By Terri Ferguson Smith / firstname.lastname@example.org
The Meridian Star
Area retailers have a message for Black Friday shoppers: They're ready for you.
Somer Moore, back office lead at Best Buy in Meridian, said the store is busy preparing for the busiest shopping day of the year.
"We will have customers who come in on Thanksgiving night that start lining up. As they are standing in line, we'll have tickets to give out to them for the quantities of items that are door-buster deals," Moore said.
This isn't her first time to the dance.
"This will be my fifth one. It's chaos, but it's organized chaos the way that we do it," she said. "We only let a certain amount of people through the doors at one time. We do have security guards who maintain the crowd. While it is really crazy in the store, we do make sure we have a safe environment for everyone to shop in. It's exciting."
Best Buy will open at midnight on Friday.
Tina Crouch, manager of Belk Department Store said they expect big crowds and lots of sales — particularly boot sales.
"We're planning on selling 30,000 pairs of boots for the day after," Crouch said.
"We're sizing it all out to make it easier for the customer to find the size and the style they want. This would probably be the biggest work load area for preparing for DAT," (Day After Thanksgiving).
Belk also has 330 early bird specials that will be on sale from midnight until 1 p.m. on Friday. Those are the lowest priced items. The store will also have gift cards, ranging from $5 to $100 that will be given to the first 250 customers who enter through the Men's Department entrance. One person will win a $1,000 Belk gift card.
"I've been with Belk for 17 years so I've been through a lot of Black Fridays," Crouch said. "This is my first one in this store. I'm new to Meridian so this is a new experience for me. It's a fun day and that's what we have to remember. Yes, it's crazy and hectic, but it's a lot of fun and I'm excited about meeting the new customers coming in."
The store will open at midnight tonight (Friday morning).
Ladonna Cole, a cashier at Sears, said the store is ready for the day after Thanksgiving.
"We have a lot of merchandise out and we've got it all stocked up. We've got the floors full," Cole said. "This is going to be my first Black Friday. This is my first time in retail so I'm excited."
Cole said she's preparing by planning to get as much sleep as possible today.
"I'm just going to be ready. I love competition," Cole said. "I love being prepared for things. I love my job."
Sears will open at 8 a.m. on Friday.
Breanne Logan, sales associate in cosmetics at Dillard's, said she looking forward to the day as a retailer and as a shopper.
"We've already started with the Christmas decor to get their attention," Logan said. "We're getting all of our gift-wrapping paper in. We're overstocking with gift sets in all departments. We're bumping up the visual."
It's her first time to work in retail on Black Friday.
"I'm thinking about crowds, crowds, crowds, but I'm excited," Logan said.
For tired shoppers, or those who wish to avoid the crowds of shoppers on Friday, Logan suggests a spa treatment. She said to schedule an appointment, call 601-482-8929.
Since she doesn't have to be at work until 1 p.m. on Friday, Logan said she's looking forward to doing some shopping herself.
"I'm so excited. I'll put my shoes on and I'll get in the crowd," Logan said. "I love Black Friday."
Dillards will open at 7 a.m.
Cristen Sullivan, store manager at Kirkland's, said the store and its employees are ready.
"Some of the best things that we do is hiring the best people to be in the right place so our customers have a great experience when they come. We have huge big fun sales that come out and it's a secret until the night before," Sullivan said. "We schedule a lot of fun contests for our team so that stressful day is really enjoyable."
It's the biggest day of the year for Kirkland's, as it is for most retailers. Sullivan explained the history of the term, Black Friday.
"Historically, most businesses operate in the red, owing money so to speak, until this day and it gained its name because this is the beginning of the Christmas shopping season and everybody moves into the black, so to speak, with being well-balanced in their books. Kirkland's doesn't do that. We always operate in the black, but that's where it came from."
Ben Boyd, store manager for Hibbett Sports said getting the right amount of people to work is crucial.
"The biggest thing we have to do right now is scheduling," Boyd said. "Scheduling is critical during this time to make sure your customers are taken care of."
And the store is well-stocked, he said.
"We've been getting 200-box shipments for the past three weeks so we'll have plenty of merchandise and pretty much everything in the store will be on sale to some degree," Boyd said.
This will be his seventh Black Friday to work in retail.
"It's really not as bad as what people say because we're open up for so long," Boyd said. "After about 12 o'clock it kind of spaces out so it's not so hectic. It feels like a normal day after 12 or 1 o'clock."
Hibbett Sports will open at 4 a.m. on Friday.
Penyetta Crowell, a mall customer on Tuesday, said she plans to shop on Black Friday, but this is her first time to do so. She hopes to find bargains. As to when she will hit the stores?
"Not early, like the rest of the people. Probably I'll get here in the evening," Crowell said.
Jermaine Lewis also plans to be out on Black Friday.
"I'll get there about nine," Lewis said. "I can't be out there at four or five o'clock. That's too much."
Lewis said he'll be looking for gifts.
"Anything I can catch because you know, pretty much, on Black Friday everything will be going quick."
Jeremy Watson will be looking for clothes and gifts, but he too will skip the early, early crowd.
"This will be my first time for Black Friday," Watson said.