Black Friday sales benefit stores

Published 5:34 pm Tuesday, December 3, 2013

While the Thanksgiving season is often a time for family and gratitude, Thanksgiving night doubles as the calm before the proverbial storm for holiday shoppers.
And for the Greenville Walmart Supercenter, business was better than ever before.
Fortunately, it was also one of the smoothest Black Fridays in recent memory.
“It was very, very organized,” said Greenville site manager James Packer.
“The company came up with a great plan to help us improve over last year.  Crowd control was very good, and there were just a bunch of excited people who wanted some good deals for the holiday season.”
And good deals are exactly what shoppers got for the entire weekend, beginning at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving night and extending well into Sunday.
Items practically flew off store shelves for roughly 72 hours, though the heaviest concentration of shopping was done within Black Friday’s first hour of operation.
Packer attributed this season’s shopping successes to the one-hour guarantee program, in which customers were guaranteed the item they requested in the form of a physical gift card or voucher—regardless of whether the item was physically available in stores —in the store’s first hour of operation.
Greenville’s Walmart also employed a wristband system that allowed customers to claim their item and continue to shop, all without being required to stand in lines.
But for Packer, the irony of such a consumerist event and its continual encroachment on the Thanksgiving season isn’t lost on him.
Instead, opening Walmart’s doors throughout the holiday is a way for the business to give back to the customers.
“During the past two years, Walmart has really extended this sale to try and match the mission statement,” Packer added.
“They’re not concerned about how much it’s going to cost—they’re concerned about customer service and trying to make someone’s Christmas better.
Regardless of the stance on Black Friday, the end result is a win overall for Butler County.
“It’s huge for us, and to give some perspective, we took out some stores in Montgomery that double our sales for that week,” Packer said.
“So it’s definitely a boost to Butler County, as far as sales tax goes.  Our associates put their heart and soul into it, and hopefully a lot of our customers are happy.  I haven’t read any horrible Facebook posts yet, so I guess we did an okay job.”
The retail juggernaut wasn’t the only business for which Black Friday proved beneficial, as several local businesses also turned a profit, including downtown Greenville boutique Southern Mint.
“The morning was pretty busy, but it went very well,” said sales associate Amie Wesley.
“It slowed down a bit in the afternoon, but it’s probably the busiest day we’ve ever had.”
Though Southern Mint kept it’s usual hours of operation Friday, the sales served a second purpose in attracting customers to the rest of Southern Mint’s offerings.
“Surprisingly, our sale items were not the best item of the day,” Wesley added.
“I think the sales bring our guests in, and that’s what we want most.  And we want them to enjoy our sales, but we do want them to look at everything else we have.  The sale items were great, but they also liked our regular merchandise.”

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