Early Black Friday shoppers will have to look outside of Meridian Township to find the best deals this year.
The Meridian Mall will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, with doors opening Friday at 6 a.m. Only some of the mall’s outside retailers will open early, like Macy’s at 5 p.m. on Thursday, and will stay open all night leading up to the mall’s opening in the morning.
“We wanted our employees and our retail partner employees to have the holiday back to celebrate with their families,” said Todd Huhn, the mall’s general manager. “That was the biggest driving factor in our decision. Everyone is very happy that we’re giving Thanksgiving back and respecting the holiday.”
Huhn said the mall has only received positive remarks and comments regarding the switch.
“We’ve seen responses on our social media pages and comments sent to our mall office, and also walking around and talking to shoppers in the mall and getting their feedback,” Huhn said.
The move made by the mall’s ownership, CBL & Associates Properties, gives stores’ employees a chance to stay out of the shopping frenzy that dominates the day.
“I think this is a nice step back to where we need to go, because Thanksgiving is a time for family and being thankful for what you have, not for shopping and getting all the deals,” said Darby Hinkley, assistant store manager at Zales in the mall. “As consumers we need to say we’re not going to shop on Thanksgiving because that’s not what the holiday is about.”
The mall has opened early on Thanksgiving dating back to 2012.
“When I found out that the mall was going to be closed I was so happy, since I would be able to spend time with my family,” said Hinkley, who has worked on the holiday in the past. “I don’t have to be worried about what time I have to go to work.”
On the other hand, Erin Stallworth, who works for the BCBGMAXAZRIA line in Macy’s, will be part of the late crew at Macy’s when the store opens at 5 p.m.
“I’ll be missing out on the Thanksgiving meal with my family, but I heard it will be busy so I’m open for the excitement,” said Stallworth, who has worked this night at other locations in the past. “I wish we could have participated in the day off and experience the true spirit of the holiday, because this has become more of a shopping holiday instead of a family holiday. I wish I could have participated like the rest of the mall.”
Shoppers in the area will look to the Lansing Mall or the Eastwood Towncentre as alternatives. Target and Best Buy will also be open late Thursday into Black Friday
“I love it because it gives the people that work here a chance to go back to their families on Thanksgiving, as opposed to those people who never get holidays off,” said Tony Nichols, a shopper at the mall. “Not a lot of people come to the mall on Black Friday, though, since places like Target have much better deals. People will still have good places to go and shop.”
Listen to the interview below, where Stallworth offers some comic relief to the news she will be working on the craziness of Black Friday.