In the early hours of Friday at Schulman Crossing, when most of the block’s light was pouring out of storefronts and patrons sat huddled in running cars waiting for the last handful of stores to open, the Miners had already hit their third Black Friday stop.

Amanda Miner, touring the city’s deals with her daughters, Chasidy, 17, and Emily, 13, is a longtime Garden City Black Friday shopper, often bringing family members along with her. That morning, Emily, past her Santa years, joined her mom and older sister on the prowl for the first time. She was tired, her mom said.

“We got up at 4 o'clock (a.m.) but we were at Walmart by 5 ... Walmart, Menards, Ulta, and then we're going to go to Target...” Miner said. “I just like it. I've done it since (Chasidy) was a baby, so I've done it for 17 years.”

Black Friday shoppers from in and around town flowed into Garden City businesses Friday morning, taking advantage of the slower crowds and remaining deals.

Most larger, chain stores had seen steady traffic in their first few hours. Sales associates and managers at Home Depot and Staples said customer circulation had been steady and on par with last year. Sales associates at Bling Glamour said the store had hit sales goals for the night before and were on track to do the same Friday.

A little less than two hours into its day, Menards had served more than 400 customers, said manager Chris Gerber, and crowds were starting to pick up after a slightly slower morning at Target, said manager Clayton Elpers. Both Menards and Target also saw rare stuffed parking lots Friday morning, standing out from the sparse lots of stores next door and nearby.

“Team members are doing well. The guests are staying safe on the floor. That's what our main concern was this morning, was being safe," Gerber said.

Elpers and Danelle Hardy, a manager at Ross, said that crowds at their stores had been larger than previous years, Elpers saying thousands had passed through the store’s doors Thursday night.

Employees and managers at Walmart, Dick’s Sporting Goods and TJ Maxx refrained from commenting.

Most shoppers said crowds had been light that morning — ”the easiest morning we've had,” said Larry Bachman, an out-of-town Garden City Black Friday shopper of over a decade — save a busy opening at Menards. Some, like Nancy Wiebe and Rodrigo Ruvalcaba, both of Garden City, thought the culprit may be a surge of Cyber Monday deals and online shopping.

The real storm of people, shoppers said, had been the night before.

Lines had stretched outside of Ulta and Target on Thanksgiving, the latter wrapping around the building, said Hailee Near of Garden City. Walmart, said James Sanchez, was chaotic.

“In Walmart, you couldn't even walk. There's no way you could have walked…” said Erik Perez of Garden City. “Today was way calmer. Last night, you can't even turn because you'd bump into somebody.”

Friday morning proved slower and steadier as shoppers bounced between stores and loaded up trunks with to-be Christmas gifts or stray bargains. They came from Garden City, Lakin, Sublette, Oakley, Kanorado and elsewhere. Shopper Arturo Vasquez drove in with family members from Dodge City for more selection.

“There’s no stores over there,” he said.

While Emily Miner walked Black Friday for the first time, and several others took up the more relaxing day over the packed, Thursday night rush, for others, the morning was a staple for the holiday season. Bachman, an Oklahoma resident visiting his family for Thanksgiving, has shopped with family members on Black Friday for 15 years, enjoying the company and buying presents for his kids and grandkids.

As his daughter-in-law, Jennifer Bachman, noted, “It’s a tradition.”

 

Contact Amber Friend at afriend@gctelegram.com.