TRAVERSE CITY — Matt Smith goes where the ads and sales take him on Black Friday.
“I’ve got six kids, so I’ve got to get everything cheap when it’s on sale,” said Smith while he perused laptops at Best Buy on U.S. 31.
Smith, of Cadillac, usually starts his Black Friday shopping early in the morning, but he’s considering shopping on Thanksgiving Day because numerous big-box retailers in northern Michigan will open on the holiday to accommodate shoppers eager to cash in on sales.
“We look at it as a way to reward our loyal customers,” Best Buy General Manager Brian Sawa said of his store’s scheduled 6 p.m. opening Thursday.
Sawa said his Best Buy was already in “full Thanksgiving mode” Tuesday with several pre-Black Friday sales already in swing. The store has hired and trained additional employees since September, but the real work starts today when staffers move big-ticket sales items like large televisions and tablet devices onto the floor.
“Our customers make it an event,” Sawa said. “It’s friends and family. It’s groups that come in and they go from store to store. Every year we have a lot of fun with it.”
Smith said he’s happy more stores plan to open on Thanksgiving this year. It’s more convenient, he said, and Black Friday in general has become less of an ordeal in recent years than it was in the past.
“You still have some of the craziness, but not like it use to be,” Smith said.
Other shoppers were less enthusiastic about stores opening on Thanksgiving.
“That should be a day for family and friends to get together,” said Richard Keckler of South Boardman.
Michigan retailers forecast holiday sales will increase by 1.3 percent on average this year over the 2012 holiday season, according to the Michigan Retail Index. The index is a collaboration between the Michigan Retailers Association and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.