Local Black Friday shopping went off without a hitch, according to law enforcement and retailers.
While the crowds packed into stores to get the holiday savings, no one was arrested or injured during the fervor, according to Columbus Police Department Public Information Officer Raymond Hackler.
Instead of having officers stationed at particular stores like they have in years past, Hackler said officers were on constant patrol and conducted countless business checks throughout Thursday and Friday to make sure things ran smoothly.
At Belk department store on Highway 45, approximately 1,000 people were in line when the store opened at 6 p.m. Thursday night, according to assistant manager Rebecca Huff. The crowds kept coming until the store closed at 10 p.m. Friday, she said. Despite the large crowd, Huff said the sale went smoothly.
“We had absolutely no incidents,” Huff said Saturday. “It was a well organized event.”
In Jackson Square, Reed’s owner Lex Jackson said Friday was the best Black Friday his clothing store has experienced.
“This is the best Black Friday we’ve had ever,” Jackson said Saturday. “It was steady all day.”
Reed’s was open form 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday. While approximately 50 people were waiting in line when the door’s opened, the bulk of his business happened Friday afternoon between noon and 5 p.m., he said. Jackson estimated approximately 1,500 people came through the store.
Jackson attributed the upswing in business to gas prices and to the weather.
Noting the current gas price of approximately $2.50 a gallon at most Columbus stations, Jackson said, “It’s a state of mind. When people feel good about how things are, they’re quicker to spend money.”
Jackson said the recent cold weather snap also has a positive effect on his business.
“Our biggest motivation is cold weather,” he said. “If it’s cold now, it kind of gets people in the Christmas mood.”
Downtown, Fashion Barn owner Homer Beaty said approximately 500 people came through his clothing store Friday. Fashion Barn was open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, he said.
“We had a great, great day and I was very, very pleased,” Beaty said Saturday. “From the time we opened until the time we closed, (shoppers) were very behaved, we didn’t have any problems whatever so ever. Everything went smooth.”
Sarah Fowler covered crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.