Black Friday Merchants Optimistic; Busier Than Last Year

Some of the Train Display Hosted by the Maine Garden Railway Society at the Maine Mall

By Carol McCracken  (Post # 642)

Merchants at the Maine Mall in South Portland were  upbeat about sales on the day after Thanksgiving – known as Black Friday –  often touted as the busiest shopping day of the holiday season.

Stores selling warm winter clothing seemed to be the  busiest and consequently their managers most satisfied with the day’s business as of early this afternoon.  An assistant manager at the new Supershoes store at the Mall said she was very pleased with the sales as of early afternoon.  Between 6 am and noon, the store had already done $30,000 worth of business.   The best selling womens footware was the Bear Paws boot.  The store opened up just a month ago in time for holiday sales.   This is a large chain with stores along the New England coastline.  The district manager for Olympic Sports was similarly pleased with sales in this branch.  “It’s been very busy all day,” he said smiling.  The store was selling lots of winter jackets, boots and skiing clothing.  Just how sales compare with last year is yet to be determined, Josh said.

The manager at Border’s Books said the public should know that Black Friday is not the busiest day of the holiday season.  “We’ll get busier as we get closer to Christmas,” Gail said.   A new item in the store this year is the e-reading machines which are on sale as well.  The store manager at Penneys was “too busy to come out of her office” to talk to MHN.com.  A co-manager at Forever XXI said the store was definitely busier than last year, but could not say more than that since corporate headquarters required her silence.  That is true of most of the chain stores MHN.com encountered at the Mall.

A new tradition may have begun for those who love train displays.  Located near Santa Claus (who was taking a break and unavailable to be interviewed)  was a 325 ft. display of five different rail lines on display by volunteers for the 9 year old Maine Garden Railway Soceity.   “We want to being back what we saw as children at Christmas –   an old fashioned Christmas and integrate it with computers as well,” said Barry Sanford,  one of the volunteers.  The trains cover the period of the 1930’s up to modern times.  “We pooled all our resources to get this display up,” said  Carl Churchill, president of the non-profit.  This is out first year at the Mall and we may well be back next year – making this an annual event at the Mall, Churchill said.  Please email mgrsadmin@gmail.com for more information about this membership organization. 

Amanda Kent, who with her husband, Nicholas, owns the Portland Dine Around Club, said she thought sales were up a little over last year.  She also said, “people seem a little happier this year and less depressed”  than last year.    See www.dineportland.com for more information.  “Predictions are that sales will be up around 3% from last year and I think that’s probably accurate,” Kent added.