Stillwater News Press

Local News

November 24, 2011

Black Friday nearly pushes into Thursday in Stillwater

STILLWATER, Okla. — It seems every year Black Friday creeps closer into Thanksgiving, but this year many shoppers will be freshly fed from their holiday meal as they take to retail shops throughout Stillwater.

Best Buy is among multiple national retailers expected to open at midnight Friday. It is the first time the store has begun its Black Friday sales that early, said Chris Gray, Best Buy home essentials sales manager, and he expects customers to respond favorably to the advanced opening.

“Last year, people lined up at 6 p.m. Thanksgiving — and that was with us opening at 5 a.m.,” Gray said. “Some of our customers said they will be tailgating in our parking lot all Thanksgiving — I thought that was hilarious.”

Best Buy will begin handing out tickets beforehand approximately two hours in advance, he said. That process has become increasingly common on Black Fridays, rewarding customers on a first-come, first-served basis with assurances they will receive items at deep-discounted rates.

While many more stores are advancing their Black Friday opening, other stores have opened at midnight for a few years now. In fact, Old Navy will not only open at midnight, but for the first time this year the store is also open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thanksgiving day, according to store manager Michelle Magistri.

After closing for a few hours, the Old Navy doors will reopen to customers with “door-busting” deals, she said. The store averages $10,000 per hour in sales those first four hours, Magistri said, before a slight lull — only for the traffic to boost once again by 6 a.m.

“You never know what time to go to sleep the day before,” she said. “Usually by 10 a.m., I’m dead. The adrenaline is gone.”

Other retailers are counting on attracting shoppers who may be making a second stop during the Black Friday madness. Belk will open at 3 a.m. this year, one hour earlier than last year, said store manager Matthew Bargoil.

Belk is among several retailers that will incorporate giveaways into Black Friday deals. Each store, including the Belk in Stillwater, will give away a $1,000 prize.

This is Bargoil’s first year managing the Belk store in Stillwater. Previously based in Knoxville, Tenn., he said it was common to see customers getting comfortable long before doors opened for Black Friday.

“I’ve seen people camping out — I haven’t been in Stillwater for the previous year — but especially in this shopping center, I believe we’ll also see people camping out,” he said.

The store will have close to 300 deals special to Black Friday. They will last until 1 p.m., Bargoil said, but he doesn’t expect inventory to last that long.

“Those are the Black Friday early bird specials, but of course the early bird gets the worm when it comes to sizes and other things,” he said.

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