In order to get all of his Christmas shopping done on Black Friday, Jimmy Elkin of Morris has been planning his strategy for the last month.
He has his list of gifts to buy ready, his route to get from store to store, and a schedule for what time to be at each store. Last year Elkin left to go shopping at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving Day and returned home at about 5 a.m. on Black Friday.
“I probably saved $500 by doing my Christmas shopping on Black Friday,” Elkin said.
Elkin has done his shopping the day after Thanksgiving for the last four years. If he’s not scheduled to be off work that day, he takes a vacation day.
“That’s something I am not going to miss,” he said.
“Don’t take your time and be one of the ones who waits for the ad and goes at the last minute, the stores will run out of stuff pretty fast,” Elkin advised.
If you create and execute a “battle plan,” he said, you can get all of your shopping done, plus a few things for yourself. The key to success is to make the shopping adventure fun, as well.
“I try to visit all the local businesses I can. It’s all about the ambiance. If you don’t have fun in one way or another, that’s when you get into the craziness,” Elkin said.
Menards in Morris is sure to be one of the hot spots Friday. With its doors opening at 5 a.m., a line is sure to be formed before the store is open, said Tim Black, general manager of the Morris Menards.
The store will be having a six-hour sale from 5 to 11 a.m., with every department reducing its prices, he said.
On Black Friday, the big box store usually sees twice the business of an average day.
“Every staff member in the store has a gift idea for guests who may say, ‘I don’t know what to buy for this person,’” said Black. “And then there is always the all mighty gift card.”
In recent years, Menards has been diversifying its inventory by adding food and toys, and the additions have been very successful for the chain, said Black. The toys and Menards’ large Christmas inventory, such as trees and lights, bring more than just the handyman into the store.
In addition to the 24 fake trees displayed in the Enchanted Forest, as well as animated Santas and light-up snowmen, the store also has 500 real trees from which to choose.
“We like to be the Christmas shopping destination for consumers,” Black said.
Celia McCormick of Seneca and her mom, Jenny McCormick, have been looking forward to their annual Black Friday excursion for months.
“We’ve taken other people in the past, but honestly they’re not really troopers. But my mom and I are a sure thing,” Celia McCormick said.
The first stop will be Toys R Us to hunt for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for her kids.
“You get the best for your buck there. Toys R Us sometimes has buy one, get two free,” Celia said.
The early hours, long lines and aggressive shoppers are all worth it, she said.
“You have to take advantage of the sales because you can’t really beat them,” she said.