Staff photo by Cole Dittmer
Black Friday was a busy day for local businesses like Sweetwater Surf Shop where Firewire Surfboards, wetsuits and clothes were popular purchases for shoppers.
Although they may not have joined the race to see which store could open earliest on Thanksgiving evening, many local businesses around Wrightsville Beach and Wilmington shared in the shopping frenzy that is Black Friday.
Estelle Baker, owner of The Fisherman’s Wife, said 2013 was the store’s best Black Friday shopping weekend to date.
“We sold a lot,” Baker said. “Even though we closed at 3 p.m. on Saturday we had a good Saturday as well. I am just very thankful right now.”
Baker said the most popular items Friday ranged from everything in the store, primarily a new line of soy candles out of Charleston, S.C., which are poured into recycled wine bottles.
The mix of shoppers on Friday varied between locals and those visiting the area, Baker said, adding that the question of the day was, “Where should I go to watch the flotilla?”
With the North Carolina Holiday Flotilla Saturday evening Baker said she believes it helps amplify the business on Black Friday.
“It certainly doesn’t hurt and it brings people down this way that may not come otherwise,” she said. “There is no doubt it helps our economy.”
While Sweetwater Surf Shop was also busy on Black Friday, managers Jason Baysden and Danielle Bourgeois said the traffic around the beach on Saturday made business slower. However, Bourgeois said Sweetwater’s sales for the weekend were very close to 2012.
Baysden said the most popular items shoppers purchased included clothes, wetsuits and Firewire Surfboards.
When the campaign for Small Business Saturday first began in 2010, Baysden said he noticed Sweetwater’s sales increased dramatically the day after Black Friday, but that in the past couple years that sales bump has decreased.
Dragonflies owner Tricia Melvin also said her boutique was extremely busy on Black Friday and less so on Saturday, as usual.
“We were really pleased with our traffic,” Melvin said. “We were up from last year for the weekend so that was nice.”
Opposite the big box stores, Melvin said she has traditionally found the crowds to be larger later in the day on Friday, but that this year was slightly different.
“People are usually hitting those early sales so it really doesn’t do us good to be here at the crack of dawn,” she said. “We have found that the first thing in the morning is not as busy but that changed a little bit this year because stores are opening Thanksgiving night.”
Due to the fact that her store is located in the middle of Wilmington, Melvin said the Christmas season is usually the busiest for Dragonflies.
“We get tourist traffic in the warmer months but we are not as dependent on that,” she said. “From here on out it is really busy so we hit the ground running.”