Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

November 24, 2010

Black Friday!

Business as usual: Early birds ready for official start of shopping season

ASHLAND — Tim Squires knows there will be hundreds of people waiting for someone to unlock the doors and clear the way for serious shopping at 4 a.m. tomorrow as the Christmas buying season officially gets underway on “Black Friday.”

“Oh gosh, last year was more than the year before and at 4 o’clock we probably had a couple hundred people in right away,” said Squires, Ashland JCPenney assistant store manager.

Preparation for the first day of the holiday shopping season has been ongoing for weeks, Squire said, explaining the local store has added 80 to 90 seasonal employees in anticipation of holiday shopping, with many of those associates scheduled to be on the job Friday morning.

“We’ve probably added about a third more to our workforce. At opening Friday we will be well-staffed from 4 o’clock right on through 2 o’clock when it usually starts to slow down a little,” Squires said, noting the store expects vigorous sales throughout the day, with many Friday afternoon shoppers who prefer to avoid the crowds drawn by discounts on the season’s most sought after gift items. “That day is always just so different from any other day of the year. I’m sure we will remain busy through the afternoon.”

Squires said he expects certain items to be in immediate demand Friday morning.

“Small appliances and electronics ... things like the iPad and docking stations and the Wii,” he said, adding the store’s sale prices on ladies boots is also expected to generate quite a bit of customer enthusiasm. “Those will be the areas that get the attention right off the bat.”

Squires said preparing for Friday’s morning rush requires many considerations.

“We want to get that merchandise from the stock room to the sales floor,” he said.

“And, we want to prevent long waits in line,” Squires added, explaining the store will have staff members at the checkout lines to help customers prepare merchandise, remove hangers and otherwise assist with their transactions.

Paul Thompson, general manager at the Bob Evans on Carter Avenue in downtown Ashland, said the restaurant will also be welcoming those who are out early on Black Friday and has already scheduled extra staff to take care of their guests.

“We are opening up two hours early at 4 a.m.,” Thompson said Tuesday afternoon before adding the restaurant anticipates “close to triple” the usual number of guests for breakfast and lunch, although they expect to be back to business as usual by dinner time.

Ashland Town Center Marketing Director Jaime Bloss said nine stores at the shopping center will be open at 4 a.m. Friday, in addition to JCPenney and Belk. Those stores are Rue21, FYE, American Eagle, Pac Sun, Victoria’s Secret, Aeropostale, The Children’s Place, Bath & Body Works and Lane Bryant, Bloss said, adding the center is expected to be busy throughout the day with electronics and game systems among the most sought by this season’s shoppers.

“We are anticipating it will be a very busy Black Friday,” she said.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2651.

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