Retail stores at Pier Park are preparing for Black Friday amid COVID-19

Published: Nov. 24, 2020 at 11:37 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG) - In the past, Black Friday usually meant large crowds and long lines just about everywhere you shopped. But during a pandemic, the new normal means a new way to shop on Black Friday, at least at Pier Park.

“We’re expecting a little different than the traditional year. People seem to be a little more cautious coming out, so we’re expecting Black Friday to be a longer day of sales or maybe spread out over the weekend rather than being concentrated early morning on Friday,” Hy’s Toggery Owner Josh Wakstein said.

Wakstein tells us even though they’re blessed to still be doing well this year, he wouldn’t be surprised if Black Friday is a little slower. Most retail workers at Pier Park tell us despite the pandemic, they’re already seeing better sales numbers since last Friday.

“People love to shop here. They love that it’s open air, they feel a little more comfortable. So, I think that’s contributed a lot to having some record sales,” Pink Narcissus Assistant Manager Lee Ann Leonard said.

Leonard said they’ve extended their traditional sale from just Black Friday, to the entire week. Leonard adds this allows people to shop comfortably and not have to worry about big crowds or social distancing.

Many retail workers say the good thing about shopping at Pier Park is the open air concept and the ability to social distance while walking around to help protect against COVID-19. Wakstein said they’re lucky to be at Pier Park and that the pandemic doesn’t seem to be scaring customers off.

“We have plenty of square footage for people to spread out. We sanitize regularly, and like I said, we keep the doors open, so it doesn’t get stuffy,” said Wakstein.

Leonard said they’re uncertain about Friday’s outcome, but based on how they’re trending they expect sales to be up. Wakstein adds with the right COVID precautions, Black Friday will be just another day.

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