Shawnee area businesses are expecting a lot of activity for Black Friday shopping today, but several area businesses report they've been busy all week and hope the increased traffic continues through Christmas.
Phil Hartoon of Hartoon Jewelers said they've been busy but he expects to be even busier today and Saturday.
"From the beginning of the week it started out like gangbusters — we're thrilled," Hartoon said. "I think we'll have a good Friday."
Hartoon said the days after Thanksgiving are typically the busiest, with mostly ladies jewelry sold as Christmas gifts.
"And we get even busier the closer we get to Christmas — guys tend to procrastinate a bit," he said.
Shawnee Mall Manager Scott Kingrey said the shopping season looks "very promising."
Several mall merchants are planning to open their stores earlier than last year, he said, including Sears, The Buckle, American Eagle, and others.
"Merchants are having to step up because their customers have lots of options," Kingrey said. "The merchants are working really, really hard to get a crack at people's business."
Several stores at the mall were set to open at midnight.
"That's six hours more of shopping," he said.
"That's the beginning [Black Friday] and then it gets busier and busier," he said.
Kingrey added that things should stay steady until Christmas.
Some shoppers had a busy Thursday as the Shawnee Kmart was open on Thanksgiving.
"Traffic has been steady," Kmart Manager Monty Swain said.
"It's all about electronics," he added. "That's what people are standing in line for."
Laptops, music players, tablets, and any other electronics are very popular this year, Swain said, adding several people have called to ensure their electronic of choice will be there.
The Christmas season is also busy time in the floral business.
Bobby Fincher, owner of Graves Floral, said they've been busy with Thanksgiving dinner centerpieces and are awaiting the arrival next week of more than 350 poinsettias.
Also busy this time of year are those ordering grave blankets, he said, along with the traditional Christmas wreaths, with them offering both fresh and silk wreaths.
"I think it's been good," Fincher said about the holiday rush, although he said he's not sure how the economy will affect everyone this year.
Marta Land, owner of House of Flowers, said she expects to have a good turn out today and sell a lot of Christmas décor that she has prepared for the sale.
"You don't want to have too much merchandise, but you don't want to have too little," Land said.
Page 2 of 2 - Claudia Crow, co-owner of Main Street Fruit Market, said they started getting busy before Thanksgiving and expects it will remain steady until Christmas.
And while their fruit baskets are popular gift items around the holidays, it's the season itself — and the history of the market — that lends to the popularity of some items over the generations, she said.
Crow said traditional items, such as candies and a huge selection of spices, draw in the crowds this time of year.
"Our traffic has been really good," she said. Baring any bad weather, Crow expects a busy and consistent season. Crow said she encourages everyone to shop locally and keep their tax dollars at home.
At Expressions Home Accessories, business has been booming all week.
Owner Vicki Godwin said their free gift-wrapping tends to draw in the crowds, as was the case on Wednesday.
"There's not a parking space here right now," she said. "I think we're going to have a good season — I'm grateful."
Godwin said jewelry and Bare Minerals makeup are popular this year, along with zebra popcorn.
"It flies out the door," she said.
Kent Ellwanger of Ell's Jewelry said they began sales before Black Friday, bringing in a lot of business all week.
"If it keeps up, it's going to be a good Christmas," Ellwanger said, encouraging everyone to shop locally.
Ellwanger said along with Pandora jewelry being a top seller, watches and William Henry knives are popular gifts for men this season.