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Black Friday comes a day early

LAUREN WOOD / THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Belk Children’s Department employee Ahasia Alexander puts a Thanksgiving sale placard on top of a rack of clothing Tuesday afternoon at the store. Employees have been organizing shipments of merchandise in preparation for the store’s Black Friday sales.

NATCHEZ — The dash to get the best Black Friday bargains begins tonight.

Stores such as Walmart and Goody’s are opening at 8 p.m. and Kmart is opening its doors at 8 a.m. today.

“This is the first time we have ever opened on Thanksgiving,” Goody’s Manager Blaine Davis said. “We’ve been preparing for the past two weeks.”

Goody’s is open from 8 p.m. until midnight today and will open from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. Friday, Davis said.

“We will have doorbusters Thursday night and until 1 p.m. Friday,” Davis said.

Goody’s has stocked 10 percent more merchandise, and Davis said he was expecting it to be extremely busy.

Walmart in Natchez and Vidalia will open at 8 tonight and will stagger its sales throughout the night.

Power tools, kitchen supplies and toys, including game consoles, bikes and movies will be on sale from 8 until 10 p.m. Electronics such as TVs, DVD players, cameras and computers go on sale at 10 p.m. And beginning at 5 a.m. Friday, home décor, guns and tires go on sale.

Belk employee Jacob Fauver stacks a new shipment of men’s dress shirts Tuesday afternoon in preparation for tomorrow’s expected shopping crowds.

Kmart will be open from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. today and will reopen from 8 p.m. until midnight tonight. It will open again from 6 a.m. until 11 p.m. Friday.

Belk will open three hours earlier than it did last year. Store manager Mary Flach said her staff had put in a lot of work for its midnight opening tonight.

“We are having more early bird specials than last year,” Flach said. “We have been in prep mode for weeks.”

Flach said Belk is going to give away gift cards to the first 250 customers that come through the home store outside entrance.

“All of the other entrances will be open but gift cards will only be given at the home store outside entrance,” Flach said. “Someone will win a $1,000 card that night.”

Flach said more than 330 early bird specials will be offered between midnight Thursday and 1 p.m. Friday.

Some of the most demanded items, Flach said, would be boots, a 19-inch GPX LED HD TV with DVD player and a Zeki 7-inch touch screen tablet.

“If (this weekend) follows suit to past years, I expect business to be great,” Flach said.

JCPenney will open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, Manager Brenda Honeycutt said.

She said more staff had been added to help with customer needs and extra inventory had been added in all departments.

While other stores are focusing on clothes and toys, Office Depot Manager Keith Martin said tablets and laptops were going to be the big sellers.

“We will be open from 5 a.m. until 9 p.m. Friday and open back up at 8 a.m. Saturday,” Martin said. “We are having a two-day event, but we will sell out of a lot of things on Friday.”

Stine Lumber Co. store manager Mike Sharp said beginning at 6 a.m. Friday, his store would have a number of items on sale, including an infrared remote control mini-helicopter and tools.

“The mini helicopter will be on sale for $29.99, and we will have a 190-piece Craftsman tool set for $99.99,” Sharp said.

Stine’s holiday weekend sales will extend through Sunday as supplies last, Sharp said.

In conjunction with Black Friday, businesses around the Miss-Lou will participate in Small Business Saturday this weekend.

Natchez Chamber of Commerce President Debbie Hudson said Small Business Saturday is a great way for residents to show their support for the community.

“The chamber has for the last several years supported small businesses and encouraged people to buy local,” Hudson said. “Eighty percent of our businesses are small businesses. We see Small Business Saturday as an opportunity to help them out.”

Hudson said when people think about buying gifts; they should first ask themselves if they could get it here instead of traveling out of town.

“Since we have started Small Business Saturday, we have a seen tax dollars go up during this time of year,” Hudson said. “So buying local really does help.”

Hudson said there will be a drawing at next week’s Friday forum for anyone who drops off their local small business receipts at either the Natchez Inc. or Natchez-Adams Chamber of Commerce offices by noon Thursday, Nov. 29.

Each receipt must include a name and phone number on the back. The drawing will be for prizes donated by local businesses.


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