Black Friday draws crowds

A line a shoppers snake through the aisles of Best Buy on Friday. Photo by Francisco E. Jimenez/The Monitor

Despite competition from the internet and the increasing popularity of longer sales around Thanksgiving, Upper Valley retailers say Black Friday shopping was busy this year and crowds were consistent with previous years.

Arthur Aviles, assistant store manager at the Home Depot on Trenton in McAllen, says there were about 300 people waiting outside when the store opened at 6 a.m.

“I’ve worked here for 10 years, and people just like to come to Home Depot on Friday. I think a lot of it is driven by the plants, poinsettias and stuff,” he said.

Aviles says compared to previous years, the morning crowd was light, but he was expecting overall numbers to remain similar.

“Slow start, but traffic is picking up,” Aviles said “We should see pretty good traffic throughout the whole day. We’ve been pretty busy all week, so it’s going great.”

Aviles says many of the deals running Friday aren’t readily available online.

“You almost have to come in the store,” he said. “They want to see if we have that one nugget, that one gem, they might find.”

Mike Aguilar, of Edinburg, decided to do some bargain hunting with his family at Aviles’ Home Depot Friday.

“We’re here for the sales,” he said.

Shoppers look for Black Friday bargains at Home Deport in McAllen. Photo by Francisco E. Jimenez/The Monitor

Aguilar says many years Black Friday shopping helps occupy some free time in their holiday schedule.

“We do it just to get out of the house,” he said. “We don’t plan for it, but if the opportunity comes, why not?”

Increasingly, stores have begun extending Black Friday deals. Aviles says Home Depot’s specials will run for a week. World Market, in Pharr, has been running their Black Friday deals for weeks.

Cole Murphy, the store’s general manager, says about 50 people were waiting outside when the store opened, despite the deals having been available most of November.

“Perhaps it’s just nostalgia, they enjoy coming out on Black Friday, it’s part of a tradition,” he said.

Murphy says he isn’t sure whether running deals all month will hurt the store’s turnout on Friday.

“We’re not quite far into enough to tell yet, but we’ll see,” he said. “We get a rush at the very beginning, of course, and then it picks up in the afternoon.”