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Black Friday projected as holiday weekend's busiest shopping day

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FARMINGTON — Farmington stores were busy on Black Friday as shoppers from around the Four Corners region were eager to find deals on presents for friends and family members during one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

While stores advertised "doorbuster" specials for shoppers on Thanksgiving, the busiest shopping day of the long holiday weekend remains Black Friday, according to a National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics survey.

The firm projected an estimated 164 million people were planning to shop during the five-day period from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday.

About 71 percent of those surveyed, or nearly 116 million shoppers, were projected to shop today, while about 21 percent, or nearly 34 million, were projected to shop on Thanksgiving.

At the Best Buy electronics store in Farmington, the traffic from shoppers peaked on Thanksgiving evening, according to general manager Allison Sharp. She attributed the large amount of traffic to the shorter amount of time the store was open on Thursday in contrast to today.

The store had been preparing since September for the holiday weekend by hosting job fairs and working to train new employees to make sure customers could make educated purchases, Sharp said.

"We've been preparing all up to this point to make sure it's a smooth and safe process for customers and the employees," she said.

While working the sales floor today, Sharp told The Daily Times traffic had been steady since Thursday night, and the store appeared to be a little busier than last year.

Aztec Magistrate Judge Trudy Reed-Chase was shopping with her 2-year-old daughter Madison Chase. It was Reed-Chase's second day of shopping after hitting Target, Wal-Mart and JCPenney on Thanksgiving night.

She said her shopping included finding a present for a family member whose name she drew for a gift exchange on Christmas.

"I try to get it done as soon as I can because I have a month before Christmas," Reed-Chase said about holiday shopping.

The Lowe's home improvement store was full of shoppers looking for deals on items including appliances, holiday decorations and tools.

Johnny and Michelle Arenas of Aztec picked up a new 7.5-foot-tall artificial Christmas tree while at the store.

"We usually buy real (trees) but we got a deal on this one," Johnny Arenas said.

The couple was focusing on stores today that were closed on Thanksgiving, including shopping at Sam's Club.

This holiday shopping weekend is expected to be the last for Freytag and Farrar Jewelers at 3555 E. Main St. Suite B in Farmington, according to president Bryan Freytag.

He has decided to shutter the store down after more than 21 years in business. Freytag said he found another business opportunity in Phoenix that he is pursuing.

The business hasn't been affected by shoppers hunting for deals on Black Friday in the past, Freytag said. He added the store was known for the quality of its jewelry and doesn't compete with other retailers based on price.

He plans to keep the store open through Christmas or remain open until all the inventory is sold.

Freytag added he has seen an increase in business since his going-out-of-business sale started in early November.

"We've seen a tremendous boost," Freytag said. "It's been good. We should do this every year."

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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