Local businesses report brisk sales on unofficial first day of Christmas shopping season
by Rachel Davis
Nov 24, 2012 | 1752 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
J.C. Penney associates Laura Cash and Katie Sullivan, at right, check out customers on Black Friday at the Jasper Mall. Photo by: Daniel Gaddy
J.C. Penney associates Laura Cash and Katie Sullivan, at right, check out customers on Black Friday at the Jasper Mall. Photo by: Daniel Gaddy
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For the first year, shoppers at Jasper Mall had the option to begin their shopping at midnight for many of the larger chain stores.

Customers lined up for Bath and Body Works at midnight and the store reported a large number of customers, followed by a lull until about midday.

The Children’s Place, which also opened at midnight, reported a more steady stream of customers but assistant manager Mandy West said customers did seem to be coming in waves.

Deb Langley, who owns Deb & Co., chose not to open at midnight, and instead opened early this morning.

“So far things are good,” Langley said. “Our numbers are running about even with last year. Hour by hour it may be a little ahead of last year.”

One contributing factor to the lack of overwhelming crowds may have been the fact that many stores, such as Walmart, began their sales last night, distributing the bargainseekers over two days. Other stores maintained sales all day, rather than running so many doorbusters sales early in the morning.

The day-long sales still drew serious shoppers who were determined to make a dent in their Christmas shopping early.

Juanita Elsberry, of Dora, avoided the midnight sales, but said she left home about 6 a.m. to hit sales at Belk and other stores inside the mall. By noon, she had made a number of gift purchases and said she was shopped out. “We’re just trying to get our Christmas shopping done,” Elsberry said. “I’ve done about all that I’m going to. I’m ready to go home.”

No issues or incidents of overzealous shoppers were reported and overall most shoppers and retailers reported that things had been pretty calm this year.

“Everybody seems to be in a pretty good mood today,” West said.

The Jasper Mall will begin holiday hours, opening from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. today, noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays through Christmas and, starting Dec. 3, will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Distance no problem for

Ala. Black Friday shoppers

MONTGOMERY (AP) — Distance was no object for Alabama shoppers looking for the best Black Friday deals.

The Sprinkle family traveled almost 200 miles from the Mobile County town of Coden to Montgomery on a trip that combined three favorite family activities — football, hunting and shopping.

For 55-year-old John Sprinkle of Coden the shopping was fine as he and family members found most of the items on their lists as they strolled from store to store at Montgomery’s Eastdale Mall. The shopping was mixed in between some hunting and plans Saturday by some family members to attend the football game between Alabama and Auburn.

The Sprinkle family was among thousands that visited shopping areas across the state Friday.

Traffic was heavy around the massive Riverchase Galleria mall in suburban Birmingham.