In the rush to grab the best deals on Black Friday, drivers sometimes can get creative with where they park.

They pull onto curbs or park in the grass when they run out pavement, sometimes getting themselves stuck in the process. It’s an annual tradition a Greenwood tow truck driver is used to as part of the madness on Black Friday, where thousands of shoppers will head to the Greenwood Park Mall and other stores across Johnson County in search of the best deals.

As parking lots get full, Tod Coumbe, owner of White Glove Towing Company, gets ready for his phone to start reading.

“On Black Friday, the phone just rings all day,” Coumbe said.

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When parking spaces run out, drivers start parking on curbs and grass instead. Vehicles get stuck when someone has pulled onto and over a curb and into the grass, causing the vehicle to be stuck on the curb, he said. And, if the weather is wet on Friday, Coumbe expects he’ll have to pull out two to three cars parked in grass and unable to get enough traction to drive off.

“People find their own parking spots,” he said.

Thanksgiving starts off quiet, as people are staying in with their families to eat turkey and watch football, but once stores open that evening and the Christmas shopping season officially kicks off, the day gets crazy, he said.

At two local malls, sales begin at 6 p.m. on Thursday before closing for the evening and picking back up again on 6 a.m Friday. Police will be out patrolling stores and streets, and hotel rooms near malls are getting booked up. At some stores, such as Meijer, Black Friday deals began as far back as Sunday.

Police officers will be out across the city at the Greenwood Park Mall and other stores, which hire off-duty officers to direct traffic, keep a watch on parked vehicles and respond to any requests for assistance at those locations, spokesperson Kortney Burrello said.

About 30 officers will be working off-duty this weekend, which lets the officers scheduled to work that day focus on their regular tasks and patrols along city streets, she said. Even with those officers out at the mall and stores, shoppers should be careful about where they park their vehicles, and should choose parking spots in lighted areas. Valuables and items they’ve been purchased should be left out of sight, Burrello said.

For drivers trying to get through busy streets, Burrello asked that they be patient and drive carefully.

At a hotel just across the street from Edinburgh Premium Outlets, rooms are already at a premium, with the hotel expected to be sold out.

As of Monday afternoon, more than 50 of the 62 rooms at the Comfort Inn hotel in Edinburgh were already booked for Thursday evening, with every room likely to fill by the time stores open their doors to begin sales on Thanksgiving, manager Christy Gadd said.

The hotel, which is just across the road from the outlet mall, is a prime destination for shoppers at Black Friday sales and is always full that day, as people traveling into the area need somewhere to stay for the night, she said.

The change in shopping trends means that for some, Black Friday is actually less busy.

At Four Seasons, Black Friday usually meant a ton of shoppers filing in when the restaurant on State Road 135 opened at 6 a.m. But in the past few years, and especially last year, the amount of people showing up then has dwindled, manager Margarita Stefanov said.

Possible explanations for that include the shift in store openings from Friday to Thursday, as well as online shopping, with some shoppers choosing the convenience of buying over the internet rather than in person, she said.

At a glance

Some shopping malls have changed their hours for shopping on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Here is a look at when local malls will be open:

  • Greenwood Park Mall: 6 p.m. Thursday to 1 a.m. Friday, and then 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday
  • Edinburgh Premium Outlets: 6 p.m. Thursday to 2 a.m. Friday, and then 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday

Refer

Coming Friday

Shoppers everywhere will be packing malls and department stores on Black Friday, but one day later, small local businesses will showcase the unique merchandise that makes Johnson County a shopping destination. Read all about local plans for Small Business Saturday, and the impact the day has, in Friday’s Daily Journal.

Author photo
Jacob Tellers is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at jtellers@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2702.