Friday crowds.

“It’s less crowded now. It looks like a normal business day,” said Kevin Borges, who shopped at Best Buy in Midway Mall on Friday. Borges said the decision to start Black Friday on Thursday shouldn’t be surprising to employees. “When you apply to a place like Best Buy, you should expect it.”

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or amerriman@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaLMerriman.

  • stop ur whining

    my time is worth more than any black friday deal.

  • oldruss

    If opening up on Thanksgiving night “improved” the shopping experience, just think how much more improved it could be if the stores remained open all day on Thanksgiving.

  • mdr12372

    Most of the stores I went to on Friday were dead. I don’t understand the point of moving Black Friday to Thursday. Either way, people will spend money so why not leave Thanksgiving alone. Soon we all will be working on Thanksgiving, the kids in school. Thanksgiving will be a distant memory.