Published Date Written by Tom EastmanBy Tom Eastman
CONWAY — Local stores were busy during the night and day leading into Black Friday.
Emily George, marketing assistant at Settlers' Green Outlet Village, said sales were strong overnight on Black Friday for its Midnight to Morning Madness, with the shopping frenzy continuing during daylight hours.
“We had a huge line of shoppers waiting at midnight,” said George.
Among the promotions during Settlers' Green’s Morning to Madness Black Friday event were:
• Free coffee, donuts and treats from midnight on.
• Free gifts to the first 200 shoppers from midnight to 1 a.m.
• All shoppers from midnight to 5 a.m. enter to win a $250 gift certificate.
• All shoppers from 5 to 8 a.m. enter to win a $250 gift certificate.
• A drawing every hour on Black Friday for merchandise prizes and gift certificates.
“We gave out tons of gifts,” said George. “We are continuing to see many Canadians shopping with us. I would say half of the people I spoke with today were Canadian. I saw a lot of Canadian license plates on cars in the parking lots.”
George was among the shoppers who gathered at Walmart for its sales Thanksgiving night. “It was crazy!" she said, noting she arrived at 9 to get in line to get tickets for the 10 p.m. Ipad opening. “I got mine, and was out of there by midnight,” she said, noting that demand was strong at Walmart among flat screen TV shoppers.
The Walmart manager could not be reached Friday. The parking lot was full and so was the lot at Chick's at 9:30 p.m. Thursday night, according to a passerby.
Settlers' Green's next big event is its holiday treelighting festival Dec. 1.
Ben Gutowski, owner-manager of Sears North Conway, said some shoppers lined up at 3 a.m. Friday for the store's opening at 4 a.m. “It's been an unbelievable Black Friday. Our doorbuster sales, by the way, continue through the weekend,” said Gutowski, who stressed that in addition to the sales of Black Friday, Sears can always order and lay away products for customers throughout the shopping season.
A line of shoppers waited outside of Joe Jones Sun and Ski Sports at 8:30 a.m. for the start of its fire sale on Black Friday. The store reopened that day, following an Oct. 24 fire. The store was offering 50 percent off on equipment, and 70 percent off on apparel and accessories.
“We're doing a lot of business, going through a lot of inventory for sure,” said Michael Ahearn of Joe Jones Friday afternoon.
Also in North Conway, shoppers flocked to such stores as Zeb's General Store and other local shops.
“Black Friday is not as crazy for us as Fantastic Saturday. A lot of people hit the big box stores Black Friday, then they hit the stores they really want to go to on Saturday, which is Small Business Saturday. We had a very good start this morning — nice to see them at the door first thing in the morning. They did go straight to our coffee,” said store manager Ray Boutin, noting that shoppers did appear go be a bit sleep deprived upon arrival after shopping at the Midnight Madness and other all-night stores the night before.
North Conway Village is expected to be busy Saturday with the Snowflake Festival being presented by the Shops of Norcross Circle from 3 to 7 p.m. The events will be highlighted by face painting and visits by the Grinch Who Stole Christmas cast from M&D Productions.
In addition to those activities, North Conway Village will have its Schouler Park rink dedication at 4 p.m., followed by the village Christmas treelighting at 5 p.m.