By Emily Crowe
CNJ STAFF WRITER
Clovis residents welcomed the holiday shopping season with open arms over the weekend as many area businesses experienced steady business thanks to Thanksgiving sales.
Area shoppers were out in force for the newly dubbed Gray Thursday, as well as the usual Black Friday shopping. North Plains Mall General Manager Cindy Banister said the shopping center is reporting double-digit increases in shoppers compared with last year.
“We had tremendous turnout,” she said. “Our stores are very pleased.”
Banister said the size of the crowd coming out for Thursday evening deals was about the same size as previous Friday morning crowds.
While Friday morning was a little sluggish, Banister said the crowd picked up by 10 a.m. and stayed steady until 9 p.m.
“I am just amazed at the stores and the reports that they’re giving us,” Banister said.
Joe’s Boot Shop in Clovis held a Moonlight Madness sale from 9 a.m. to midnight Friday, and manager Coli Hunt said the store saw about a 2 to 3 percent decrease in sales from 2012.
“We were almost right at even from last year,” he said. “It wasn’t too bad, considering.”
Hunt said he was pleased with the turnout for the sale and the store had customers in and out until midnight.
Clovis MainStreet Executive Director Robyne Beaubien said she has only heard from a couple downtown businesses, but those that did report said they did well over the weekend.
“Overall, several had a good quarter this last quarter of the year,” Beaubien said.
Nationally, more than 92 million people hit the stores on Black Friday, up from nearly 89 million last year, according to the National Retail Federation.
Shopping traffic on Thanksgiving Day also grew as nearly 45 million shoppers took advantage of early holiday deals. This number is up from 35 million in 2012, the NRF reported.