Florence retailer: Black Friday shopping ‘fast-paced, but we love it’
FLORENCE, S.C. — With familiar Christmas tunes blaring through loudspeakers in retail stores across Florence, shoppers hunted for the best deals of the young holiday season as part of Black Friday sales.
Thousands of Pee Dee residents went to popular retailers beginning early Friday morning in an effort to kick off their Christmas shopping.
Tammy Graves, human resources supervisor for J.C. Penney, said she estimates that there were more shoppers at the store this year than last year.
“Today is just about as hectic as it was yesterday,” Graves said. “It’s very fast-paced, but we love it. I really enjoy the excitement, the hustle and bustle of everyone trying to find that perfect gift. We get to be able to go out there and help people find it. We interact with them and that’s the most fun, working with the customers.”
Graves said she has seen the evolution of Black Friday, which has expanded to a full weekend now.
“It’s a whole weekend,” Graves said. “It starts on Thursday and it’s all the way through the weekend. Things may start to slow down a little on Sunday, but it’s full go.”
Marquis Jenkins, Florence store manager for Target, said the store opened at 5 p.m. Thanksgiving day and had seen a steady flow of shoppers since then, both in the store and online.
“It’s been very busy,” Jenkins said. “Our guests have really enjoyed our deals and we just want to do our best to service the community. We’re making sure that they get to enjoy their everyday life. We get to spend a little time with our family and then come and deal with the hustle and bustle and the rush of the shopping season. It’s really a lot of fun.”
Jenkins said the store couldn’t operate without its staff.
“Our staff is tremendous,” Jenkins said. “We love everything about our team and we teach them to put the customer first and we just appreciate everybody that comes in and shops with us. We appreciate things that our staff does. They are here to serve and service our community and we’re really proud of them. They do a great job.”
Claudia Beetlestone, Florence store manager for Belk, said the weekend is the retailer’s busiest time of the year.
“We’ve heard from many customers who enjoy shopping traditions around Thanksgiving and Black Friday, so it’s our pleasure to serve those looking to share in that experience with family and friends,” Beetlestone said. “This continues to be the biggest shopping weekend of the year and for the first time ever, Belk is selling smart home electronics from Amazon, Google and Nest.”
In addition to the hustle and bustle of shopping, Beetlestone said, Belk has partnered with Habitat for Humanity to donate to those who were affected by the hurricanes earlier this year.
“We take great pride in supporting our southern communities, and this giving season Belk is partnering with Habitat for Humanity to help rebuild the lives of those impacted by recent hurricanes,” Beetlestone said. “During the in-store campaign from November 22 to December 14, customers can join Belk by donating at the register to Habitat for Humanity.”