Black Thursday: Area residents leave dinner tables for holiday bargainsPublished 1:15pm Saturday, November 30, 2013
FRANKLIN—Many area residents left the Thanksgiving dinner table early Thursday to take advantage of huge early saving purchases offered by a host of stores in the Franklin area. In previous years with luck, one might have found a gas station or a mom-and-pop convenience store open on Thanksgiving Day, but not a major department store. For 2013, enter on the scene Black Thursday and super sales to entice shoppers to leave the turkey and loved ones at home to capitalize on saving a few dollars. At the Franklin Mall, the parking lot was packed tight long before the store opened at 7 p.m. for the advertised special items. Others, such as Belk opened at 8 p.m., and remained opened all night.
Liz Mullins of Franklin was the first in line at the Belk department store arriving to claim the prize spot at 5 p.m. She said she did eat a Thanksgiving meal at home, but had to leave to be able to purchase some boots and get the free gift card that was advertised to be given away. Mullins added that a family member did stop by to give her some hot chocolate and another plate of food during her wait.
Around 5:30 p.m., she was joined by Jaime Daughtery of Suffolk, Tralane Barham of Southampton County and Makeshia Sykes of Franklin. Sykes said she had come straight from work at Deerfield Correctional Center and had not eaten the Thanksgiving meal, but was also seeking the special deals and the free gift card.
All four, plus hundreds others present, were dressed for the weather, which was in the mid-30s, and in high spirits.
A key admitted motivation for the early arrival of these four shoppers was a great sale on boots and the free gift cards. For the first 250 shoppers, cards valued from $5 to $1,000 would be given. Belk Store Manager Tonya Faison assisted by Liz Burgess, the operation team audit staff member, opened the store at exactly 8 p.m. and proceeded to pass out the gift cards and greet the customers. It did not take that long for the two to pass out the cards, and the shoppers continued to file into the store.
Unlike the frenzy of pushing and shoving shown on TV of national Black Thursday/Friday sales in other cities, Franklin was orderly with shoppers respectful of each other and thankful for the great deals.
Both staff members seemed pleased with the turnout of shoppers, and added that no one had yet displayed the $1,000 gift card. A visual of the shoppers projected that many were pleased with the Black Thursday event as they quickly made their purchases and departed the store.