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Let the shopping begin

November 22, 2018

Shoppers at Belk in Magnolia Mall stampeded into a barricaded area holding shelves of women's boots, marked down from $80 to just $20 on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013. The 8 p.m. Thanksgiving opening did not discourage the hoards of determined shoppers, some who waited in line for six hours.

FLORENCE, S.C. — Beginning today, shoppers will flood stores and retailers around Florence as Black Friday festivities begin.

Retailers are prepping for what has become the biggest shopping weekend of the year as Black Friday — which once was a single-day event — has expanded into a long weekend, beginning with Gray Thursday and into Cyber Monday after Thanksgiving.

Al Bishop, store director for Academy Sports & Outdoors, said he looks forward to the Black Friday shopping experience.

“It’s fun, because we get to see what everybody’s buying for their families and their kids,” Bishop said. “I get to see a kid look at a bike or something of that sort and think, ‘Wow, I’d love to have that.’ It’s great because you see the parents getting it without the kid knowing and you just know that they’re going to be surprised.”

Bishop said Academy will be closed today but will open from 5 a.m. until 11 p.m. Friday.

“We’ll have plenty of specials running, and we’re filled up in the book,” Bishop said. “We’ll be fully staffed with plenty of people there to help load cars and thigs like that. It’s a great time of year for us.”

“For as hectic and chaotic as it gets, it’s rewarding to know that we get to play a part in the community’s Christmas,” Bishop said.

In addition to the retail district and stores surrounding Magnolia Mall, several retailers in downtown Florence will be open on Black Friday for Florence shoppers.

Sydney Alexander, merchandising and sales manager for L. Mae Boutique and Wild Mabel Clothing Company, said the retailer will open at 8 a.m. Friday.

“Downtown, the holiday spirit is in full display at L. Mae Boutique and Wild Mabel Clothing Company,” Alexander said. “We are ready for Black Friday, and we are so excited to be styling our customers for the upcoming festivities throughout the season. We are fully stocked with awesome new arrivals, and if you need some help checking off that list, our staff has the perfect gift ideas.”

Shopping hours

Magnolia Mall will be closed today and will open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, though department stores and restaurant hours may vary.

Several retailers, including J.C. Penney, Belk, Walmart, Target, Kohl’s, Best Buy and Dick’s Sporting Goods will open today. Walmart will open at 6 a.m. today and remain open through Black Friday. J.C. Penney (opens at 2 p.m. today) and Kohl’s (opens at 5 p.m. today) also will remain open through Black Friday.

Target will open at 5 p.m. today and close at 1 a.m. Friday before reopening at 7 a.m. Friday. Best Buy will open at 5 p.m. today and close at 1 a.m. Friday before reopening at 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday. Dick’s Sporting Goods will open at 6 p.m. today and close at 2 a.m. Friday before reopening at 5 a.m. Friday morning. Belk will be open from 4 p.m. today to 1 a.m. Friday and will open reopen at 6 a.m. Friday.

Many other Florence stores will open early Black Friday and remain closed for Thanksgiving.

Those include Sams Club (opens at 7 a.m. Friday), The Home Depot (opens at 6 a.m. Friday), Lowe’s (opens at 6 a.m. Friday), Bed Bath & Beyond (opens at 6 a.m. Friday), Academy Sports & Outdoors (opens at 5 a.m. Friday), Burlington (opens at 7 a.m. Friday) and Hobby Lobby (opens at 8 a.m. Friday).

For a list of full store hours for national brands during the holiday weekend, visit blackfriday.com.

Small Business Saturday

Bob Sager, retail recruitment and branding consultant for the Florence Downtown Development Corp., said that downtown Florence is looking forward to Black Friday but is focusing on Small Business Saturday.

“Small Business Saturday is a nationally sponsored event to try to promote local businesses,” Sager said. “It’s a great opportunity for people to realize that small businesses are an important part of our local economy. We’re looking to make it even bigger than before.”

Sager said the 14 restaurants and more than 10 retailers in downtown will be working together Saturday to give Florence shoppers their “best shopping experience.”

The restaurants and retailers will offer special deals and discounts for those who choose to shop local, Sager said.

For more information on deals, visit florencedowntown.com/shopsmall.

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