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Black Friday sales kick off in Michigan amid the COVID-19 pandemic

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steve carmody
/
Michigan Radio

Many Michigan store owners may be facing their “Blackest Friday” as the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season comes amid the pandemic.

After months of slumping sales and businesses toppling into bankruptcy, Black Friday is offering a small beacon of hope.

In normal times, Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year, drawing millions of shoppers eager to get started on their holiday spending. But these are not normal times and crowds are expected to be dramatically diminished as coronavirus cases spike and shoppers do more of their purchases online.

Many retailers are beefing up their safety protocols, moving their doorbuster deals online and curbside pickup options as a last grasp at sales before the year ends and they head into the dark days of winter with the pandemic still raging.

Bill Hallan is the president of the Michigan Retailers Association. He says the association is encouraging Michigan residents to buy holiday presents at at least three locally owned businesses this year.

“I think if every consumer really thought the power of their dollar and how they can support their local economy, and spent that dollar wisely, it would be good for their entire community,” says Hallan.

Hallan says Michigan retailers need those holiday shopping dollars now more than ever.