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Area shoppers get early start on Black Friday

THE DAILY LEADER / JUSTIN VICORY / Leanne McCaffery (from left), Seth McCaffery, Debbie Querns, Melissa Morgan and Heidi Smith get a jump start on Black Friday shopping at Goody's Thursday night.

THE DAILY LEADER / JUSTIN VICORY / Leanne McCaffery (from left), Seth McCaffery, Debbie Querns, Melissa Morgan and Heidi Smith get a jump start on Black Friday shopping at Goody’s Thursday night.

Fortified by Thanksgiving meals of turkey and dressing, area shoppers took to the shops of Brookhaven Thursday night in a bid to grab “one-time” deals as part of the opening salvo of the Black Friday shopping bonanza.

Walmart, as well as many local retailers, opened up shop Thanksgiving afternoon as part of the largest shopping weekend of the year. Shoppers from the area filled up their carts with electronics, clothing apparel and any and all items with significant Black Friday discounts.

Walmart opened at 6 p.m. Thanksgiving and remained packed well into the night according to local shopper, Tabitha Dixon.

“I’ve been here for hours. It’s almost impossible to find a parking spot and the lines are long. But it’s definitely worth it,” Dixon said.

Other shoppers were seen leaving the store with multiple shopping carts, as the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department and Brookhaven Police Department had at least one officer or deputy on duty just in case.

“Despite what you might hear, it’s usually a pretty uneventful day, outside of the large crowds,” Lincoln County Sheriff Steve Rushing noted.

Snazzies, a women’s clothing shop on Brookway Boulevard, opened from 5-8 p.m. Thursday night, with expectations of major sales intake.

Owner Barbara Ham believed she would see an increase in shoppers because of the typical Black Friday surge, but cites another reason as well.

Like many smaller retailers in town, Ham hoped to see some overflow from customers shopping at big box stores such as Walmart.

“I’m especially looking forward to this year. Since last year, I decided to relocate my store from downtown Brookhaven to the boulevard. I think this will translate into more shoppers,” Ham said.

Just down the street from Walmart, Goody’s saw a flood of shoppers Thursday night, and manager Ronnie Jones expected an even larger turnout Friday morning.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Jones said Thursday night. “We open tomorrow at 6 a.m., and that’s when we will really be overwhelmed.”

Some local retailers hoped to parlay holiday sales well into the weekend. Shops such as Brookhaven Music Sound Co., that don’t normally open on Saturdays, are opening their doors for the day to accommodate potential shoppers on the day that has come to be known as “Small Business Saturday.”

“We see a pretty good bit of business during Black Friday. We will be open Saturday for folks who might not want to compete with crowds of other shoppers,” said Jessica Smith, an employee at the downtown music shop.

Director of the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce, Garrick Combs, notes the significance of Black Friday to the area. Combs also remains dedicated to increasing future commerce.

“Black Friday is a great day for businesses in the area, which is a boon to the economy. Our intention at the chamber is to continue to promote local business throughout the year, and provide them the tools they need to generate future income.”

The term, “Black Friday,” refers to the belief that the sales receipts from the day help put a retailer “in the black,” or in the profitable category, as opposed to being “in the red,” or at a loss.