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Black Friday in-person shopping starts slow in Eastern Kentucky

Published: Nov. 27, 2020 at 5:42 AM EST
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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - Thanksgiving has come and gone and now it’s time to start checking off your Christmas list.

Black Friday shopping began Friday morning, but the pandemic has brought some changes to the normally busy day at the stores.

“It’s usually real busy and today it’s I think maybe 20 people in the store right now,” said shopper Darrell Johnson

Several stores, including the JCPenney in Pikeville, opened at 5 a.m. The retailer, along with several others, have offered their Black Friday sales for the last week, and even longer, hoping to limit store traffic.

We talked to general manager Sheena Adams and she says they are expecting more online sales this year due to COVID-19. She adds the store is safe, with masks required at all times and capacity limited to 297 people.

“You will see it’s going to take a little bit longer to get through the lines because we do clean before each customer. Every time a customer comes up to the counters we do clean the registers, the pin pads the counters and then we’ve got the shields in front of the registers,” Adams said.

Adams says she hopes this will give people a little bit of normalcy back and, of course, some Christmas cheer.

“I like the hustle and the bustle like it comes so quickly we put so much prep and so much time in it and then to see the costumers come in and getting those holidays deals and fill those Christmas wishes and get those lists checked off. That’s what I really enjoy,” Adams told WYMT.

Only a few people were outside the store when it opened this morning.

“I’ve come to Penney’s every last 5 years I’ve been the first one here,” said Johnson.

Tracey Jones from Letcher County says she has been going Black Friday shopping since she can remember. It has been a family tradition. This year, she said it was sad to see any lines in the normally packed stores.

“I’ve already been to Walmart. Checked out in 15 minutes. Never ever has that ever happened. You wait outside usually it’s an hour waiting to check out I mean craziness. I couldn’t believe it. I guess everyone is scared,” Jones said. “I like the in and out but I also like the excitement of all the people and you know the rush of getting what you need to get.”

Adams said she does not know what to expect this year, but is excited for the hustle and bustle of Black Friday.

“COVID has brought a lot of unknowns. It’s very, we’re anticipating our Omni channel our enterprise fulfillment side to take precedent so we like more people are going to want to shop online verses coming into the store this year,” said Adams.

During a normal year, JCPenney’s in Pikeville has several hundred people in the first couple hours of shopping. This year they only had 60 shoppers in two hours.

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