Sparse crowds wake up early for Black Friday shopping in Christiansburg
CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - At 3 a.m., the parking lot outside of Best Buy in Christiansburg had two lonely cars filled with occupants trying to stay warm in the below-40-degree temperatures.
By 3:30 a.m. they’d decided to brave the cold and be the first in line to get their hands on the highly-sought-after Play Station 5. However, 15 minutes later they were back in their cars because the PS5 was not in stock, even on the biggest shopping day of the year.
“It’s like the hottest thing out right now,” teenager Jeremiah Mills said. “Like everyone really wants it. To be out here, it’s just hard to get really. It’s out everywhere now.”
“I know a lot of games just look better,” Mills’ friend, Jayron Thompson said. “2K looks better. The new Spiderman game looks better and all of that.”
Best Buy remained closed on Thanksgiving day. When its doors opened at 5 a.m. Friday, only a dozen or so people were waiting in line, 6 feet apart. A far cry from the typical Black Friday crowds in a non-pandemic year.
The ones who stayed were in the market for laptops and flat screen TVs.
Dick’s Sporting Goods and Kohl’s also opened at 5 a.m. with minimum crowds. Then groups of people trickled into the Uptown Christiansburg, formerly known as the New River Valley Mall, when its doors opened at 7 a.m.
“We still expect the customers to come out, but obviously it will be at a different traffic pattern than what we’ve seen in the past,” Joseph Kun, general manager, said. “Most of the retailers have started their deals much earlier. A lot of them have been going on all month long as opposed to just a big Black Friday push. So that will change the traffic pattern, but you’ll still see your traditional shoppers that’ll be out here today. It just may be more spread out throughout the day instead of that big rush like we’re used to seeing on a Black Friday.”
Two other changes happening later on in December are Santa’s visit to Uptown Christiansburg and the annual Christiansburg Christmas parade.
Santa will be at the mall beginning Dec. 5. But instead of sitting on his lap to tell him your wish list and take pictures, families will be socially distanced from the big man in red. Appointments also have to be made online to avoid crowding.
This year’s parade Dec. 11 will be a reverse parade in the back parking lot of the mall. Floats will be lined up along a route for cars to drive by and occupants to wave to the different exhibits.
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