Shoppers descend for Black Friday and beyond

Some stores in New York and around the country saw Black Fridayweekend crowds become downright dangerous. At businesses insouthern Brooklyn, though, the atmosphere was busy, but stillcivilized.

It was a little bit busier, but not too much. It was like aregular Friday, said Javier Sanchez, the assistant manager at theT-Mobile store at 440 86th Street, adding that Sunday was muchbusier.

The scene was also calmer, but no less lucrative, at localbranches of large department and electronic stores in Bay Ridge andDyker Heights, such as Century 21, The Children’s Place andRadioShack.

We had a decent weekend. We advertised that we opened at 4a.m., but really opened at 5 a.m. to control the craziness, saidMoshe Sarfaty, store manager at the P.C. Richard & Son off theGowanus Expressway, which he said benefited from being the secondstop after all of the insanity elsewhere. Most of our businesscame at 10 a.m., after everyone hit Best Buy and other stores andcouldn’t find what they wanted. We were busy straight through 11p.m.

We’ll have the numbers on December 1, [but] we beat last year,said Ashley Furniture store manager Ted Besaw. Sales went fromFriday and then into a 36-hour sale. We opened at 7 a.m., but hadcustomers waiting outside at 6 a.m., so we just let them in.

In one case, the release of the newest Michael Jordan sneakeralso helped.

There were a lot of people lined up out the door, said ArleenCaban, assistant store manager at Modell’s Sporting Goods. Saleswere a lot better than last year. We were busy all weekend and haveongoing sales this week through Christmas.

At Ceasar’s Bay Bazaar shopping center, shoppers were so calm,in fact, that the 62nd Precinct made no related arrests this year,compared to some arrests last year.

Community efforts to harness consumers’ desire to spend wiselyand locally throughout the extended weekend – including SmallBusiness Saturday – instead of in one jam-packed day may have alsohelped boost sales along with spirits.

Bina Valenzano, co-owner of The Bookmark Shoppe on Third Avenuenear 85th Street saw that first-hand.

We were okay on Friday, but for Small Business Saturday, wewere really busy and really thankful that so many local people cameout and supported their local business, said Valenzano. We wereup around 30 percent. [People bought] a lot of gifts, children’sstuff and adult fiction. There was probably about five to 10percent increase from last year.

This is exactly what local business leaders were hoping for.

From what I saw, we had a lot of shoppers, which is always agood thing [for small businesses], said Renee Giordano, executivedirector of the Sunset Park BID. I think [our holiday] trolleyhelped. People getting on and off had packages and bags, and werewaiting in lines for the trolley to come.

Patrick Condren, executive director of the 86th Street and FifthAvenue BIDs noted that every Saturday should be Small BusinessSaturday. Everybody’s pleasantly and cautiously surprised thatthere’s a little of an uptick. It’s a slight increase ofconfidence.

With that confidence comes renewed energy on other fun aspectsof the holiday season. In Sunset Park, that means more holidaytrolley rides on Sunday, December 18, and Friday, December 23.

In Bay Ridge, that means lots of music and Santa Claus. We’llbe having Santa on Saturdays now until Christmas handing out candyalong Fifth Avenue to 86th Street, said Condren. We’ll also bechiming in holiday music on 86th Street to have more caroling and afestive atmosphere on the avenues.

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