The first bargain hunters in a block-long lineup come into the Red Deer Best Buy store to get the jump on Boxing Day specials.

Boxing Day a boon for businesses

Black Friday was good. But Boxing Day still trumps all, says a local retailer who expected to ring up close to $1 million in sales on the day after Christmas.

Black Friday was good. But Boxing Day still trumps all, says a local retailer who expected to ring up close to $1 million in sales on the day after Christmas.

Red Deer’s Best Buy electronics store opened at 6 a.m. to a steady stream of people, including a few hardy souls who had been waiting outside for 90 minutes or more.

General manager Sin Kovacevic said the Best Buy in Southpointe Common leads the company in sales across Canada, with Boxing Day bringing in 20 per cent of its total for the year.

It’s a controlled chaos, with staff coming in at midnight to get ready for the day, said sales manager Aaron Silver.

People were already lining up when he arrived, just before 5 a.m. Some stayed in their vehicles while others waited on the sidewalk, just outside the door.

“Black Friday was a lot colder, so a lot of people were waiting in their vehicles to stay warm,” said Silver. He said the store staff were well prepared to manage the early morning rush, but noticed that the trend has started to change.

“We’ve been having slower starts, but it’s been progressing over the day and getting busier,” he said.

Shoppers Lisa Sweet and Krish Madda, who stopped in after finishing their shift at the airport, said they would not likely have come so early in the morning if they weren’t in the area already, killing time between flights. They had arrived shortly after opening time, when the only lineups left were at the cashiers, where people were waiting to pay for their purchases.

Sweet said that, if she had something specific in mind, such as a TV or a gaming system, she might consider joining the lineup in hope of saving money.

However, it’s not usually necessary except in those stores that have door-crasher specials, when shoppers are competing for items that will be limited in number, said Madda.

The view from outside looked a little daunting as opening time grew near, said Paul Evans and Carey Arnason, who had been waiting in their vehicle.

But the store is so big, said Evans, that once everyone had gone inside, those dozens of shoppers quickly dispersed to make their selections. Crowding inside the store was not really an issue, he said.

Like many others, he and Arnason had done their research online and were able to go directly to the shelf to find the computer monitor that was the chief reason for their visit.

That sort of strategy was a big money saver for Sawyer Kiist, who stopped at the Sport Chek store in Parkland Mall to pick up some new snowboarding gear before heading to Lacombe to spend the day with his parents and grandparents.

“I did quite well on the savings. The board was $200 off, the bindings were 20 per cent and the helmet was 50 per cent,” said Kiist.

“I actually got in and got out right away. It was pretty good.”

Inside the mall, hair stylist Grace Engel said the early openings are not working as well for the salon where she works, which was among the stores opened early on Friday.

With the loss of anchor tenants in the mall, the bulk of shoppers seems to have migrated to the south side of the city, said Engel.

“We’ve lost so much business. We’ve lost Sears and then we lost Safeway. We’re just hoping that the mall grabs some more people, really good businesses that kind of bring up this side of town.”

Engel said her salon has still not recovered the business that it lost when Sears moved to Bower Place at the south side of the city.

“It’s really unfortunate. It seems like Red Deer seems to build really, really south, like Gasoline Alley, and they’re forgetting this whole end of town. It’s actually a beautiful end of town,” she said.

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