Snohomish County shoppers turn out for Black Friday
By JAKE MCNEAL
Arlington Times Reporter
November 30, 2011 · 12:58 PM
MARYSVILLE — Arlington shoppers took advantage of Black Friday deals, jumping from store to store to secure all the gifts and gadgets they were after on the annual shoppers’ holiday.
The Target store at Lakewood Crossing hosted a line of shoppers that stretched across the front of the store and around the back. Walmart in Arlington had a good turnout as well.
“The shoppers have been friendly as can be since we opened last year and it’s all been safe,” Walmart manager Leon White said. “We give the customers what they want. We help the community and they help us.”
Target and Best Buy benefitted from frenetic Arlington shoppers as well.
“The customers wanted a midnight opening,” Target manager Deb Hunt said of her store that previously opened its doors at 4 a.m. “Black Friday is more popular every year. We’re happy to do it because midnight spreads the congestion.”
Arlington resident Kari Cook, who has made Black Friday part of her Thanksgiving tradition for nearly 20 years, visited the Arlington Walmart, whose Black Friday sales began at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving, to kill time before the midnight Target rush. This year Cook was on the hunt for movies, toys, DVD players and knives.
“I was considering wearing a football uniform so people would stay out of my way,” Cook said.
The only trouble she had that night was a brief altercation at Walmart with a woman who was much too pushy. “It’s not too bad for all the years we’ve done it,” Cook said. “We’ve been doing this since high school. Dang, we’re getting old.”
Serenity Swanson, Cook’s long-time friend and shopping partner, insisted that Black Friday requires a keen strategy. She checked online apps to map out which stores had sales that suited what they were looking for. Cook collected Black Friday ads and checked the paper. Their Black Friday destinations, Cook and Swanson said, depended on which stores had what they wanted on sale.
“It’s a mad dash to whatever your prize is,” Swanson said of the discount derby that she and hundreds of others would soon begin. “You have to have a game plan or you’ll get nothing. Just in case there’s an altercation, I have band-aids.”
Cook and Swanson got in line at Target at 9 p.m. and kept their places in the upper fourth of the line by trading place-holder shifts with Cook’s daughters while she and Swanson perused Walmart. They brought snacks and Thanksgiving leftovers for when their shopping squad got hungry.
The Best Buy next to Target, which also saw even more business than last year, had people camping out for days before the store opened at the same time as Target. TVs were the most popular item.
“It has all paid off,” said Carl Smith of Arlington, who had his Thanksgiving dinner brought to him by family. “I’m loving it. I’ll save thousands on a TV.”
Smaller stores in Arlington near Olympic Avenue did not have such crowds.
Desa Duskin, buyer for the Arlington Pharmacy, believes that Black Friday shoppers are looking for far different things from their shopping experience than those who patronize locally owned merchants.
“We’re not really part of Black Friday,” Duskin said. “Our biggest shopping day of the year is the first Saturday of December, which is Dec. 3 this year, as part of the Arlington ‘Hometown Holidays’ event.”
The Arlington Pharmacy will be offering 20 percent off all non-pharmaceutical items from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. that day.
“We can’t offer the same quantity as the bigger retailers, but we think we offer a higher quality of goods than many of them,” Duskin said.
Marian Ferguson, owner of Favorite Pastime in downtown Arlington, reported slow business on Black Friday, but significantly better trade on Small Business Saturday the following day.
“The ‘Buy Local’ business from that Saturday was huge,” Ferguson said. “I made less than $100 on Black Friday, but about $750 on Small Business Saturday, which is pretty good for a small locally owned shop like mine. Every single one of my customers that Saturday said they’d come in because of Small Business Saturday.”
Even before that boost, Ferguson reported that her business was doing “way better” by Nov. 1 of this year than it had been by Nov. 1 of last year.
“All I can say is to ask that the community continue to support its locally owned shops,” Ferguson said.
Contact Arlington Times Reporter Jake McNeal at email@example.com or 360-659-1300 Ext. 5054.