Eager shoppers devour after-Thanksgiving sales here

Published 10:35 pm Saturday, November 29, 2003

By By JOANNA ARNETT / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Dennis Carlson, general manager of Wal-Mart in Niles, was grinning from ear to ear Friday morning.
Wal-Mart, located at 2107 S. 11th St., is currently undergoing expansion to become a Super Wal-Mart, but that didn't hinder the hundreds of people clamoring at the doors at 6 a.m. Friday morning for their traditional post-Thanksgiving shopping fix.
The After-Thanksgiving sale, notably the biggest shopping day of the year in the U.S., is an event that not many businesses decline to indulge in. With price reductions of up to 70 percent at many stores, many people eager for bargains roll out of bed before the sun comes up to drive to as many stores as possible to get their Christmas shopping done.
Many smaller businesses in the area are typically frustrated about their appeal being taken away by mega-centers and the mall in the Grape Road area 15 minutes away in Mishawaka, Ind., but this year many stores are pleased to notice an increase in hometown shopping.
Bookout's in Niles, a furniture store also currently under remodeling, had an exceptional morning as well.
The crowd was "huge! We're nearly sold out of the $19 clocks," exclaimed General Manager Bob Harris. "We've been open since 9 a.m. We've even sold a few of the grandfather clocks."
Bookout's, whose business has "doubled in the last year," is going to be turned into a gallery store.
Big Lots, on the corner of Bell Road and US 31, was 15 percent above last year's height for post-Thanksgiving revenue.
Big Lots, which expanded its Niles store two years ago, had already sold out of sculpture reindeer, lawn decorations, cordless drills, and had nearly sold out of Barbies, Hot Wheels, and Fisher Price toys.
Mardy Grzegorek, general manager of Majerek's Hallmark Reader's World, 312 Main St. in downtown Niles, was pretty optimistic about this year's shopping.
Radio Shack, located at 722 S. 11th Street, has had their share of shopper enthusiasm. Since their opening at 7 a.m., they had a steady stream of people.
Radio Shack has been participating in the After-Thanksgiving frenzy for about five years.