‘Black Friday’ attracts shoppers, despite economy

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

Local merchants reported “Black Friday,” the traditional start of the Christmas shopping season, was a modest success in Brunswick County.

Retailers say they are looking forward to a successful shopping season, despite the slowdown in the economy.

At Belk in Shallotte, store manager Beth Herndon said 250 people were in the store by 5:10 a.m., judging by the results of the store’s gift card giveaway.

Herndon said sales were “very good” this year and about on par with last year’s Black Friday receipts.

Belk shoppers took advantage of coupons, gift cards and deals printed in newspaper circulars, and Herndon said some of the store’s best-selling items included electronics, children’s games, bedroom slippers and sleepwear.

Herndon hopes the good turnout bodes well for the rest of the season.

At Office Depot in Shallotte, hopeful shoppers also turned out early to get good deals, although the same items are on sale the entire week, assistant store manager Pete Bottiglieri said.

“A lot of the stuff we have on sale for the same price this week. People were fighting over it, but it’s the same stuff we have now. I guess it’s just the fervor of the day after Thanksgiving,” he said.

Bottiglieri said laptops and GPS locators are the store’s big sellers this Christmas season.

Christmas is always a poplar time of year at Callahan’s of Calabash, which has its own year-round holiday section.

Store manger Eric Callahan said the store saw a good crowd the day after Thanksgiving, although not quite as good as last year.

Callahan’s Christmas store manager Karen Wilson saw a number of customers interested in the store’s customized Christmas bows.

“That’s a hugely popular item,” Wilson said.

Other popular favorites include “retro” tinsel trees in pink, turquoise and other bright colors as well as decorative greenery.

“People are ready to deck the halls.”

At the Shipping Station in Shallotte, business was “fairly slow,” owner Gary Snyder said, but he’s predicting better business in the next few weeks.

“It will be busy from next Monday for two solid weeks,” he said of the store’s traditional busy season.