November 30, 2013

Thursday openings don’t diminish Black Friday

Charles Oliver

— Shannon Kelley knew exactly what she wanted.

“Bows and arrows. That’s all my little girl has been asking for since she saw ‘The Hunger Games,’” Kelley said. “She wanted them since she saw the first movie last year, but we thought she was a little young then.”

Kelley and other shoppers packed Academy Sports and Outdoors Friday looking for Christmas gifts and bargains.

Store Director Shane Nelson said many of those shoppers were looking for archery equipment.

“Those (‘Hunger Games’) movies have definitely boosted the popularity of archery and archery equipment. We saw that last year,” he said.

Like many local stores, Academy had special hours for Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, traditionally one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

“We opened at 5 this morning, but employees got here at 4 or earlier,” Nelson said.

Crowds were already waiting when the doors opened, but by mid-afternoon the parking lot was still packed and the store still bustling with shoppers.

“It has been busy all day,” Nelson said. “People are looking for gifts. We are selling a lot of apparel, a lot of toys. People are buying for all ages. They are also buying for their pets.”

While some stores opened early Friday morning, Walnut Square Mall and many of the stores there kicked off their Black Friday by opening at 8 on Thanksgiving night. Yet by mid-afternoon Friday, the parking lot was still quite full and shoppers crowded the mall.

“I thought about coming out (Thursday) night,” said Dalton’s Marilyn Higgs. “I know people who did, but I was just too tired. I did get up early this morning though.”

Higgs said she had started in Chattanooga and worked her way back to Dalton and Walnut Square Mall.

“I’m looking for clothes for my kids and toys. I’ve picked up a couple of pairs of shoes for myself,” she said.

Don Hyatt, of Chatsworth, was sitting and resting while his wife continued to shop.

“We’ve already had a pretty big day, but we’ve also got quite a bit of what we had planned to buy for Christmas bought. We found some really good bargains. But you wonder why they can’t sell things as cheap every other day,” he said.