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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Local business

Not the busiest Black Friday: Crowds small in Spokane this year, some shoppers say

Black Friday isn’t what it used to be.

At least that was the consensus among shoppers in Spokane on Friday. Many said they think more and more people are staying in and shopping online.

“It’s extremely slow, zero traffic out here,” Brandon Geary said while putting a Christmas tree into the trunk of his car in The General Store parking lot. “It’s kinda weird for me, but that’s what the internet does.”

Lines of eager shoppers still stood outside the entrances of some stores Friday morning, but the crowds were fairly tame before sunrise. Even at 7:30 a.m., most retailers’ parking lots were far from full. At the South Hill Target, cawing crows and squawking gulls were making more noise than cars.

Tim and Emily Rubertt aren’t Black Friday regulars, but they were still surprised by the small crowds. They bought a rug and Christmas decorations at Fred Meyer.

“We had nothing better to do,” Tim Rubertt said with a grin, adding that he and his wife were heading straight home.

The General Store was busier than many of the big chains.

Geary said he doesn’t typically go shopping on Black Friday, but he was tired of having plastic trees for Christmas.

“I like real Christmas trees,” he said, adding that he enjoys having the Christmas-tree scent fill up his house.

“We have too many kids, they smell,” Geary said with a chuckle.

The General Store has an advantage at Christmas time: It’s a toy mecca, with an entire upstairs set aside for a vast assortment, including board games and stuffed rainbow narwhals.

“Biggest toy department in town,” General Manager Rob Wilson said.

Wilson said people were waiting outside The General Store at 6 a.m., even though the store didn’t open until 8 a.m.

“So far it’s going really well,” he said. “It’s a little early to tell. It’s an increase over what we saw last year for sure.”

Candy Fetsch was at The General Store to buy toys for her grandkids and the girls on the basketball team she coaches. She carried a children’s book, tiny bouncy balls and a game called “Knuckle Heads” in her hands.

Todd Trautman was looking for presents for his kids.

“I love this store,” he said, while perusing some toy guns. “How many places have a blowgun?”

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