PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The lines were ready — and so were the socks. Five minutes before their normal 5 a.m. opening, Fred Meyer stores opened on Black Friday to let shoppers in and take advantage of all the deals, including their annual sock sale.
As more people shop online, Black Friday may not have the luster it did in previous years. Still the attraction of steep discounts on specific big-ticket items was enough to get thousands of people out of bed in the early hours of Friday to spend their money for the holidays.
This was the first time in 30 years there was no parade in downtown Portland. The parade, started by Meier and Frank in 1987, was cancelled after Macy’s pulled its sponsorship and closed its downtown store this year.
The parade used to bring thousands downtown just before the local shops opened on Black Friday.
But downtown business owners who spoke with KOIN 6 News said they don’t seem to miss the parade at all, and shopping crowds got bigger as the day wore on.
The better economy and the great weather don’t hurt matters, either.
Little Boxes, a holiday campaign that encourages people to shop local, also kicked off Friday.
Most of the smaller shops featured specials 20% to 40% off everything store-wide and shop owners said traffic seems to be running ahead of where it was at this time last year.
Josh Floyd from Will Leather said it’s been low key so far.
“Nobody’s been saying they’ve been going to many other places, but you can kind of see it,” Floyd said. “They’re coming in with bags from Powell’s, from Danner and everywhere else. People are just kind of getting into it.
A couple downtown pot shops are also running specials and incentives to get customers in the door. At Rose City Wellness, they’re offering 30% off all flower products.
“Everyone is always trying to look for a bargain, so we always try to have those $30 specials,” said Kevin Humble of Rose City Wellness Center. “Since it’s Black Friday now, we’re doing a sale from now until Monday, 30% off all our top-shelf and mid-shelf flower.”
Portland police are also ready for the rush with plans for a holiday season high visibility mission. Extra officers will be patrolling in high shopping areas starting Friday and through Christmas.
But socks remained a strong early-hours draw.
The Fred Meyer store at Johnson Creek will likely sell the most sock company-wide this day, a friendly competition among the stores. Overall, Fred Meyers officials said more than 1.2 million pair of socks will be sold this season. But more than socks are on sale.
The electronics area was filled with shoppers ready to spend bucks to save bucks on iPads, PlayStations and other tech toys.
Some early shoppers told KOIN 6 News they are veteran Black Friday shoppers, but some are rookies. One rookie told KOIN 6 News she believed everyone there was “crazy” but she wanted to take part. And, she said, she met a lot of great people.