Businesses gear up for Black Friday

Staff photo: Brooke Finch Stephanie Shirley, Dillard’s area sales manager in Clovis, cleans a display table in preparation for arranging merchandise to entice shoppers for Black Friday.

Staff photo: Brooke Finch
Stephanie Shirley, Dillard’s area sales manager in Clovis, cleans a display table in preparation for arranging merchandise to entice shoppers for Black Friday.

By Brooke Finch

For many area businesses, Black Friday doesn’t begin on Friday anymore.

Most retail and department stores in Clovis and Portales are gearing up for another year of Black Friday shoppers, and many hope to attract business as soon as Thursday — even among the Thanksgiving feasts.

Stacie Sharpe, manager of Big Lots on East 21st Street in Clovis, spent part of the weekend preparing the store for Black Friday sales — stocking merchandise and finalizing employees’ schedules.

With the store open 7 a.m. to midnight Thursday and 6 a.m. to midnight Friday, Sharpe anticipates about 25 people working each day to help with the influx of customers.

Although this is her first Black Friday with Big Lots, Sharpe knows from past retail experience what to expect. In previous years with other stores, she’s seen just how chaotic Black Friday shopping can be.

“I’ve seen pushing and shoving; people fight over stuff,” she said. “Mostly electronics usually cause a fight.”

Luckily for Sharpe, the main attraction this year will be in other departments.

“We have four different recliners and sectional sofas going on sale,” she said. “The furniture is a big deal for sales … and toys.”

In Portales, Bealls on West 18th Street starts its Black Friday sales noon Thursday until 1 a.m. Friday, and again from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday.

“Our busiest day is actually Thanksgiving,” said manager Melissa Bonem. “It’s not even Friday anymore. I think customers want to spend time with their families on Thanksgiving, but they also want to have the best buys as early as possible.”

Bonem said some of the holiday doorbuster deals include clothing items, drones, headphones and tablet devices.

“There’s great sales all around,” Bonem said. “Pretty much the whole week we’re doing something to get customers in the store … I know it can be frustrating to work on Thanksgiving, but at the same time, I’m pretty fortunate to have great associates who know we need the help and know what to expect.”

On the other hand, Megan Hamilton, owner of Portales’ Triangle Ace Hardware on South Avenue D, encourages employees — and shoppers — to stay home on Thanksgiving.

Instead, the store will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday. Deals will remain a secret until later in the week, she said.

Hamilton said she plans to have a larger staff on Black Friday because she anticipates a “pretty crazy” morning, but she expects a fairly steady afternoon.

“We’ll have some samples set up and be doing other fun stuff in the store, and we’ll be barbecuing out front,” Hamilton said with a laugh. “As if we need more food this week.”

Clovis’ North Plains Mall is open from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, but hours may vary, depending on the store.

Black Friday deals for JCPenney, for instance, go from 3 p.m. Thursday to 1 a.m. Friday, and begin again at 6 a.m. Friday.

Jerry Coronado, JCPenney merchandise supervisor, expects to attract a larger crowd this year because of an increase in items.

“In our kids’ section, we have toys this year,” Coronado said. “We didn’t have toys to offer the customers and their kids last year, so we believe that’s going to draw more people.”

Coronado said while a majority of prices will be between 50 to 60 percent off or more, he hopes crowds remain safe during all the mall mayhem.

“We’ve seen people coming through the entrance and running across the store to get to the shoes and appliances,” he said. “I just hope there’s no trampling or anything like that.”

Unlike other stores in Clovis’ mall, Dillard’s will remain closed on Thanksgiving. Its Friday hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Stephanie Shirley, area sales manager of Dillard’s, prepared a section of the store for holiday shoppers by cleaning display tables and arranging merchandise during the weekend. She said Black Friday calls for “all hands on deck,” meaning every store employee will be working that day.

But she doesn’t consider Black Friday the department store’s busiest day.

“It is busy — definitely a busier day than normal for the holiday season, but Black Friday for us is usually not that crazy,” Shirley said. “We don’t have lines out the door, don’t have people trampling each other, because our biggest day of the year is actually Jan. 1.”

Sales won’t be announced publicly until Thursday, Shirley said, so shoppers aren’t discouraged from shopping beforehand.