Calm before the storm

Published 4:43 pm Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Area businesses like Sears are gearing up for Black Friday. Sears will open it doors to holiday shoppers at 4 a.m. Friday.

Most people know that Black Friday is one of the most chaotic days of the year, but what most people don’t realize is the chaos the stores experience days and months ahead of November 26.

Local businesses and retail stores feel the pressure days upon days in advance in preparation for Black Friday.

Sears has been working hard to prepare to open at 4 a.m. on Black Friday by having as many items available as possible.

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“We’re getting ready with all our promotional signing, and we have a lot of great sales coming up,” Lisa Mullen, co-owner of Sears, said. “Everyone has been meeting about the promotional signs, door buster openers, studying what’s on sale because the price could change three times in two days, and just making sure to serve the customers, because it’s going to be confusing with all the sales.”

Mullen said everyone has been placing as much on the floor as possible to make sure customers can have options.

“Everything that we can get on this floor is out,” Mullen said. “We have more merchandise on our floor than in our warehouse to minimize the running back and forth to the warehouse.”

James Packer, Walmart store manager, said he does mock training and role plays with his employees ahead of time because Walmart Black Friday sales start 10 p.m. Thursday night.

“We’re doing role play in case there are questions about lay away during the event hours, with concerns that come up, customers wanting a particular item that we’re out of, or sale times,” Packer said. “They are just particular scenarios that empower them to answer so management won’t have to run around from one end of the store to the other.”

Training of employees has also been happening at Fred’s Store in Greenville. Store manager and owner of Fred’s Store, Randy Beeson, said he has to do this because the store will be open from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday.

“We had employee meetings yesterday,” Beeson said. “The one thing that I will praise my company on is we do not make people have to be there a certain hour. We’re running our special like anything else.”

Local businesses in downtown like Karen Rainey Interiors and Blush Beauty Boutique are also hanging signs and stocking inventory.

“The store is fully decorated for everything needed to decorate your home for Christmas,” Karen Rainey, owner of Karen Rainey Interiors said. “We have wonderful nativities, garlands, Christmas ornaments, angels. We have beautiful complimentary gift-wrap for the season. The whole store will put you into the Christmas spirit.”

Rainey said the store’s open house on Nov. 11 really was the big kick off for the season and they had been planning since July.

“We start planning back in July with what we’re going to do with the look each year,” Rainey said. “We’re expecting a big crowd.”

Chae Brown, owner of Blush Beauty Boutique said her store will be just holding a sale.

“We have some specials going on, and we’ll be open all day,” Brown said. “We’re not trying to complete with Walmart or anything like that.”

Brown said she will be putting out big signs and advertisements.

“I am going for a big rush,” Brown said. “Hopefully it will be good and we’ll have a good day.”

Packer said the besides all of the chaos and planning, the whole process is for a good cause.

“The reality is it’s for someone’s Christmas,” Packer said. “The family is getting what they want for Christmas and having a good holiday season, and we’re preparing as much as we can.”