Chelsea L. McGowan

Although market indications are preparing retailers for a lean holiday shopping season, Weatherford businesses are anticipating strong turnouts on the day known as Black Friday.

Even inclement weather didn’t keep shoppers from lining up in anticipation of store openings on the day after Thanksgiving in 2007, and Target’s team leader said she expects the same turnout this year.

“Last year, people were camped out at 4 a.m., and we’re hoping for the same this year,” Carolyn Conn said. “We open at 6 a.m. on the day after Thanksgiving, and we’re expecting to see people waiting at the door.”

Many national retailers have eschewed their normal daybreak openings and announced plans to open their doors at midnight.

Conn said her company has taken a different approach with Target’s much-publicized price slash being an effort to compete in a tough market.

“We’re focusing more on items that aren’t as expensive ... like gifts we have for $25,” she said. “People are watching their money and we’re trying to address that.”

Target’s neighbor in Weatherford Marketplace, Best Buy, is also going out of their way to accommodate camped-out customers without opening their doors any earlier than last year.

“It’s just going to be business as usual,” said Dalton Lane, Weatherford Best Buy’s general manager. “We’re opening at 5 a.m., and we’ll have coffee and breakfast in the parking lot for our customers.”

Both Conn and Lane added their stores are already experiencing a Christmas rush, which could indicate Weatherford might not be hurting for revenue on this craziest of holiday shopping days.

“I really don’t know what effect the economy will have here, honestly,” Lane said. “Lately though, it feels like people are enjoying their shopping experience more than they were a month ago. It’s starting to feel like Christmas.”

And while many Weatherford shoppers are still pinching their purse strings this season, Conn said she believes they’ll still turn out in force to buy Christmas gifts.

“Personally, I’ve seen a lot of people shopping early this year,” she said. “Maybe it’s because gas is lower and people have money right now. The way things are, if you have money right now, you spend it right now.”

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