Sadie Morris, 2, of Steamboat Springs, examines a toy Friday morning at Kmart in Craig . Although Black Friday alone doesn’t carry a major share of the store’s profits, the final quarter of the year — which includes October, November and December — accounts for about a quarter of its annual sales, store manager Cody Ransberger said.

Photo by Bridget Manley

Sadie Morris, 2, of Steamboat Springs, examines a toy Friday morning at Kmart in Craig . Although Black Friday alone doesn’t carry a major share of the store’s profits, the final quarter of the year — which includes October, November and December — accounts for about a quarter of its annual sales, store manager Cody Ransberger said.

Craig residents feel economic slump on Black Friday

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RaeAnne Hadley

Q-and-A with a Black Friday shopper

Name: RaeAnne Hadley

Age: 42

Residence: Craig

Did you do any early Christmas shopping this morning? “We did do some early Christmas shopping.”

What time did you start? “We started real late; we didn’t start until about 9:30 (Friday) morning.”

What kind of things are you shopping for? “Looking for good deals on clothing and some electronics, bedding.”

Were you shopping for anybody in particular? “Immediate family for today.”

Do you plan to do more Christmas shopping later? “Oh yes, I’m just starting. I’m a late starter this year.”

Has the economy affected your Christmas shopping at all this year? “Not really. … With the economy the way it’s been we just started saving. I guess it did affect us — we started saving a lot earlier for Christmas just because we knew bills and layoffs and everything. Kind of cushion that savings account.”

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Rocio Barraza, of Steamboat Springs, looks at clothing Friday morning inside Kmart in Craig. Black Friday, or the day after Thanksgiving, is generally regarded as the busiest shopping day of the year.

Craig resident Amanda Jackson had one word to describe the scene at Walmart at about 11:30 p.m. Thursday: insanity.

“It was just pure madness,” she said.

She was at the Craig superstore at that late hour to take advantage of the store’s midnight sales, she said. She had her sights set on a few laptops and a TV.

She got what she wanted.

Well, almost.

“They had one laptop left and the TVs were gone,” she said.

For several years, she’s shopped on Black Friday, an annual tradition that’s wedged its way between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Usually the biggest shopping day of the year, Black Friday is characterized by deals that Christmas shoppers can take advantage of, if they’re willing to stay late or arrive early.

This holiday season, though, Craig shoppers like Jackson are feeling their wallets strapped by an ailing economy.

On a normal year, Jackson said her family spends about $1,000 on Christmas gifts. This season, though, she’s planning to spend about $600.

“Usually we have a lot more money to spend,” she said. “And this year, it was kind of tight.”

Jacob Witherell, of Craig, could relate. The economy has “definitely” affected his family’s Christmas shopping this year, he said.

They’re not buying fewer items, he said, but “we buy a whole lot more of the cheaper things than two or three of the more expensive things.”

Vicki Quezada, of Craig, also feels the pinch. There’s not enough well-paying jobs, she said, that would allow her to shop as much as she used to.

That doesn’t mean Quezada’s not spending.

She stood outside Kmart in Craig as she spoke. She started shopping at 8 a.m. Friday and by about 11 a.m., she had spent about $600 total.

“And, I’m not done shopping,” she said.

The Kmart store in Craig doesn’t rely on Black Friday for a large portion of its sales, but this time of year is still important for the company’s bottom line. About a quarter of the store’s annual sales are usually made in the last three months of the year, store manager Cody Ransberger said.

“This is it,” he said. “… It’s a make or break time for us.”

Kmart opened its doors at 5 a.m. Friday, or three hours earlier than normal, he said, and between 100 and 150 people were waiting outside.

As of 11 a.m. Friday, the store’s sales were about the same as a year ago.

“So we expect to … have a really good day,” Ransberger said.

A Walmart manager could not be reached for comment Friday.

October, November and December are also important for small business owners.

Liz Davis, owner of The Giving Tree in downtown Craig, said about 40 percent or more of her sales come during the fourth quarter.

This year, her Black Friday turnout was less than normal.

“My daughter and grandson were here at seven” Friday morning, she said. “Usually, they’ve had people waiting outside for them to open. And that wasn’t happening this year.”

The Community Budget Center didn’t have much of a crowd during the busiest shopping day of the year.

Business wasn’t any different Friday, floor manager Janice Chivington said.

“We really didn’t expect it to be for us, though, because we’re not doing any Black Friday specials or anything,” she said.

The holidays are still a big time of year for the nonprofit agency. Christmas is its second-biggest holiday, after Halloween, and it usually sells a lot of Christmas-themed items, including decorations.

“In fact, people are really buying it right now,” Chivington said. “That’s what we’re working on today — trying to get some more out.”

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