Black Friday shopping took on a more literal meaning as a power outage in Seymour shut down local retailers including Walmart, Goody’s, Home Depot and JCPenney around noon.
Duke Energy reported more than 4,700 customers, both business and residential, were without power due to a “substantial issue” at a substation. Most of the outages were reported on the north and east sides of the city. Power was expected to start being restored around 2 p.m. Friday.
But for many people and several stores, Black Friday shopping began Thanksgiving Day.
Traditionally, after a big Thanksgiving dinner, families gather to watch football games on TV, sit around playing cards or board games, look through all the sales ads or just fall asleep with their bellies full.
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But since several Black Friday sales now begin Thanksgiving Day, some people are changing their holiday traditions to get a start on or in some cases finish their Christmas shopping, taking advantage of the lowest prices of the season.
Black Friday is the kickoff to the holiday shopping season and is so named because it is typically when retailers turn a profit, going from the red into the black.
Places like Walmart, Goody’s and JCPenney started their Black Friday doorbuster sales events Thursday, when parking lots were full and people were ready to shop.
Savannah Gibson, assistant manager at Goody’s, said the store was busy from the minute it opened its doors at 2 p.m. Thursday until it closed at 1 a.m. Friday. The store reopened at 6 a.m. Friday.
“It’s been steady, and people are buying,” she said. “More so than last year, I would say.”
A lot of special sales items were already out of stock by Friday.
“Sweater dresses, drones and the Paula Deen cookware sets have been popular,” Gibson said. “I really wanted one of the cookware sets but waited too long.”
But despite large crowds and lines at the checkouts, Gibson said everyone seemed to be in good spirits.
“We’re lucky,” she said. “For the most part, we have happy customers and happy associates.”
Local businesses such as Luecke Audio Video and Appliances, Hearts Desire gift shop, Greemann’s Furniture, Tiemeier’s Jewelry store and 13th Floor Music and Accessories also opened for Black Friday and hoped the shopping would continue through Small Business Saturday.
Tara Sutherland of Seymour said shopping on Thanksgiving Day has become something she and her family have come to enjoy the past couple of years.
“Because the men in our family hit the woods in the morning and again after dinner, hoping to score the big buck, it left us girls with very little to do,” Sutherland said of how their Thanksgiving Day shopping tradition began.
She began shopping at 7 a.m. Thursday from the comfort of her own home online.
“I had shopped at eight different sites for several family members all before 10 a.m.,” she said.
But some items were available in-store only at certain times. So she headed out after Thanksgiving dinner with her sister, her mother, her daughter, and for the first time, her young son.
They visited Walmart, Target and Best Buy but found the best deals at Walmart, she said.
“We all split up and got in line for different items,” she said. “The one-hour guarantee that Walmart offered made it simple, and you were guaranteed the item regardless if they ran out.”
Their haul included two 32-inch smart televisions, an iPad Air, a Fitbit and a GoPro camera. They also took advantage of deals on pajamas, storage containers, gloves, bath towels, small appliances and socks.
Karrie Beavers of Seymour said she, too, had an overall good Black Friday experience.
She did her shopping at Walmart in Seymour, too, and walked out with a Fitbit, “Frozen” merchandise and tablet computers.
“It was great. I got everything I wanted,” she said. “I have to say this year was the best experience we have ever had, and the checkout was so much better.”
Besides saving money, Sutherland said Black Friday shopping is a fun way to spend time with her loved ones.
“We have a blast and enjoy making memories,” she said. “It’s all about the attitude you have when you go. If you start with an attitude hoping to find a deal, you will do much better than the attitude of ‘I will fight to get it.’”
Melanie O’Neal of Seymour started shopping around 3:30 p.m. Thursday with her daughter and stepdaughter. They didn’t finish until around 2 a.m. Friday, making stops at Walmart in Seymour and Kohl’s and Rue 21 in Columbus.
“The girls and I have a great time,” she said. “Lots of laughs and bargains found, and priceless memories were made.”
The group witnessed a man getting arrested at Walmart for shoplifting, but O’Neal said she was glad they didn’t see any fights this year.
“For us, shopping is about the experiences we have together,” she said. “We laughed all night because we became slaphappy at different times. Although our legs and feet were tired, this is what we do.”
Now that the shopping is over, Sutherland said she can relax and enjoy the holiday season.
“It’s a nice feeling to be done,” she said. “We save money all year so we can go do the crazy Black Friday shopping. The best part is I can now focus on the spirit of the season. No shopping. Just baking, family time and the Christmas traditions, like cutting down the tree, the Advent calendar and Elf on the Shelf.”