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"We're ready for the wave": Downtown Auburn braces for Black Friday and Iron Bowl crowds
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"We're ready for the wave": Downtown Auburn braces for Black Friday and Iron Bowl crowds

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Stores in downtown Auburn are gearing up for a big weekend with heavy shopping traffic for Black Friday and the Iron Bowl. Their strategy is a time-honored one: open early and offer lots of deals, especially to early risers.

“Last year with COVID, Black Friday wasn’t really as big,” said Colby Martin, a sales associate at Ellie Clothing boutique. “This football season it’s like everyone’s in town. I’m expecting it to be a lot bigger than normal because everybody is excited to get back out.”

Martin said Ellie Clothing will open at 8 a.m. on Friday, will offer deals on items including belts, jackets, bracelets, earrings and more, and will give out doorbuster prizes.

Angela Wilhite, manager of Auburn Oil Company Booksellers, said she has already seen an uptick in shoppers who are getting an early start and is expecting a big crowd for Black Friday and Iron Bowl weekend.

“It’s been so good to see people downtown and shopping locally at small businesses,” Wilhite said. “I feel like it’s only going to get busier.”

On Friday, the bookstore will be offering half-priced mimosas and lattes between 7:30 and 9:30 a.m. and will give a free book to any shopper who spends more than $25.

Wilhite has spent the last few weeks preparing and working to stay on top of ordering merchandise and to stay stocked up.

“Last year, a lot of people would tell us when they were shopping at the store that they were purposefully shopping local because they knew that we all needed extra help,” Wilhite said. “I feel like people are still thinking that way.”

Wrapsody boutique closed early on Wednesday to prepare for Black Friday, which can drive almost as many customers as sorority bid day.

“Bid Day is always the most insane day of the year for us, so I feel like this weekend will be right there with it,” said Karstin Brewis, the visual merchandising manager. “I expect it to be the same kind of energy.”

The store will open at 8 a.m. on Friday and offer a 20% off sale until noon, and after that, merchandise in the entire store will be 15% off, with special doorbuster prizes throughout the day.

“We always ask for everyone to be patient,” Brewis said. “We do offer gift free gift wrapping, which we know will be a big thing for Black Friday.”

Wrapsody will also be having a Cyber Monday sale on their website.

While Brewis used the word “insane,” Chase Mouton of Auburn Art opted for the word “crazy” to describe what he expects to happen on Friday and over the weekend.

“This is my first Black Friday and Iron Bowl working here, so I’m not sure what it’ll be like but I know it’ll be crazy,” said Moulton, assistant manager at Auburn Art. “This is the busiest time of year, and we expect to see a large crowd.”

Moulton said they are in the process of restocking Christmas items and Iron Bowl themed items. Auburn Art will open at 8 a.m. and will offer a 30% discount on all items in the store until noon, he said.

Over at Therapy Boutique, employee Maggie Hairston said she expects many customers will be moving from shop to shop downtown. “We are expecting a lot of people and a lot of foot traffic,” she said.

Hairston said the boutique has been preparing for the busy weekend by making sure the staff is ready to handle the big crowd, to keep everyone calm and to keep clothing items available for shoppers.

She said she believes most people shopping at the boutique will be going to the game on Saturday, so the store is making sure it has enough game day clothes available for Friday and Saturday.

For Black Friday, Therapy Boutique will open at 8 a.m. and offer 30% off for the first hour, and after that, 20% off. On Cyber Monday, the store will have a special deal and also offer 30% off all items on its website.

“Some of the inventory online is different than what we have in store,” Hairston said.

Behind the Glass boutique will open at 8 a.m. on Friday and give out a $25 gift card to the first 25 people in line.

“It’s usually packed and there’s a line out the door of people waiting to get in,” said floor manager Allison Berry. “We’re ready for the wave.”

Berry said the boutique will have 19 employees working on Black Friday, which is three times more than normal, and they are putting out as much clothing items as they possibly can.

Behind the Glass has already started its online cyber sale, offering 25% off everything on its website.

Fab’rik plans to welcome shoppers by offering gifts and food. Anna Banks Turberville, assistant manager, said the store will open at 8 a.m. with $25 gift cards and a jewelry bag for the first 25 people in line, as well as a Chick-fil-a breakfast for early shoppers. Throughout the day, the store will be offering 30% off, $25 sweaters and special doorbuster prizes.

“It was definitely a smaller crowd last year because the Iron Bowl was out of town,” Turberville said. “We’re expecting a huge crowd since the game is here and the COVID situation is a little better.”

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