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Retailers ready for Black Friday

Factory Connection manager Jesse Walden sorts jewelry in preparation for today’s sales.

Local merchants have spent the majority of the week gearing up for today’s Black Friday sales, which traditionally bring the busiest shopping day of the year and much-needed revenue for merchants and tax revenues to cities.

Store managers are encouraging local residents to stay home and shop, saying local stores have everything one needs for their shopping without traveling to Dothan, Montgomery, Pensacola or Mobile.

JCPenney manager Dennis Cockrell said Black Friday sets the tone for the entire holiday season, and that shopping at home is very important.

“That means a lot for the local economy,” he said. “And it means a lot to our local government with the sales taxes staying here. For our customers, they save time and money not having to drive long distances. I see it as a win-win for everyone.”

Cockrell said the store opens at 4 a.m., but there is a “soft opening” at 3:30 a.m.

“We had so many people last year, we’re doing this to try and ease people in since it may be raining,” he said.

Factory Connection’s Jesse Walden said her store opens at 7 a.m. to accommodate the crowds.

“The good thing about shopping locally, is that you don’t have to waste gas,” she said. “You can spend more money shopping. It also keeps jobs and money here.”

Walden said her store, which recently moved to Sanford Station, is hoping for a huge turnout by offering a bigger store and more variety. Down the strip at Sanford Station, Cato assistant manager Cari Martin said it’s important for people to shop locally.

“We have great sales going on,” she said. “Why would you want to go out of town when you can shop here?”

Burke’s Outlet Manager Ronnie Childers said he hopes people stay home to shop.

“We would like to encourage everyone to stay at home and shop with us,” he said. “We would certainly appreciate and welcome the business.”

Childers said the store opens at 6 a.m. and will have one of the largest clearance sales with 70 percent off.

“We also have some top-secret doorbusters,” he said.

Hibbett Sports, which has two locations in town, will open its doors at 6 a.m.

Assistant manager Bobby Fleming said it’s important for local residents to shop locally.

“First of all it’s closer,” he said. “It keeps business locally, which keeps the money here.”