‘Black Friday’ started Thursday evening

........................................................................................................................................................................................

The Socorro Flea Market may have been one of the busiest spots in town Friday morning, Black Friday in Socorro. Parking lots at the larger retail chains in town were bustling more than usual, and sales were up slightly. There was a slight rush early at Walmart, according to manager Nico Vassol, but by 8:30 a.m. the bulk of activity seemed to be at the customer service counter, where customers were making exchanges and returns from purchases made the night before, when Thanksgiving Day sales were on. Walmart offered advertised specials beginning at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 28, and continuing at various times throughout the weekend.

Western Merchantile was reported a good sales day on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, with an approximate 50 percent increase in sales over last year on each day.

“Friday was really good,” Western Mechantile’s assistant manager Sandy Hammack said. “Looking at sales from last year, Saturday was up (by 50 percent) too.”

Hammack said Sunday was “just kind of normal.”

Jerry Gum, manager for Western Mechantile, said that is about normal for their sales the weekend after Thanksgiving.

“In the past, Friday and Saturday are good, and Sunday is just normal.” Gum said.

Hammack said that sales were much better this year than for the same weekend last year, so not just up from general sales throughout the year.

Most stores in the community did not appear to offer special deals for Black Friday or Small Business Saturday.

“We offer the best prices throughout the year,” Brownbilt manager Gianna Lara-Matthews said. “We don’t mark our prices way up in August so that we can discount them back to normal prices during the holidays.” Lara-Matthews indicated that this was the strategy of some of the larger retail chains.

“We encourage local shopping throughout the year,” Lara-Matthews said, pointing to a decal on the front door provided by American Express that promotes shopping local.

Lara-Matthews emphasized that, counter to the belief of some and their past experience with Brownbilt, the store attempts to offer a broad array of contemporary clothing and assessories now, not just western wear.

Traffic around town was up on Black Friday, especially at stores such as Ace Hardware and Walmart. The Socorro Police Department conducted their “Toys from Cops to Tots” drive in front of Walmart on Thanksgiving day and Black Friday. Capt. Angel Garcia said they had received a lot of donations, and that from his perspective the store seemed busy.

“Our community is very generous,” Capt. Garcia said. “We have been doing this drive for 19 years.”

Garcia said that the store seemed busiest on Thursday evening –– Thanksgiving Day.

“I was here until 11 p.m.” Garcia said. “It was really busy when they started their sales at 6 and 8, and people stuck around.”

That is when the police department received the most donations, as well. Individuals can make donations for the police department’s toy drive up through Dec. 20, when the distribution begins. Families needing help can also contact the Socorro Police Department, or notify one of the schools.