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Holiday shoppers hit Park City

Black Friday was good, but not great for Park City retailers.

The day after Thanksgiving is traditionally one of the biggest shopping days of the year. But without any hard numbers on hand, many people were saying Friday was unusually slow.

Nancy Gray, general manager of the Tanger Outlet Center, said traffic counts were high and participation in its second-annual "Midnight Madness" sale was good.

Thanksgiving night at 12 a.m., 250 were lined up at Tanger to get their free gift for participating in the sale, Gray said. She didn’t get to bed until after 7 a.m. While numbers were still soft Friday morning, it appeared that sales were strong, she said.

It looked a little slow to Gerald and Mary Matt from South Jordan who make shopping at Tanger an annual tradition. The two started at 4 a.m. but stopped at five Salt Lake stores before getting to Tanger around 8 a.m. They usually hit Tanger first and said it’s hard to find parking, but Friday it was no problem.

Cody Jones from Huntington Beach, Calif. came to Tanger with his in-laws around 8 a.m., and said last year cars were lined up trying to park at 7 a.m.

Shopping at Tanger is a family tradition for Shawn Olsen who said they’ve started around 4:30 a.m. every Black Friday for as long as he can remember. Rumprasad Boppana from Salt Lake said it’s becoming a tradition for his family, but that he’d never do the early morning foray.

Redstone Plaza stores and Main Street largely didn’t open until after 10 a.m. Friday afternoon, however, Main Street was busy with foot traffic.

Shauna Hansen, manager at Backscratcher Tees, said it was busier than normal for a Black Friday and her calculations are that this season should be better than last now that the elections are over.

Vickie Robinson at Dugins West Clothing Co. said foot traffic was normal for this time of year and thought that customers might be spending a little less, but couldn’t really tell a difference yet from previous Black Fridays.

Julianne Rosen-Carone, owner of Rocky Mountain Christmas, noticed a major difference. Not only were people spending less, but the store wasn’t as busy.

"It’s been slow and steady, but not nearly anything like last year this time of day; it was so filled you couldn’t even move around. People were waiting outside to come in," she said.

She thinks the reason might be several factors combined, but doesn’t think the lack of snow has had much to do with it.

"(Hotel) bookings are down in town and because of the economy I’m seeing people I know who normally spend $100 only spend $40 and look harder for bargains," she said.


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