Shoppers Flock To Reopened Arena Hub Stores For Black Friday
WILKES-BARRE TWP. — Michelle Specht waited in a line at Dick’s Sporting Goods in the Arena Hub Plaza that stretched to the back of the store and around the corner on Black Friday.
The Dallas resident and hundreds of other shoppers crowded the store the day after Thanksgiving and took advantage of a 25 percent off sale as they started their holiday shopping.
Many shoppers returned to the Arena Hub to check out its rebirth more than five months after an EF2 tornado ripped through the shopping plaza and caused severe damage. Dick’s was the seventh of nine damaged stores in the Arena Hub to reopen since the June 13 tornado.
“I didn’t realize how much I missed it when it was closed,” said Specht, a mother of four sons. “I have boys who are athletes and I’ve been limited so I’m happy it’s back.”
Dick’s reopened Monday, following T.J. Maxx, which reopened Sunday. Other stores in the Arena Hub which have reopened since the tornado included Staples, Carter’s/OshKosh, Eddie Bauer, Avenue and Men’s Wearhouse.
“It’s nice to have them back,” said Rice Twp. resident Dave Petrochko, who pushed a cart full of bags outside T.J. Maxx on Black Friday and shopped at Staples. “They’re unique stores.”
Construction continues at two other businesses damaged by the tornado: PetSmart and Barnes & Noble. A sign outside PetSmart says it will reopen Nov. 30. Barnes & Noble will not reopen until early next year and in the meantime, it is operating a temporary pop-up store in the nearby East End Centre.
Inside the remodeled Dick’s, shoppers snagged bargains.
Wilkes-Barre residents Alexis Berez; his father, Ray and sister Naydeleine got a punching bag and weights marked 25 percent off.
For every pair of Cabin socks Emily Burgit of Shavertown bought, she got a second pair free. She also bought slippers for her grandmothers, hunting pants for her brother and Nike sneakers on sale.
While Dick’s was closed for remodeling, her mom Jodi Burgit said they were forced to order online a few times and that’s not usually how they shop.
Allison Williams, 17, and her mom Jennifer Williams of Plymouth Twp. browsed through jackets marked $59.98.
They were frequent shoppers at Dick’s before the tornado and it marked their first time returning to the store since it reopened earlier this week.
“We are thrilled that it is reopened in time for the Christmas shopping season,” Jennifer Williams said. “I think it looks great. It’s very clean. It looks more modern as well.”
Dallas resident Annette Melovitz grabbed the last $200 Patagonia jacket in size XXL as a Christmas gift her father.
“I wanted to get the XXL before they were all gone,” Melovitz said. “I wanted this brand jacket and I need the size.”
She also missed Dick’s when it was closed for more than five months
“It’s a big store for this area,” Melovitz said. “I like it. It’s more open. As long as they continue to honor the coupons when I buy stuff, I’ll keep coming back.”
Dick’s opened 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Thanksgiving and at 5 a.m. on Black Friday.
The National Retail Federation has estimated that nationwide, more than 164 million consumers will shop over the five-day Thanksgiving weekend. Sixty-five of shoppers said they are doing so to take advantage of deals and promotions retailers are offering.
The shopping weekend started on Thanksgiving and continued on Black Friday and will resume on Small Business Saturday, Sunday and Cyber Monday.
“Consumers will be shopping all weekend and retailers will be ready to meet the demand,” said National Retail Federation president and CEO Matthew Shay. “One thing is certain — consumers are the winners no matter which day or which they shop.”
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