Shoppers took to the stores today in search of Black Friday bargains, but with many retailers having opened Thursday night, those who ventured out today may have found some relief from the usual crush of consumers.
“It’s kind of sparse,” said Missy Sherer, of Findlay, one of three Sherer family members shopping at Franklin Park Mall at about 9:30 a.m. today.
Her mother-in-law, Tina Sherer, of Bradner, Ohio, said the group “kind of felt like we were late” after arriving at the mall only at 4 a.m. About 40 mall retailers opened at 8 p.m. Thursday, while 50 others opened at midnight, and the rest at 5 a.m.
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While business was brisk at the mall, retailers said this morning the shopping complex felt less congested than in past years. Still, sales were good.
Phil Kajca, owner of the Pandora jewelry store and J. Foster Jewelers, said that even though Pandora opened at 5 a.m., by 10 a.m. it had already matched its total Black Friday sales from a year ago, leaving Mr. Kajca to wonder if he should not have opened at midnight.
But shopper Shelly Peer, of Sylvania, said those stores that didn’t open until this morning got it right.
“It just irritated me so much that people were out last night and that so many employees had to work on Thanksgiving,” Ms. Peer said while heading into the mall at 10 a.m.
“I think everybody should be able to be home with their families on the holiday. It makes me sad what’s happened.”
At the Appliance Center in Maumee, store manager Jim Gryzwinski, said many customers complimented the retailer for not opening until 6 a.m. today and allowing employees to have a day off.
“We had numerous people saying they were here at our store specifically because we weren’t open on Thursday. It was nice to hear those comments,” Mr. Gryzwinski said. “Even so, we still had about 150 people lined up at the door when we opened.”
Throughout the morning and into the early afternoon a steady stream of customers swamped the store, the manager added, leading management to believe it made the right call in not joining the retail rush to open on Thanksgiving.
“We were concerned a little bit about not opening early, but our employees were glad we didn’t open on Thanksgiving,” Mr. Gryzwinski said. “And we are really busy today.”