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Posted on Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 12:48 p.m.

Black Friday: Nearly two dozen Briarwood Mall stores to open at midnight

By Lizzy Alfs

Ann Arbor's Briarwood Mall is planning the earliest Black Friday opening in its history, following a national trend of big-box stores opening earlier and earlier to compete for business.

So far, 22 mall stores have announced midnight openings on Friday, and more may follow suit. Early last week, only 12 retailers were planning to open at midnight.

It's a particularly notable move for the mall, which rarely opens its doors in the early morning hours and has never opened at midnight on Black Friday.

The rest of the stores in Briarwood will open at 4 a.m., an hour earlier than the mall opened its doors on Black Friday last year.

“This is new for us to open at midnight,” said Ida Hendrix, the general manager at Briarwood. “And I’m excited to see how it’s going to unfold.”

The following stores have announced they will begin Black Friday sales at midnight: Macy’s, Starbucks, Ann Taylor, Express, American Eagle, Eddie Bauer, Hot Topic, Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister, Journeys, Bath & Body Works, Aeropostale, PacSun, Gap, Champs, Forever 21, Wet Seal, The Buckle, Windsor, Glitter, Auntie Annes and The Body Shop.


A display at Briarwood Mall welcomed shoppers during the 2010 holiday season.

Angela Cesere |

Hendrix said its unclear how the scene at Briarwood will change with doors opening earlier, but said it will be a crucial day for retailers.

“The number of people coming is unpredictable,” she said. “But people will be coming earlier to the shopping center. It’s the biggest shopping day for us.”

Many retailers record about 30 percent to 35 percent of their yearly sales from Black Friday until the end of the year.

“You can run in the red all year long,” said Denise Murray, director of marketing and business development for Briarwood. “Come Black Friday, you can start to make your goals.”

With other big-box stores also announcing early openings this year — including Target, Kohl’s, Best Buy, Toys "R" Us, Old Navy and Walmart — there has been backlash from some employees and shoppers protesting the new hours.

A petition on called "Tell Target to Save Thanksgiving" calls for Target to cancel its midnight opening on Black Friday. It has received more than 190,000 signatures. There is a similar campaign against Best Buy.

But Hendrix said that the general feeling at Briarwood from retailers is excitement.

“I’ve been pretty surprised at how excited the merchants opening at midnight are,” she said.

To ensure customer safety during the early morning hours, Hendrix said Briarwood will have extra security inside and outside the mall.

“We manage security and how much staff we’re going to have based on expectations. There will be more security [on Black Friday],” she said. “We prepare behind the scenes and we want to be visible.”

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at


Bob Krzewinski

Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 1:41 p.m.

The Friday after Thanksgiving is also Buy Nothing Day. Funny how society has turned the birthday of a person who preached helping the poor into a buying orgy. Its also kind of bizzare that when we look back on the holidays, it wasn't the gifts that meant the most, but instead who we were with what we did. For more on Buy Nothing Day, visit <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

Dexter Bear

Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 4:22 a.m.

On Black Friday, why not sleep in and then spend an afternoon with family enjoying shopping in one of Michigan's wonderful little downtowns? I am partial to Dexter, grrr, but there are so many wonderful towns within an hour of drive, with great shops staffed by local people who APPRECIATE your dollars and also SPEND those dollars LOCALLY! Not all retailers are greedy big box stores--visit INDEPDENDENT retailers for old-fashioned Christmas shopping the way it used to be!!!


Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 3:50 a.m.

There are 22 stores I will avoid in the future. Guess I'll have to find a place other than Macy's to get my Johnston and Murphy fix on at.

Hans Masing

Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 2:29 a.m.

We posted this on our store facebook page (<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> tonight. It seems appropriate. Since our employees deserve time off with their families, I proudly announce that we will NOT be open on Thanksgiving Day nor will I ask my staff to come in at 3:00 am on Friday morning. We also think that *you* deserve this time to spend with your families and hope that you enjoy your Thanksgiving Day. You can count on us to be here for you every other day this week during our regular hours. Thanks for shopping small this holiday season, it really makes a huge difference. We had a store at Briarwood a couple years ago, and the leasehold agreement included *fines* if we didn't open our store early on black friday. We loved being available to folks in that part of Ann Arbor, but didn't feel that the mall really understood the local culture and community of Ann Arbor at all.

Hans Masing

Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 2:30 a.m.

<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> - looks like the link above got hosed...


Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 2:20 a.m.

This is like going skating at 6 am. If I don't have to do it? I don't. This I don't do, but did years ago to get our child her first television. Ended up getting a $200 set for $80. Not bad, but still, I'd rather sleep in. By the way, I just heard Meijer is opening on turkey day, all day and not closing. Kind of sucks for the workers. Wonder what their union is gonna say about that one. Alot of places are opening at mid nite. I guess they are hoping to make a buck faster then at 4am. Think I'll go skating.

Marie Willnow

Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 1:51 a.m.

I've never participated in Black Friday, nor do I want too. I just don't understand standing in line for who knows how long just to get a deal on some item that retailers say is the perfect Christmas gift. Also, there are sales throughout the entire holiday shopping season. They may not be as great as those on Black Friday but at least you don't have to get up at 1 am to stand in line take advantage of them.

Holy Cow

Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 11:23 p.m.

Black Friday does have an ominous ring to it doesn't it? Makes me feel like I should be on the cautious side and just stay home with the covers pulled over my head.


Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 2:21 a.m.

Might want to keep them covered until Tuesday. Cyber Monday is right after Black Friday. Kind of scary ain't it?


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 10:50 p.m.

It's a two way street. If opening earlier and earlier didn't work and people didn't line up at ridiculous times to spend all their money, then the trend would reverse or end. You can't JUST blame retailers. It's also the fault of our shopper culture. Retailers realize they can put themselves &quot;in the black&quot;, so they go for it. The two sides set the whole charade into motion, and are responsible for it spinning arguably out of control. I, too, feel sorry for the employees the most. Those being forced to deal with the insanity to the point of it interrupting Thanksgiving? That is entering a whole new arena of strangeness. (I've heard of some stores places opening up Thanksgiving evening and staying open ALL NIGHT. That's horrible.) Add to all this that... most of the &quot;sales&quot; (outside of the 2008 recession times) aren't even that good and are comparable to prices you can get any time of year if you keep your eyes peeled and... it's just weird and sad to me. Just my opinion.


Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 2:22 a.m.

Unless I heard wrong, Meijer plans to just stay open. Right to and thru Black Friday. Yuck.

Holy Cow

Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 10:48 p.m.

I think that what started out as a good thing for retailers will hit a sour note in the next few years. Black Friday used to be a fun and special day and now it has become a day where retailers try to out greed each other. They are also starting to make monkeys out of their customers by offering better deals both before and after Black Friday. They have created a situation that is starting to implode.

Elaine F. Owsley

Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 8:42 p.m.

When did they start calling it &quot;black Friday&quot;? Since I tend to avoid shopping when at all possible, I guess I missed this transition. I'll just wait for Santa.


Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 3:39 p.m.

Thursday or Friday. It was a black month for everyone.


Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 2:46 a.m.

@jns131: Wasn't that called Black Thursday...the start of the stock market crash in 1929?


Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 2:23 a.m.

Isn't that the same thing as the stock market crash of 1929?


Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 12:17 a.m.

@Elaine: Good question...I'm no journalist, but I can google! ;) The day's name originated in Philadelphia, where it originally was used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic which would occur on the day after Thanksgiving. Use of the term started before 1966 and began to see broader use outside Philadelphia around 1975. Later an alternative explanation began to be offered: that &quot;Black Friday&quot; indicates the point at which retailers begin to turn a profit, or are &quot;in the black.


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 8:28 p.m.

Shop locally! This has gotten out of control. I feel horrible for he employees.

Monica R-W

Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 9:36 p.m.

Elaine, That's totally true. Walmart is opening at 10 PM (Thanksgiving Day) for &quot;Black Friday Shopping&quot;. ANOTHER REASON to SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY. How many local small businesses that Walmart have drove out of our communities? Too many to count.

Elaine F. Owsley

Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 8:56 p.m.

It's not just Black Friday, a number of stores are bragging that they are open on Thanksgiving day til 9 p.m. I don't know which is sadder, that employees have to work or that there are people who can't gather with friends and family on that day and go shopping instead.


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 8:39 p.m.

Absolutely. And if I have to buy anything this weekend, I'll support the &quot;small business Saturday&quot; instead.

tom swift jr.

Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 6:50 p.m.

Our family is electing to not buy &quot;things&quot; this year (again, we did this last year as well). Contributions to each other will be in the way of the ongoing love and support that is provided throughout the year. If there is a need to spend money, it will be through donations to an agreed upon good cause (we're a bit focused on homelessness and animal shelters this year). You all enjoy shopping, I'll be home, sleeping, with a smile, and the knowledge that, at least in this regard, I may have finally figured out what is important in life.


Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 2:26 a.m.

We are opting out of gift giving this year. Our child wants to on a school trip and we told ours that this is her gift. By the way, we are going to some place called Turkeyville near Marshall Michigan. Sounds more fun the fighting the masses.


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 8:07 p.m.

I get that Tom, I truly do. I believe the gift is in the giving. Wish I could truly share that story of what I am privvy to, but can't. Some people are just not honest. .and in the old addage &quot;People get that they give&quot;, the givers got taken advantage of.

tom swift jr.

Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 7:34 p.m.

Lisam... &quot;More fundamental than religion is our basic human spirituality. we have a basic human disposition towards love, kindness and affection, irrespective of whether we have a religious framework or not. When we nurture this most basic human resource, when we set about cultivating those basic inner values which we all appreciate in others, then we start to live spiritually.&quot; - The Dalai Lama I don't think it has anything to do with what happens next, it has everything to do with doing what is right... The &quot;family in need&quot; had no obligation to do anything, the organization didn't make the contribution with the thought that they (or anyone else) would eventually be paid back... the gift is in the giving.


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 7:16 p.m.

I am happy that you do that; however, there are people who cry that they need it when they really do not. I personally witnessed a well-known organization giving to a &quot;family in need&quot; last year and who this year are much better off, but they themselves are so greedy and wouldn't give up a dime if their lives depended on it.

Monica R-W

Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 6:46 p.m.

This is totally sad for retail employees and will turn out for retailers to be a HORRIBLE idea. For the first time in six years, I will be boycotting any retailer opening before 4AM on Black Friday. Hope others do the same.


Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 2:27 a.m.

Good luck. I am hearing a lot of places are following suit to the mid nite madness craze.


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 8:35 p.m.

I agree completely. I think this practice is an absolutely terrible way to treat employees. It's understandable that health care workers, fire, police etc.. may have to work the holidays, but for underpaid retail workers have to come in at midnight (or 4am for that matter) so that their greedy employers can stuff their pockets on a holiday is just plain wrong. I will not patronize any retail store on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

Monica R-W

Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 7:53 p.m.

Also, support SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY. At this time, when many of our local retailers are suffering, we need to pool our dollars spend on Christmas gifts to keep LOCAL SMALL BUSINESSES within our community! Just a thought!


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 6:43 p.m.

So &quot;they&quot; have essentially eliminated the holiday called Thanksgiving. The history of Thanksgiving only goes back to between 1565 and 1621 depending on the source (wikipedia). Now it's just another sale who's deals will only be bested by Cyber-Monday. All to either make or save a buck. It just keeps getting better and better.


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 6:37 p.m.

Fairly new to experiencing Black Friday, although it's been around for years. I was expecting the doors to open and everyone gets a fair shot at the deals. Not so. Stood in line last year, only to find those who were given a slip on a particular that is limited anyway, were the only ones who could purchase that item, the rest of us didn't stand a chance. I am not a fan.


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 6:28 p.m.

I was one of those shoppers that would go out on Black Friday. It was fun if you went in with the right attitude and patience! Now that the retailers are being absolutely ridiculous - I will not be going out at all on Black Friday. All of the retailers should open up at 8am on Friday so that their employees can enjoy their Thanksgiving. It seems like they could be a bit more creative to get our money than just opening up early!


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 6:21 p.m.

midnight? Really? Anything for a competitive edge, I guess, but tis a bit ridiculous. I personally miss the days when stores would open at 6 or 7 AM and consider it a special day (and I'm not that old). Just hope we don't have much crime and theft. And Auntie Anne's open all night after the big Thanksgiving meals? Maybe weight watchers ought to open!!!