Merchants merry about 'Green Friday'
Like most Americans, Marshall County residents went shopping over the long Thanksgiving weekend and retailers heard cash registers ring with sales that, according to national statistics, were better than last year.
"We've been super busy," Tractor Supply sales clerk Rebecca Hastings said one day after Thanksgiving, the traditional first day of Christmas shopping - also known as Black Friday because profits have overcome business expenses for the year.
"That's what they've been saying for years and years," Lewisburg Jewelry proprietor Tony Kirby said Monday. Black Friday is, however, "a little bit later this year."
His customers apparently had their minds made up, because "They knew what they wanted, saw it and bought it," Kirby said. "Shoppers were pretty calm. It went very good. The mood is much better."
He had a "constant flow of customers" and realized Pandora jewelry and Vera Bradley handbags were the popular products at his shop on East Commerce Street.
Tillis Jewelry owner Rick Tillis said his West Church Street shop "wasn't even open on Friday since I had family and friends in town [but] it's been going good, sales-wise. I've had several custom-made pieces ordered and some very affordable earrings purchased...
"Shoppers are looking for the most bang for the buck," Tillis said. "We've got pieces like beaded bracelets that have sold very well."
Gary Bolling at Hamlin and Bolling Furniture Co. said, "Our business has been good. I'm not sure it's because of Christmas. That Friday we had an excellent day."
The store sold "a lot of living room suites," Bolling said of sofas, chairs, end tables, lamps and the like. "We've had a really good run on those. I guess people got tired of their old ones for so many years.
Coble Furniture Center co-owner Chuck Coble said. "We had a pretty good day, steady traffic all day - better than I expected...
"Recliners are always a popular choice," Coble said. "Televisions have been really popular in the last couple of weeks and I guess that's because of football.
"We're not one of those that opens at midnight, but we did have a full parking lot during the day," he said.
Tractor Supply Store Manager Dawn Wilson said 20-25 people were waiting for the store to open at 6 a.m.
Among the early shoppers at Peebles were Kathy Fullerton and Tonya Fullerton of Petersburg. They started shopping very early Friday and Peebles clerk Karen Johnson rang up their purchases saying the store opened at 7 a.m. and was busy all morning.
Angela Frierson of Columbia was shopping at Cato here in Lewisburg where store clerk Jackie Mustin of Fayetteville said the store had a big markdown on merchandise.
Shopper Gary Lee noticed the Wal-Mart parking lot was full.
Ken and Connie Tyson of Kens Guns & More on East Commerce Street will be open right up to Christmas Eve, but on Black Friday they were conducting business at a gun show in Lebanon.
"We were scheduled in advance for the show," he said, "but we do get a lot of layaways for Christmas.
"I have many women who come in here to buy a gun for their husbands. I put myself in their husband's shoes," Tyson said. "A gun is a personal thing. I try to persuade them to bring their husband in or buy a gift certificate. I'd rather send them away with nothing instead of something they don't need."
For retailers, much of the job is knowing your customer.
"Some guys, believe it or not, never fire a gun because they are collectors. Others are avid hunters, or they shoot for sporting events, while others are civil war reenactments."
Meanwhile, state health officials suggest other activities for Christmas. They include: Setting a reasonable budget; relax and let others share some of the responsibilities; eat a healthy diet and, if drinking alcohol, do it in moderation; spend time with friends and family or seek volunteer opportunities; exercise and get plenty of rest, after all it's the holiday season.