From one-day-only sales to special discounts, retailers around Rome are setting out the welcome mat for customers prior to Tuesday.
Daniel Bray, assistant manager at Ross Dress for Less in Riverbend Center, said they would have everybody on their staff working throughout the weekend.
“This weekend will be extremely busy,” Bray said. “I expect Saturday to be the busiest day of the year for us, and it usually is.”
With Floyd County Schools still in class this week, Bray said sales during the day have been sluggish, but they pick up quickly in the evenings. And with those students and teachers free today, that will add to the crowds.
“The weekend before Christmas last year was insane,” Bray said. “This is our Black Friday. The Saturday and Sunday before Christmas are our biggest days of the year. It’s when we go over our goals for the year.”
Bray said they have a sales goal each day during the holiday season that is more than what the store did on that day last year. Bray said they have exceeded the goal each day so far this season.
Ross will be open until 1 a.m. Sunday and Monday. The store revised the times after they had to turn away customers last year when they were only open until midnight the weekend before Christmas.
The parking lot at Riverbend was mostly packed with cars late Friday afternoon, and shoppers were busy going from store to store.
Shannon resident Julie Neighbors was picking up some last-minute items.
“I’m trying to avoid the crowds,” she said. “It’s already crowded, but I want to avoid the big crowds on Saturday.”
Neighbors said she doesn’t make going shopping so close to Christmas a tradition, but it was the one time she could get out to the stores.
“I’ve found some pretty good deals, but I give a lot of homemade items as well,” she said.
On the other side of the spectrum was Cave Spring’s Linda Jones, who was enjoying her one-day Christmas shopping quest to buy presents for everyone on her list.
“I’ve found prices to be less and less as it gets closer to Christmas, and the stores seem to have a lot of coupons,” Jones said. “Everybody has been nice, and I enjoy staying close to home to shop.”
After stepping out of Ross, a quick phone call to her husband in the parking lot had their car in front of the store and on to their next stop.
Crowds were growing around Mount Berry Square mall Friday evening, and retailers were excited about the trend of recent weeks.
Bryan Allen is the owner of Players, which sells college sports team merchandise at Mount Berry Square. He said they have only been in the mall for five months but have seen brisk sales during the last two weeks.
“I think it has been good because we have a variety of teams, and we’ve had a lot of special orders this week,” Allen said. “It’s been very busy. We had more sales last Saturday than we did on Black Friday, and we may beat that today. So I can’t imagine what tomorrow is going to be like.”
Mount Berry Square is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. today as it has been all week, and Toys “R” Us just outside the mall is open 24 hours a day until Christmas Eve, when they close at 8 p.m.
Walking around the mall Friday evening with bags in tow were Glenda Thomas, her daughter Michele Randall and her granddaughter Morgan Thomas, who is Randall’s niece.
“We’ve got three generations of the same family here,” Randall said. “It’s been fun today.”
The women said they had done all of their Christmas shopping but couldn’t resist coming out and enjoying the family time together, especially since Morgan Thomas was visiting from Newnan.
“It’s really busy here,” Glenda Thomas said of the mall. “That’s good to see.”
The stores around Rome couldn’t agree more.