Black Friday weekend puts a cha-chiiing in local coffers

By: By Chrysta Carroll -

ELIZABETHTOWN — The Thanksgiving season not only brought bulging waistlines to many holiday observers, but it also brought fattened purses to area businesses over the weekend.

“This was the best Black Friday weekend we’ve ever had,” said Fishers Men’s Shop owner Mike Suggs.

Named for the sudden transition from debt to profit for many merchants, the weekend following Thanksgiving ushers in the welcome “cha-chings” of cash registers for businesses.

“It’s definitely a vital time for merchants,” said Suggs. “Our whole fall and winter business depends on this time of year.”

In keeping with many national retailers that vowed to scale back their out-of-control Black Friday events this year, locally, most businesses remained closed on Thanksgiving, including Fishers.

One local store that was open on Thanksgiving Day, however, was Walmart, which began its Black Friday sales at 6 p.m. Thursday. At 4 p.m., shoppers could obtain wristbands for some items that managers anticipated would be hot items. The shoppers could then return at 6 p.m. and were guaranteed the item.

Not all sale merchandise had wristbands, however, and shoppers just had to stand in line for those items. Queues began forming in the electronics department around 3:45 p.m. to prepare for the start of the 6 p.m. sale.

Some items were wrapped in cellophane and sitting in aisles waiting to be unwrapped at 6 p.m. Like vultures protecting their carrion, shoppers stood with their hands on the merchandise for upwards of two hours while good-naturedly enjoying camaraderie with others of their bargain-minded species.

“I come every year,” said Mattie Haywirth, who stood in line for over two hours to get a hoverboard, only to find out there weren’t any left. She did, however, leave with other merchandise on her list.

“I didn’t get everything I wanted, but I’m happy with what I got. I’ll be back next year,” she added.

Though the parking lot at Walmart was packed, this year’s sale wasn’t what was expected.

“Our store was busy and full, but I think there were fewer people than last year,” said Support Manager William Herring. “It was still intense.”

Hot items this year were Nintendo game systems, hoverboards, and Hatchimals, the latter of which is a $200 interactive toy.

“The Hatchimals were a hot item this year,” said Herring. “We had one customer to send one back, and it sent the front end into a frenzy with people trying to get it. That was definitely one of our heaviest hot items.”

While area merchants may be heaving a sigh of relief after the madness, it’s only in order to gear up for the next round.

“We get a little drop after Black Friday, and then it increases every week,” said Suggs, “then those last three or four days before Christmas are like Black Friday all over again.”

Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.

By Chrysta Carroll