Business

Black Friday brings the crowds to stores

Shoppers fill Bellevue Square on Black Friday, Nov. 23. The Bellevue Collection, including the Square, Lincoln Square and Bellevue Place – all part of Kemper Development – is coming off 37 consecutive months of increases, many of them double-digit.  - Celina Kareiva, Bellevue Reporter
Shoppers fill Bellevue Square on Black Friday, Nov. 23. The Bellevue Collection, including the Square, Lincoln Square and Bellevue Place – all part of Kemper Development – is coming off 37 consecutive months of increases, many of them double-digit.
— image credit: Celina Kareiva, Bellevue Reporter

While everyone else settled in for their long, post-Thanksgiving weekend, Jennifer Leavitt, Vice President of Marketing for The Bellevue Collection, found herself brandishing wreathes and unpacking holiday décor until 4 a.m. Wednesday night.

Black Friday may be best known for its crowds and door-buster savings, but much takes place behind the scenes. From when doors close Wednesday, to the moment they open again Friday morning, decorations have to be arranged, traffic cops organized and stores briefed on security operations.

“It’s a huge undertaking for our team,” said Leavitt, who began working for The Bellevue Collection 27 years ago as an intern. She says she measures her experience by the number of Santa Claus arrivals she’s witnessed through the years.

This Black Friday was no different. Shoppers turned out en masse for unbeatable deals. The Bellevue Collection was open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. last Friday, though exceptions were made for stores like Macy’s, which opened at midnight and joined a host of other retailers trending toward earlier hours.

Attractions included deals as much as 50 percent and Santa’s Arrival Parade.

“There’s a certain togetherness,” said Leavitt of the Black Friday buzz. “I think people like the emotional side of the experience. And I think people have been pent up — to spend, or not to spend — because of the recession.”

“People spend a lot of time on Thanksgiving in the spirit of giving and gifts. And I think most people come out [on Black Friday] for the experience of the community,” said Rich Trifeletti a senior manager at Bellevue’s Apple store.

Last year on Black Friday alone, Leavitt estimates The Bellevue Collection saw 72,000 people. If carloads are adjusted, that number may be closer to 100,000. This year’s holiday shopping season is longer than most, but based on crowds Leavitt anticipated an uptick in business. A sizable portion of that market is Vancouver, B.C., shoppers who make the trip down for good deals, she explained.

“We’re expecting a good holiday,” Leavitt said. “We’ve been able to see our own trending sales.…And I think that says a lot for what’s going on in the market.”

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