Valdosta Daily Times


November 24, 2007

Business This Week: Morning shopping eye-opening

Against my better judgment, for the first time ever, I was one of the brave souls navigating around the mall area in the pre-dawn hours on Friday morning. My daughter finally persuaded me, after years of trying, to give it a shot. It was an eye-opening experience, and not just the getting up so early part, but the sheer numbers of people we saw doing the same thing.

By 6 a.m., the entire mall parking lot was packed. Same for Target, Kohls, Best Buy, etc. Surprisingly, everyone was nice, well mannered for the most part, the stores seemed prepared, and with the activity we saw going on around us, I can’t understand why retailers still insist that the outlook for the Christmas shopping season is bleak. It may be somewhere else, but not here in Valdosta.

And for the first time, we heard a number of people talking who drove to Valdosta to shop from Tallahassee, instead of the other way around. They said Valdosta was less crowded than their stores, and things weren’t selling out as quickly here.

I’m still not sold on the concept of shopping so early for Christmas, as the last minute frenzy is far more fun and entertaining, but it was interesting to do at least once. People were much nicer than I thought they’d be, and the stores seemed so well prepared for the onslaught, even the lines were not too bad, and the sales were good enough to make up for the wee hours. But I’ll still be out the Saturday before Christmas, doing the bulk of my shopping, as old habits die hard.

Business Roundup

I received an e-mail this week about Dunkin’ Donuts that said five stores are planned for the Valdosta market. I thought they meant they already had plans, locations, etc. but it turns out the company is just trying to market the local franchise, with the stipulation that the franchisee open five stores. If your dream is to own a doughnut shop, now may be your chance.

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