Shoppers head out for Black Friday discounts

Kent County

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — With in-person shopping expected to make a slight comeback this year over online as people work to get around supply chain issues, West Michigan stores saw early morning traffic Friday.

A couple dozen bundled up shoppers lined up early outside the Best Buy in southeast Grand Rapids before its 5 a.m. opening, many looking for a good deal on a TV.

It was the second stop for Morgan Chaffin and Miley Beakin. They were surprised to see plenty of open parking spaces.

“For like never being on Black Friday, I kind of expected it everyone says, like everyone’s fighting over stuff and stuff,” Chaffin said.

“We thought it would be a lot crazier but it’s been fun,” Beakin added.

Their first stop was Tanger Outlets near Byron Center.

“There were some lines, some big lines, at some places; we just didn’t go in there,” Chaffin said.

“We were kind of excited to see everybody like being crazy about Black Friday but we didn’t see any of that,” Beakin added.

They weren’t the only ones avoiding the lines early Friday morning.

“I didn’t get up this morning to fight the line and stand in the cold,” shopper Rose Bryant said.

She said everything moved swiftly and she was able to get a good deal on tablets to give her grandchildren for Christmas. Bryant added that she had concerns about crowds because of the pandemic but was glad to see the store wasn’t jampacked and a lot of people were wearing masks.

“There was one or two people that didn’t have their mask pulled up; they had it on but they didn’t have it up. And I always wear my mask because now we have a new variant out and it’s very scary,” she said.

If you can, you should head into your holiday shopping — in person or online — with a plan: Know what you want and compare prices ahead of time if possible.

But you should also move quickly. If you see a toy you want, it’s a good idea to snap it up.

“I would suggest shop early because if I have it in stock now, I might not have it in stock later,” Shirley Moore, the owner of the Toy Shelf in Grandville’s RiverTown Crossings mall, previously told News 8.

The reason: a there is a toy shortage this holiday season caused by supply chain problems.

Small businesses are encouraging shoppers to keep their money local. Local shops have typically been the focus of Small Business Saturday, but many shopping districts ramped up for the holidays before that.

“Small businesses always rely on this time of year, but after the year we’ve had, this is a really desperate time for a lot of businesses,” Richard App, the retail retention and attraction specialist with the city of Grand Rapids, told News 8 earlier this week.

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