Black Friday's economic boost


Thousands of Hoosiers are taking part in a holiday tradition for the day after the Thanksgiving holiday: Black Friday shopping. But is the struggling economy making Hoosiers more cautious with their spending this year?

At Greenwood Park Mall, shoppers were busy chasing after deals that started in the wee hours of the morning. That's where Eyewitness News found Donna Myers and her daughter Debra - dressed in their PJs!

It's not something you see every day. That's exactly why the mother-daughter duo do it. While at first glance, it might seem like they just rolled out of bed (since they're dressed in their pajamas), this is all a part of a carefully orchestrated plan.

"It just brings a lot of joy," said Debra.

But make no mistake about it. They're also spending freely!

"I think the buys are pretty terrific this year and that's exciting and it's exciting to feel our economy coming back. That's a plus for the holidays," said Donna Myers, Debra's mom.

Donna Searby is right there with them.

"I just spend until it runs out," said Searby, laughing.

Her daughter is a little more cautious.

"I don't need credit card bills coming in January, so we try to spend only what we have," said Jodi Silcox.

"It's been a great Black Friday today. I've seen a lot of shoppers, big crowds at midnight," said John Campbell, manager of the Greenwood Park Mall. "All of our stores reporting some high sales, good foot traffic. We're very happy. A lot of 12-hour shoppers. We talked to several people that have been here since eight o'clock last night doing shopping and they're still going today."

Local economy experts say nearly 20 percent of consumers plan to spend more this holiday season. Five percent plan to spend substantially more.

But not all retailers were reporting busy sales.

"I want to see reality," said Ozzy Darman, a small business owner who runs a custom T-shirt stand. He says by his count, spending and shopping are down. "I want to see my numbers changing."

"By that time last year, we had 30 percent more, 40 percent more. It was busier last year when they opened the mall at midnight," he added.

"Actually, right now, I'm unemployed," said Aimee Sivillo. That's why she was still empty-handed. She's carefully planning each purchase.

"I'm setting a budget which is about the same as every year. I'm still making ends meet and making my kids' Christmas as good as normal," she said.

Tonya Hobder and her daughter Monica told Eyewitness News at Noon Friday that they'd been shopping since 5:00 am Thursday. That did include a break to grab some food and a few hours of shut-eye.

"We're finding a lot of good deals," said Tonya.

Monica says she's spending a little more than last year, "but I'm getting way more, so I feel like I'm all right with spending more money because I'm getting more out of it."

Tonya said she just had a few more stores to visit "and then we're done 'til next year!"

Black Friday: See all the deals here!

The good news is those out shopping Friday all agreed the deals are out and whatever the size of your budget, you can make it work.

Food for thought: Since its events began at 8 p.m., Walmart stores across the country sold more than:

· 1.8 million towels
· 1.3 million televisions
· 1.3 million dolls
· 250,000 bicycles