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Many Black Friday shoppers started Thursday

Shoppers focus today on Small Business Saturday

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Although some of the best deals actually came and went with the last piece of pumpkin pie late Thursday, Black Friday shoppers took to the stores in search of good deals Friday as the holiday shopping season officially got under way.

Customers filtered in and out of big box stores falling over themselves in an effort to gain the best deals that drew shoppers inside.

Michael Eller Diamonds, 2240 S. U.S. Route 68, offered its customers a free iPhone 5 or iPad mini with a minimum purchase of $1,500. Those who spent at least $2,500 were gifted a free iPad.

Staples, 2250 S. Main St., opened at 5 a.m. Friday, offering discounts throughout the store, including up to $230 off laptop computers. Likewise, Lowe’s, 2168 S. U.S. Route 68, commenced its Friday sales at 5 a.m.

Nearby in the Fontaine Plaza, stores such as Big Lots and JCPenney began offering Friday deals at 6 a.m.

Shoe Sensation, 1730 S. Main St., offered free layaway on top of its “best deals of the year.”

While there was no shortage of bargains to be had all Black Friday, much of the commotion actually got under way Thanksgiving night.

The parking lot at Wal-Mart, 2281 S. Main St., was filled to capacity by 10 p.m. Thursday and several shoppers were forced to park at the La Palma restaurant in front of the store, according to multiple accounts.

“We had to be there for the deals and some of them started at 8 and some started at 10,” Black Friday shopper Ashley Brentlinger of Lakeview said. “We were at Wal-Mart from 7 to about 10:45 (Thursday) night.”

She said most of her purchases include Christmas gifts for her children that can’t be reported so as not to spoil a child’s surprise.

By midday Friday, Mrs. Brentlinger was mostly done with her shopping, she said, but was picking up a few items at Buckeye Spirit.

buckeyespirit sign
A sign outside Buckeye Spirit, 1724 S. Main St., advertises a 50 percent off sale on Black Friday.

(Examiner Photo/Nate Smith)

Like most of the other stores in the Fontaine Plaza, Buckeye Spirit owner Arlene Fedderson opened up at 6 a.m. Her sales included half off NCAA-licensed football jerseys.

For Ms. Fedderson, every day between now and Christmas is just as important as Black Friday.

“This will be our first holiday season since moving to this location,” she said. “I expect December to be our best month of the year.”

Locally-owned businesses like Buckeye Spirit are the focus of today’s Small Business Saturday initiative, which encourages shoppers to support neighborhood small businesses.

Now in its third year, Small Business Saturday highlights locally-owned stores and reminds customers to shop local stores.

The Logan County Area Chamber of Commerce has estimated that on average, 68 cents out of every dollar spent locally stays within the community and recirculates throughout, compared to only a small fraction of the money spent in corporate stores.

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, spoke out in favor of the effort in his weekly column that appears on today’s Opinion and Editorial page.

“(Small businesses) employ about one-half of all American workers, and as they’ve done in previous recoveries, successful small businesses can truly serve as engines of job creation to put millions back to work,” he wrote. 

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