Shoppers hit malls, downtown for deals

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 29, 2015

Parking lots at Vicksburg’s two malls were packed, and parking spaces along downtown Washington Street were at a premium Friday as shoppers hit the streets and local stores for the annual shopping ritual of Black Friday.

Some stores got a jump on the shopping tradition, opening Thanksgiving night and offering special sales and discounts to draw the shoppers in. And while a story by the Associated Press indicated that sales were down nationwide, stores locally reported good business during day with some store managers indicating Saturday afternoon the crowds were still coming in.

“It’s still going,” Belk manager Eddie Carty said, adding the top selling items were boots, comforter sets and electronics.

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While Belk opened its doors Thursday night, Dillard’s manager Chris Henry said his store opened at its usual time Friday, 8 a.m.

“We had a successful day,” Henry said, adding women’s accessories were the top selling items.

At Hobby Lobby, which also opened at its regular time, store manager Bernice Womble said Christmas decorations were the most popular items, along with materials for home decor.

“We had a great day,” said Ryno Martin-Nez, manager at Hobie’s Outdoor Sports, across the street from the Vicksburg Mall. “We sold a lot of shoes and a lot of winter clothes. Folks are just getting ready for Christmas.”

Karen Hamberlin, manager for the Van Huesen Outlet at the Outlets at Vicksburg, which was open from 8 p.m. to midnight Thursday, said her store had good customer traffic, adding, “Everything sold.”

The stores on Washington Street did not open early Friday, but storeowners and managers reported a busy day, saying the shopping crowd downtown Friday was the largest they’d seen in a long time.

The downtown businesses received an extra boost Saturday with Small Business Saturday, a national program to get people to shop small neighborhood businesses.

“We had a great amount of traffic for Black Friday,” Sassafras owner Nancy Bullard said. “More than in recent memory. It was a beautiful day and people were happy to be out. We sold a mix of items.”

She said the store offered 20 percent discounts on its merchandise, adding “Everything we sold was for Christmas gifts, because we wrapped a lot of gifts.”

“It seemed like we were much busier,” Cinnamon Tree employee Tammy Folger-Sutter said. “The business has been good this entire weekend. We had a real good crowd yesterday (Friday).”

She said accessories and the store’s Mississippi-made pottery were the top selling items.

“Mississippi pottery is something you can’t get at the big box stores,” she said.

Willingham’s owner Barbara Willingham said her business was “great. We don’t have complaint at all. We did very well and doing real well today.”

The most popular item, she said, was Peter’s Pottery. “It sells every day of the year.”

Frederick’s owner Norma Massey said her store did a lot of business Friday.

“We had a great day. We had some specials and people were taking advantage of those,” she said. “It was a real good steady day, and it was great. We wrapped a lot of gifts.”

She said many people came in for baby gifts, “But the majority of the people came in with Christmas gifts in mind. We sold a lot of pajamas, gowns, and stuff. Boots sold real well. I think people are just getting geared up for the holidays and the cool weather.”


About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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