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Forsyth area merchants brace for shopping crunch

CUMMING — Forsyth County merchants were busy earlier this week preparing for the Christmas shopping season.

Steve Reed, store team leader at Target on Market Place Boulevard, said the store would be ready for Black Friday and beyond.

“It’s the largest shopping day of the year,” Reed said. “So obviously we want to make sure that we have all the merchandise that customers are looking for, all the popular merchandise, making sure that we are stocking up on all the things that might be unique to Target.”

The retailer kicked off its Black Friday event Thursday night, and will be open for more than 24 hours straight. Reed said the day is highly anticipated for customers and businesses.

“In terms of anticipation, it’s a very large day,” Reed said. “It typically marks the beginning of the holiday season, so a lot of people begin their shopping for Christmas on that day, and then that follows up with Cyber Monday.”

Like Target, Belk at Lakeland Plaza in Cumming was preparing earlier this week.

“Basically, it gives an opportunity to reach customers that we don’t always see,” said Cathy Norwood, store manager.

“Usually, Black Friday brings in some of your best customers that know the deals and love us and want to shop here, but it also brings in people that just saw a good deal and they want a specific item.”

James McCoy, president of the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce, said the day was huge for area businesses. He also stressed the importance of buying local.

“For us it’s important as a community to remember that the dollars that are spent if Forsyth County, particularly [special 1-cent tax money], stay in our community and they get reinvested in our community,” McCoy said.

“It goes back into infrastructure projects that are built and spent here. It supports local jobs, it supports local business owners, it supports the local economy.”