Black Friday frenzy begins today

Shoppers might wait for hours in anticipation of Black Friday deals, but retailers have been preparing for the shopping extravaganza for months.

Plenty of planning is needed to make sure the stores can meet customers demands.

“We start planning for next year the day after Black Friday,” said Randy Hickox, store team leader at Target in Sierra North Plaza.

“We don’t do that here locally, but the company starts planning for the next year the day after. It is a nonending process. Here, we start the planning about two months before, looking at staffing and crowd control and preparing the merchandise,” Hickox said.

Like most stores, Target will open on Thanksgiving evening.

“We believe our employees should be with their families as much as possible on Thanksgiving Day, but we will open at eight o’clock in the evening,” Hickox said.

Planning also begins very early at Toys R Us, which has a store in Park Hills Plaza.

“We prepare for it all year long, beginning the day after Christmas. We have some hot toys and products, and we put them out as soon as they come in. We are focusing on the 5 p.m. Thursday opening. The final days leading up to that, our associates will make sure our shelves are stocked. We have new products coming in daily,” spokeswoman Adrienne O’Hara said.

Planning also starts months in advance at Boscov’s and Ooh La La.

“The actual planning starts before September. We start with what our buyers are projecting. Each department has its own strategy. Work in stores begins about a month in advance. We need to take that amount of time to get things displayed the way they should be,” said Duane Mohr, manager of Boscov’s in Logan Town Centre.

“We started getting the merchandise in September. That is when we start preparing for the holiday season. Monday was when we began preparing for the sales. We have to get the merchandise out and tag it and make sure we have enough staff. It is a lot of work, and it is stressful. You don’t know what the turnout is going to be. It seems like the people are waiting for the sales this year,” said Laura O’Farrell, co-owner of Ooh La La in the Logan Valley Mall, which will open at midnight Thursday.

Although planning begins several months in advance, stores get down to the nitty gritty a couple of weeks before the shopping onslaught begins.

“We start getting ready about two weeks prior to Black Friday. We know what we will be advertising so we can get the merchandise out. We want to get it out and have as little in the back as possible,” said Bill Crouse, manager of J.C. Penney in the Logan Valley Mall. “There are a lot of last minute things that we do after we close the doors on Wednesday night to get ready for when we open the doors.”

The bulk of the prep work takes places about two weeks in advance at Unkel Joe’s Woodshed in the Pleasant Valley Shopping Center.

“We need to take account of what items will be on sale and re-mark the prices. That is the worst part of it. We do all of the work during regular business hours; we don’t do any of this after hours,” owner Larry Baker said. “We won’t be open on Thankgsiving. We will open at 9 a.m. Friday, one hour earlier than usual.”

Kranich’s Jewelers in the Logan Valley Mall also gears up about two or three weeks in advance.

“We need to make sure we have extra staff to give our customers the appropriate level of service they need. We need to make sure we have enough people to help our customers,” President Charles Kranich said.

Shenk & Tittle in the Logan Valley Mall will open at 8 p.m. Thursday.

“The biggest thing here is to make sure all items are signed correctly so customers can identify what items are on sale. That takes a little work. You have to beef up your staff for the anticipated crowds. We are opening at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving night; that is unchartered territory for us. Last year we opened at midnight. No one is sure what to expect,” manager Jeff Beach said.

Although not one of its busiest days, Gardners Candies is prepared for Black Friday shoppers.

“Black Friday is a busy day for us but not nearly as busy as it is for the big ticket stores. We make sure all of our stores are well stocked and make sure our staffing is up to the appropriate levels,” President Sam Phillips said.