Stores gear up, get excited for Black Friday

Published 10:40 pm Monday, November 21, 2011

Stores in Suffolk are preparing themselves this week for the annual influx of customers on the day after Thanksgiving.

At the Walmart on North Main Street, shift manager Richard Claiborne said, the management has hired several extra workers to be on the floor for Black Friday.

He said having plenty of associates to help customers is critical when trying to have a safe and successful day.

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“We are making sure there are plenty of associates to help direct traffic and make sure people have the knowledge of where they need to go,” Claiborne said. “You have to make sure you are organized. You have to make sure (customers) can get to it without any hassle or inconvenience.”

Both of Suffolk’s Walmart stores will start their Black Friday savings at 10 p.m. Thanksgiving night, and more specials will begin at midnight and 8 a.m.

“We have great deals always,” Claiborne said. “There’s a great ad (this year).”

Claiborne said he encourages customers to choose Walmart for Black Friday shopping because in addition to having deals of its own, the store will match any specials from other stores.

“We match everything, item for item,” he said.

Across the street, Belk is opening at 3 a.m. to offer specials to early risers on Black Friday.

“We have 285 early bird specials,” said store manager Lisa Outland.

In addition to morning specials that end at 1 p.m., the store is also giving the first 250 customers gift cards that have values varying from $5 to $1,000.

Outland said the store hired extra staff earlier in the season to ensure they are ready to handle the crowds, and Belk wants to create a “pleasant, comfortable environment” for its shoppers, so all customers enjoy themselves and no one gets hurt.

“We’re keeping everything exciting but low-key, so everyone is safe,” she said.

In North Suffolk, many of the Harbour View East stores also are opening extra early for shoppers.

Both Kohl’s and rue21, which is new to the shopping center, are opening at midnight.

Rue21 manager Michelle Davidson said all of the company’s locations are opening early, and she hopes customers stopping by Kohl’s decide to visit her store for sales.

“Everything is buy one, get one half off,” she said.

Because rue21 opened recently, Davidson said, the store didn’t do extra holiday hiring and she feels confident her associates will be ready for the big day.

“We pretty much just opened, so we have a full staff,” she said.

Also in the Harbour View shopping center, OfficeMax, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Bed Bath & Beyond are opening at 5 a.m., and two hours later, T.J. Maxx and PetSmart will open.

PetSmart manager Glenn Ellis said while pet stores might not be the first thing people think of on Black Friday, PetSmart locations do a lot of extra business that day.

Ellis said PetSmart’s big selling items on Black Friday are usually holiday-themed toys and supplies as well as more expensive items.

“We sell a lot of beds and crates,” he said.

For his store’s first Black Friday, he said, he hopes the traffic from Walmart and the other big stores in the center will filter over to PetSmart.

“We’ve really got some stores that are a draw for Black Friday,” he said. “It brings a lot more people to the shopping center.”

Ellis added, “I think it’s going to be a good day.”

For information on the rest of the Black Friday deals, visit the stores’ websites.