Black Friday starting earlier




FLINT TWP. — With stores opening as early as 6 a.m. Thanksgiving Day for the annual Black Friday shopping spree, the big news this year is which stores won’t be opening earlier.

Kmart and Meijer stores are leading the pack with blockbuster deals starting at 6 a.m. Thanksgiving morning followed by Big Lots at 7 a.m.

Most major stores have announced after-dinner opening hours with Toys R Us starting at 5 p.m., Best Buy and Walmart opening at 6 p.m. and Target, Kohl’s and most Genesee Valley Mall anchor stores opening at 8 p.m.

Menards is among stores observing the holiday as a family time and not starting its Black Friday sale until Friday.

A message to customers topping Menards Black Friday ad states: “As a family-owned company, Menards believes that Thanksgiving is a time for togetherness which should be celebrated with all those we hold dear. With this in mind, we decided to remain closed on Thanksgiving Day so you, as well as our Team Members, can celebrate this joyous time with family and friends. We will open our doors bright and early at 6 a.m. on Friday morning.”

Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, new to Flint Township this year, and Hobby Lobby are other stores closed on Thanksgiving Day. Ollie’s is opening at 5 a.m. on Black Friday and Hobby Lobby opens at 8 a.m.

Of about 140 million people who plan to shop over the Thanksgiving weekend (Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday), nearly one-fourth of them – 33 million shoppers – plan to hit the stores on Thanksgiving Day, according to a shopping survey from the National Retail Federation (NRF).

Black Friday will be the biggest day of the weekend with about 97 million shoppers, 69.1 percent of those surveyed – planning to shop that day. Additionally 43.8 percent will shop on Saturday (61 million) and 24.2 percent will shop on Sunday (34 million). And, of those who plan to shop on Thanksgiving Day this year, seven in 10 (69.2%) say they shopped online and in stores on Thanksgiving in 2012.

Savvy shoppers also are keeping track of online deals launching earlier than the traditional Cyber Monday sale.

Amazon.com kicked off its daily limited specials on Sunday November 24 and Walmart announced that it would begin matching selective competitors Black Friday prices on Friday, Nov. 22.

Flint Township Police Chief George Sippert said the department plans to meet the rush with the same game plan as in past years.

Some major stores opening earlier on Thanksgiving Day have requested that police personnel be assigned specifically to their store to deal with potential law enforcement issues, Chief Sippert said. When staffing levels permit, FTPD assigns officers to these stores with an agreement that the stores/corporations reimburse the Township for the costs.

“In addition to the normal contingent of officers working on Thanksgiving Day, officers assigned to specific stores will begin as early as 4 p.m. and continue working all through the night and all day on Black Friday,” Chief Sippert said.

Acknowledging Black Friday as an important day for local retailers and the economy, Chief Sippert said It is equally important for the business community and police department work together to ensure a safe, enjoyable experience for all.

“Given the large number of shoppers visiting the area, it is crucial that we remind everyone to be vigilant,”‘ he said. “Unfortunately these types of events also attract those who would like to take advantage of others. If shoppers notice/observe suspicious behavior or criminal activity, they are urged to call 911 immediately.”

Genesee Valley Center shopping mall is offering incentives to overnight shoppers.

Over 40 mall retailers will open at 8 p.m. on Thursday, November 28th but the mall’s “Official Opening” is at midnight, according to a press release from Kristen Cassabon, marketing manager.

From midnight until 2 a.m. Genesee Valley Center will offer “Power Hours” in the JCPenney court where shoppers can fuel up with free Rockstar Energy drinks and free Taco Bell taco coupons (while supplies last).

Liquid Entertainment’s DJ Chachi will also be on hand with music and a live radio broadcast with CK105.5.

The mall will also be giving away four $50 retailer gift cards per hour from 1-5 a.m.

Shoppers can register to win one of these gift cards in the JCPenney court beginning at midnight.

On Friday morning, from 6-8 a.m., Mike and Stephanie from CK105.5, will be broadcasting live in the JCPenney court. The first 100 shoppers can fuel up with free coffee, compliments of Coffee Beanery and free Cinnabon CinnaSweeties,

Genesee Valley Center will be open from 8 p.m., Nov.28 until 9 p.m., Nov.29 and extended hours will continue through the weekend.


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