By Ben Jacobson
Herald Staff Writer
Minor quibbles like a down economy and a multi-year recession didn’t appear to slow down the onslaught of holiday shoppers at Clinton’s major retailers Friday.
Lines at Target stretched around two sides of the building, and the line at Kohl’s wasn’t much smaller. Walmart was packed with holiday shoppers for hours, trying to land one of the coveted “doorbuster” deals.
Black Friday is one of the most important days of the year for national retailers, who schedule ridiculous sales to coincide with the start of the winter holiday season. But for local retail outlets, the day after Thanksgiving is equally important.
Steve Blackburn, manager of Brown’s Shoe Fit Co. said the day had been hectic, as customers flocked to take advantage of sale prices. If a customer purchases two pairs of shoes, the third pair is free.
“It’s a typical Black Friday,” Blackburn said. “It’s busier, certainly (than normal days).”
The sale began at 9 a.m. yesterday, and continues for three days. The store was so busy that Blackburn was only available for a brief conversation as he needed to tend to customers in the shop.
Paul’s Discount Store opened at 5 a.m. to accommodate the holiday rush. Owner Rob Cassidy said that Black Friday is an important day for the locally owned retailer, which also has a branch in Iowa City.
“Historically, it’s our busiest day of the year,” he said.
Major sales in clothes, sporting goods, hardware and toys were the major draws this season. Though the store experienced a steady flow of customers throughout the day, Cassidy believes the crowd is more spread out than usual. This, he thinks, is due to the variety of sale start times with the major retailers.
“Until this year it seemed like the major retailers opened, for the most part, at similar hours,” Cassidy said.
Traditionally, retailers have opened in the early morning hours, but Cassidy said that this year, doors opened at midnight in many places, splintering the shopping crowd. He also believes the football game between the University of Iowa and the University of Nebraska may have kept shoppers home until later in the afternoon.
The game plan for next year may be altered somewhat, Cassidy said. But it’s never too early to start preparing for Black Friday.
“The best day to evaluate for next year is basically the day after the sale’s over, while it’s fresh in your mind,” Cassidy said.