Black Friday got off to a good start in the Butler County area as some of the most well-traveled malls saw a steady stream of business on the day after Thanksgiving.
Shoppers were out in force at the $350 million Liberty Center retail complex in Liberty Twp., as families looked for bargains and enjoyed some time with Santa and walking off some turkey.
“I brought my kids to see Santa and get their picture taken,”Alicia Jones, 35, of Fairfield said. “If I see any deals out here then I might buy something too.”
Santa wasn’t only for the young folks, as some adults gathered around to get their picture taken.
“We just stopped to get a picture while we were getting something to eat and doing some shopping,” said Anne Allen, who was with her husband, Ron.
Many shoppers had their cellphones out trying to discover what retailer had the best deal and if something was cheaper online rather than in the store.
“You really have all of these 40 to 40 percent off sales happening, but something could be cheaper online,” noted Brandon Robinson, 28, of Cincinnati who was browsing at Old Navy. “But sometimes things can be out-of-stock online and you can still get it in the store.”
Bridgewater Falls had most of its parking spaces filled before noon, as shoppers were looking to score some deals at bigger retailers like JC Penney, to smaller shops like Sterling Seraph — a 1,280-square-foot storefront with a seemingly endless supply of artisan sterling silver jewelry made with rock, crystal, fossil and gemstones.
Owner, and main artist at the business, Dawn Singleton, said Black Friday is very important to her business.
“I have had a solid following in the little over a year that I have been here,” she said as a steady stream of customers lined up at the cash register. “It has been busy today already and it has so far turned out to be twice as busy as last year’s Black Friday.”
The Cincinnati Premium Outlets mall in Monroe was busy after it opened at 6 p.m. Thursday and continued to be that way through the night, according to mall officials. Business continued to be steady mid-morning Friday but mall general manager Mary Ann Mattscheck expects plenty more shoppers later into the day.
“Crowds came out in droves last night,” she said on Friday. “It’s a fun event with many people shopping with friends and family as they take advantage of exceptional savings on Black Friday. The stores put together some great promotions to bring people out. Shoppers can find bargains on many items.”
At the Coach store, Tina Brown was making sure to limit the number of people in the store so it would not go over capacity. A line formed outside the store and as people exited, more people entered for 70 percent off sale.
“We’ve been a little busy today,” she said. “Sales have been good and the line has been non-stop.”
Business at The North Face was brisk as shoppers filled both stores looking for various items of apparel and shoes. Supervisor Ann Wainright said traffic lightened up some during the morning hours but she expected a lot more Friday afternoon “after they got their second wind.”
“The weather is nice and that really helped,” she said.
Eric Huetter of the Under Armour store said they were “super-busy” from 6 p.m. Thursday until about 4 a.m. Friday. He said it picked up again after 8 a.m. After 10 a.m., the store was packed as shoppers in line snaked around fixtures to get to a cashier. Huetter said hot sellers were shoes because they are rarely at 50 percent off and cold gear such as jackets and hoodies.
While they have been shopping there before on Black Friday, Brian Dinser and his fiancee Jen Hagood of West Chester, said they came out for the 50 percent off sale at Sperry outlet store.
“We’ll go out if we need to find something,” she said. “We’re not busting the doors.”
Amanda Willis and Jada Jones said they wanted to come out but they didn’t get up early on Friday to do their shopping for some Nike shoes and sweats.
“We don’t come every year but they always have good deals,” Jones said.
Terrence Kerby of Springfield was busy filling up his car trunk with a number of bags.
“We got here at 9 a.m. because we wanted to get some good deals,” he said. “I got most of my stuff but I’m waiting for my wife and my mother-in-law who are still shopping.”
When asked where he was planning to put their items after they finished their shopping, Kerby said there was still plenty of room in the back seat.