While the long lines and early morning starts of the large chains receive the most attention, local small businesses also experienced their share of Black Friday mayhem.
Owners assessed their sales as the day wound to a close, and nearly all of them reported success, much of which came from shoppers seeking a respite from the long waits and hectic environment of larger stores.
“People were usually happy to be out of Wal-Mart,” said Mary Ann Kenneally-Putnam, manager of M’Bellish. “We had a good day. More people were shopping locally, and they loved the service we provided.”
There was even a line in the morning — albeit a small one — which was a first for M’Bellish, Kenneally-Putnam said.
At Merit’s Home Center, the sales staff dealt with an almost non-stop flow of customers that started around 10 a.m., said service technician Adam Thomas.
“You couldn’t get a salesman if you wanted to,” Thomas said. “We moved stuff all day. People were out looking for bang for their buck.”
Electronics, such as televisions and DVD players, were the hottest commodity. The store sold numerous 73-inch televisions that were on sale, said salesman Mike Sanchas.
Over at Periwinkle, where workers were juggling the grand opening of the new location on Main Street with Black Friday, there was hardly a chance to take a break.
“There’s been a non-stop line,” said Kathy Kammerer. “I came in at noon, and I haven’t had a chance to sit down.”
Service draws them in
The customer service that small businesses offer was one of the reasons shoppers took a detour to downtown Klamath Falls, said Main Street Jewelers owner Paul Bowlby, who reported an active day of sales.
“We had some customers come in today, and we cleaned up their jewelry,” Bowlby said. “They appreciated our service and that they’re not just dollar signs to us.”
For customers, shopping locally at the end of the day was the best way to avoid the rush.
“I don’t feel like it’s worth it (to get up early and shop),” said Christy Fuhrer. “Today we just hung around in our pajamas and waited for everyone to be gone.”
Mark Bendixen was a begrudging participant in Black Friday. A broken down dishwasher necessitated a trip out on the year’s busiest shopping day. While most would head for the big box stores, Bendixen was able to find what he was looking for at Merit’s.
“We don’t really take part in Black Friday,” Bendixen said. “We’d rather shop during Small Business Saturday.”