Smart Phone Apps, Earlier Open Times Alleviate Black Friday Crowds

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Businesses in Grand Island are celebrating the kick-off to their busiest time of the year.

“Many small businesses begin to see about 70% or higher of their business transactions, their money coming in, from the Black Friday date through the first of the year,” Grand Island Chamber of Commerce President Cindy Johnson says.

The most anticipated shopping day of the year actually started on Thanksgiving day for lots of people in Grand Island this year.

Store managers say this year’s Black Friday in Grand Island has been busy.

“It’s been real good, we’ve had pretty typical preparations, we’ve opened at our typical time, we’ve had very typical crowd response, it’s been nothing but good, positive things here,” Menards Manager Marty Ingebretsen says.

But for a lot of shoppers, this year’s event meant setting their alarm clocks earlier than ever.

“Best Buy and Younkers opened at midnight, so we had quite a few lines that were ready for that,” Conestoga Mall General Manager Tony Schultz says. “We had a couple of the stores open at 3 and at 4 and then we opened the main mall at 6.”

“We went by the Walmart last night about 10 o’clock and it was crazy,” Grand Island shopper Lorry Dinkelman says. “The parking field was full.”

Shoppers say the earlier store opening times in addition to smart phone applications and Black Friday websites that help shoppers target specific items have made Friday’s crowds more manageable than previous years.

“I think a lot of people did shop at midnight and now today it really hasn’t been as busy,” Dinkelman says.

Grand Island Chamber of Commerce Workforce Coordinator Mary Berlie says the free Black Friday applications for smart phone users are helping people find just what they’re looking for, in less time.

“They’re categorized by different stores, different items, you can shop by price, you can even shop by door busters, what’s going to be the hot item that they’re going to be offering for super cheap,” Berlie says.

They’ll even give you directions to the closest store carrying the product you’re looking for.

Ingebretsen says applications like these help people get in and out of the stores faster.

“People can have an idea ahead of time of what they’re after,” Ingebretsen says. “That’s really assisted the guests so when they come in, they know what they want.”

Smart Phone Apps, Earlier Open Times Alleviate Black Friday Crowds


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