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Early Black Friday start tasted good to mall businesses

 A sweet start to the holiday shopping season has Westfield Great Northern business officials looking to continue the better times.
 After having the mall’s firstever midnight start to Black Friday, the traditional kickoff to the Christmas shopping season, both mall and store officials were pleased.
 “I’m excited about it, I think the promotion went very well,” mall General Manager Kurt Reddick said. “People really seemed to enjoy being out there and doing some shopping.”
 A dozen businesses opened their doors at midnight, with most of the rest of the stores having staggered opening times between 3 and 5 a.m. Reddick said he couldn’t speak to specific sales figures for different stores, but said he’s hearing good things from the retailers.
 “People I’ve spoken with said it went well and that sales were good,” he said.
 Mall Marketing Director Annie Dorsey was on hand for the early start to pass out gift cards and award prizes to some early shoppers. She was pleased with the turnout.
 “We had a big crowd of people waiting at the front door to come in,” she said. “They headed for all the stores, but I know we had a couple of hundred people lined up pretty quickly at the Disney Store for one.”
 She said Great Northern officials had seen early starts at other Westfield facilities and decided to try it.
 “It was something different,but we thought it could work here,” she said.
 Dorsey said all the stores were busy, but noted one was especially appreciated by customers and retailers alike.
 “There were a lot of people at Cinnabon all night and morning,” she said. “I’m pretty sure people were downing that coffee and getting cinnamon rolls.”
 Diana Prieskorn, bakery manager for Cinnabon, said the Black Friday business played a large part in the business hitting a big number.
 “We’re the number one Cinnabon in the country right now,” she said. “We had a great Black Friday here. Our numbers were up 65 percent.”
 Prieskorn said she and the rest of the staff were busy.
 “I worked 18 or 19 hours that day,” she said. “We had people coming here the whole time.”
 She said the way the day started was an advantage.
 “It was good having a relatively smaller number of stores open at first to see how it went,’ she said. “Everything seemed to go well.”
 Prieskorn said she would be willing to open early again.
 “It was busy and fun,” she said. “But, we’d do it again.”
 Reddick said he and mall officials will work with businesses to try and keep the momentum going throughout the holiday season.
 “We’ll do what we can,” he said. “We’re cautiously optimistic, but so far we’re doing better.”
 Reddick said the mall can do an early start again next year on Black Friday.
 “If the demand and support is there with the stores, I’d support doing it again,” he said.

 

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