GREENSBORO, N.C. — More than 147 million shoppers are expected to battle Black Friday crowds this year, and toy stores in the Triad say they are ready for the rush.
Mary Pecaro was helping Santa shop for her 5-year-old granddaughter, Isabella, on Wednesday so she can avoid anything to do with Black Friday.
“No way I would take a chair out in the cold to wait for midnight to come to go in and battle all those people,” said Pecaro.
Betty Cumbee is the Assistant Store Manager of Toys & Co. in Friendly Center. She says they are working hard to get all their shelves stocked for the weekend.
“We have 25 people working Friday. We’re stocking to make sure we have everything the customer needs… making sure we have plenty of gift wrap,” Pecaro explained.
Her store will be open normal hours Friday, 9am-9pm.
Bigger stores like Toys-R-Us in Greensboro are opening up Thanksgiving evening at 8pm.
“It’s really better that way,” explained Toys-R-Us Store Manager Yong Raynor. “It spreads out the sales so there’s not as much chaos. They lines stay in order, and our guests really appreciate a more controlled opening.”
Raynor is expecting as many as 1,600 people to be lined up outside their store when they open Thanksgiving night, based on the last two years’ numbers.
Tim Maloney and his son Evan were also enjoying toy shopping.
They are visiting from New Jersey, where hurricane Sandy hit their neighborhood hard.
“We’re much more fortunate than most,” he insisted. “We have nothing to complain about. We lost a car- that’s it. There’s people who still really need a lot of help.”
That’s exactly why many stores are collecting donations for hurricane victims this year.
“It’s important to give back,” said Cumbee, pointing out the donation box at Toys & Co.
She said these next six weeks are what keep their business alive.
“I tell my employees- stand on your head for six weeks, put your roller skates on. Let’s work, then we’ll have a job next year.”