Black Friday returns to LaGrange; Walmart and Belk both see crowds

Published 10:00 am Saturday, November 27, 2021

Black Friday shoppers were out about early Friday in LaGrange in hopes of securing gifts for their loved ones. 

Two of the main stores for deals this year were Belk, which opened at 7 a.m., and Walmart, which opened at 5 a.m. 

Investigator Jarrod Anderson with the LaGrange Police Department was at Walmart when it opened its doors Friday morning. Anderson said he was very impressed with how the store chose to manage shoppers. 

“Walmart [had] three different events, where they were able to minimize crowd sides and kind of control the chaos. I felt like they were very organized [and] had a plan. It was pretty strategic,” Anderson said.

For some shoppers like Shaquavious Reed, it was their first time getting into the holiday. She said that she was expecting much larger crowds at Walmart when she arrived.

“This is my first year ever Black Friday shopping. I’m surprised it’s not packed and overwhelmed. It was really easy,” Reed said. “I needed a TV, so I just came and got a TV.”

At the mall, families walked the stores together to find gifts for Christmas. Hanna Westcott went with her mother and grandmother to shop. She said they planned to holiday shop all day.

“We’ve all been here probably like an hour. I’m just looking around trying to get Christmas [presents],” Westcott said.

Her grandmother, Wilma Anderson, and Westcott both said it was wonderful to be back in stores after the pandemic.

“[It’s] wonderful to be out again,” Wilma Anderson said. 

“It feels a little normal again,” said Westcott. 

“I’m ready for normal,” Wilma Anderson said.

Bailey Mara, manager at Belk, said that the crowd for the 7 a.m. giveaway made her excited as they saw a decrease in shopping last year due to the pandemic.

“The crowd this morning and kind of later in the morning has been very comparable to what we’ve seen in year’s past. So, we’re really excited about the turnout,” Mara said. “I was joking with them in line this morning. I was like, ‘I haven’t seen this many people in one place and so long!’ They’ve come out to shop in person, which is wonderful.”

Inv. Jarrod Anderson said that from his perspective the crowds have not been what they were in year’s past.

“Historically speaking when you think of Black Friday [and] the type of sales that occur, you see people camped out in tents,” Anderson said. “That’s what I grew up seeing, and it’s just not the same with online and the pandemic.”