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Experts: Black Friday shopping helps local economy
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Many people focus on the edible fare, family time and football on Thanksgiving Day.

Others look forward to the day after, aka Black Friday, to find those great holiday deals at big-box retailers. Then some venture out to “shop local” on Saturday, before searching for great online deals on “Cyber Monday.”

Jennifer Gayton, owner of District 101 Warehouse, said those three days will be busy in her store on the square in downtown Gainesville.

“It’s kind of a full weekend (because) it kicks off the holiday shopping season,” she said.

And while she is not able to offer the same kinds of discounts as the big-box stores, she does usually have a gift for her customers on Friday.

“They are in the spirit of shopping and what they find with us us quality,” she said.

The term “Black Friday” arose in the American vocabulary in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It indicates when retailers go from being in debt (or in the red) to making a profit (or in the black.)

Mike Ryan, an associate professor of economics at the University of North Georgia Gainesville campus, backed up that claim. He said annual sales during holiday season may equal up to 30 percent sales for the year.

In fact, Black Friday shopping numbers have reached in the millions in the past three years. In 2012, it brought in $89 million, followed by a jump to $92 million in 2013. However, last year the numbers dropped to $87 million.

“There is a reason for that,” Ryan said, pointing to the large use of the Internet and not just on the introduction of Cyber Monday, coined in 2005. “(Consumers) have an easier way of getting something. And they want the greater convenience.”

He explained people are shopping online during their lunch breaks and at home on their tablets.

Black Friday also contributes to the local economy by adding money into the tax base and providing employment to job seekers. Ryan estimated 700,000 to 750,000 will be employed because of the holiday shopping season.

Kit Dunlap, president and chief executive offices of the Greater Hall Chamber, said spending money on Black Friday in the city or county helps the tax base.

“Those taxes support the infrastructure and the school and everything in Hall County,” she said.

But Dunlap admitted she has mixed feelings about Black Friday. While she chooses not to shop that day — electing to spend time with her children and grandchildren sharing a meal, playing a game or watching football on television — she understands the importance of the dollars spent at local stores.

“You have to think about the stores and retailers and how they make their (money) between Thanksgiving and Christmas,” she said

However, some bigger retailers are opening their doors on Thanksgiving. Gayton thinks that’s a shame.

“I’m a little disappointed it has become Thanksgiving Thursday,” she said. “We should be closed and spend that time with family.”

Gayton said her business will not be open Thursday, but it will open a little early Friday.

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