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Posted on Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Briarwood Mall moves Black Friday opening time to midnight

By Ben Freed

Black Friday will start four hours earlier this year at Ann Arbor's largest shopping center.

Briarwood Mall will open its doors to shoppers as the clock strikes midnight on Nov. 23, the day after Thanksgiving.

That's just one sign that local retailers and national chains are formulating their plans to make the most of the shopping bonanza that occurs as revelers emerge from turkey-induced stupor.


Shoppers enjoyed deals at 22 Briarwood Mall locations including American Eagle on Black Friday in 2011

Melanie Maxwell |

Macy’s and 21 other Briarwood Mall retailers opened their doors at midnight in 2011, while the rest of the shopping center near I-94 and South State waited until 4 a.m. to welcome shoppers.

The change this year came after they saw successful sales from those stores, Briarwood officials said.

While shoppers might actually not be getting the best deals, it has become tradition for many to line up and wait for hours to be first into stores offering “doorbuster” deals.

“It becomes a nice event for friends and families,” mall director of marketing and business development Denise Murray said. “Mothers, daughters, parents, kids, and even grandparents, they all come out.”

Murray said retailers were being encouraged to open at midnight, but that not every store would be participating. Greeters at the mall’s entrances will have information for customers including store opening times and deal locations.

“There are a lot of different sales going on throughout the mall,” Murray said. “Macy’s is going to have new deals rolling out hour by hour, but they haven’t released the details of those specials yet.”

While both national chains and local retailers have been moving their opening hours up over recent years, there still is some hesitancy to leave Friday behind and open on Thursday night. According to a report from, national chains including Wal-Mart, Old Navy, and Best Buy have all announced midnight opening hours again for 2012.

Local outlet malls have not been as hesitant to lure shoppers away from the Thanksgiving dinner table. Both the Tanger Outlets in Howell and the Great Lakes Crossing Outlets opened on Thanksgiving night last year and will do so again in 2012. Great Lakes will open at 9 p.m. for the second year in a row, while Tanger will open their doors one hour later at 10 p.m.

"Last year we opened on Thanksgiving night and we’ll be doing that again this year," Great Lakes Crossing spokesperson Melissa Morang said. "Almost all of the stores will be open from that point on throughout the night... Last year it was a huge success."

The National Retail Federation reported that consumers spent a record $52 billion on Black Friday weekend in 2011, with nearly one in four shoppers reporting that they were at stores before midnight on Thanksgiving either shopping or waiting in lines.

Last year, many stores in the area, including Walmart, Best Buy, Kohl’s, and Target, also moved their openings up to midnight to get a jump on the competition.

Last year’s earliest opener, Toys’R’Us in the Arborland shopping center, let shoppers in at 9 p.m. on Thursday, has nationally scheduled the same opening time for Black Friday 2012.

One mall anchor that won’t be joining in the fray is Midwestern high-end department store Von Maur. Store manager Marnie Harris said the store does not make a habit of extending holiday hours and will open at 9 a.m., just one hour earlier than its usual opening time.

“Being non-promotional and staying true to what we do has been successful for us,” Iowa-based marketing manager Amy Davis told in 2009. “… There’s no need to change that strategy. We think customers appreciate that. It sounds like a simple approach, but it works for us.”

Murray said Briarwood’s parent company, Simon Properties, is opening all of its regional shopping centers at midnight this year after testing the new hours at some locations in 2011.

“It’s definitely for a different kind of shopper,” she said. “But it’s fun for those that take advantage of the opportunity.”

Ben Freed covers business for Reach him at 734-623-2528 or email him at Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2



Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 4:36 p.m.

Just the other day I read something describing "cutting short the day we're supposed to give thanks for what we have, so we can go out and buy more stuff we don't need." I think that sums it up pretty good. For what it's worth, I will do my usual boycott of Black Friday shopping, and try to support the "Shop Local Saturday" that was promoted last year. I got to enjoy the whole Thanksgiving holiday, and managed to find some wonderful, inexpensive gifts from shops in downtown Ann Arbor, Dexter, and had a really nice day without fighting huge crowds. I hope will help promote this idea again this year.


Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 4:27 p.m.

oh boy more and more hours of madness.and stupidity will reign supreme.

Toby Wilcox

Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 1:23 p.m.

This has gotten ridiculous! If you absolutely need to buy some gadget in the middle of the night, then do it online! All you are doing by patronizing these businesses that are open all night, and hence, keeping the employees away from their families on Thanksgiving, is sending a message that this treatment of their employees is acceptable. Guess what? It's not! This no longer has anything to do with "getting the best deal". It is only about corporate greed and the desire to squeeze every last dollar out of what once was a sacred holiday!


Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 12:06 a.m.

I think it is fun to do BUT I BUY LOCAL for almost everything except cosmetics and clothing. Ann Arbor used to have "regular" clothing stores but now they are boutiques and highly specialized. SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL MERCHANTS! and have excellent holiday times! Trish


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 8:54 p.m.

@LaMusica: I'm glad that for you anyway, the work environment was such that you could speak your mind to the manager without risking your job. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. I have worked at places where the mindset was "my way or the high-way", keep your mouth shut or lose your job.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 8:46 p.m.

@cinnabar7071: most companies will GO OUT OF THEIR WAY to keep labor costs down so they don't have to pay that time-and-a-half. the next time you are in Briarwood Mall, take a good look at some of the employees at these retail outlets. Do they look tired? stressed? maybe even burned out? maybe it's because they are worried about paying their bills because their hours got cut again this week. most retailers intentionally keep more employees on the payroll than they need so nobody comes even close to getting 40 hours a week, let alone(GASP!)overtime. God, I detest Corporate America.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 7:48 p.m.

Black Friday is a joke... Especially when I find the same deals on ebay, amazon, even craigslist! But those who insist on going should take a camera phone. I heard some stories last year!


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 5:04 p.m.

I can't vote in the poll because there is no option for how I feel: "This is ridiculous! I wait until regular store hours to shop." It's said that this holiday, where we're supposed to be thankful for what we have is turning into an opportunity for stores to make money. It's unfortunate that the employees can't spend the day (all day...even the overnight) with their families.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 4:14 p.m.

Why people continue to do this is beyond me. Almost everyone gets thanksgiving off - so why you'd want to ruin it by either waking up, or staying up, so late to go Christmas shopping is beyond me. Plus, you can go out later in the day, the day after Thanksgiving, and get similar deals with almost no people. Pointless. And as anyone who used to work, or does work, in retail can attest - it's literally the worst day of the year.

Top Cat

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 3:21 p.m.

I with they would do a "Modern Christmas" with the all presents and crap in the even numbered years only. In the odd numbered year, "Christmas" should be celebrated as a religious and spiritual holiday only. Of course, holiday ales would be appropriate in both versions.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 4:24 p.m.

Top Cat you're doing it wrong then, Christmas has never been about presents and crap at my house, unless you call school clothes presents and spending time with family crap. But I agree that familys that believe Christmas is about getting gifts, might want to skip a year and spend that time doing some sort of charity for kids that don't have parents, that would probly be the best Christmas they ever had.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 2:27 p.m.

Typical Briarwood mentality. capitalism at its greedy worst. DISGUSTING. the only reason I will ever have reason to step foot in B'wood mall again is if a friend of mine gets to set up his magic kiosk, otherwise there isn't ONE DARN THING that this place has to offer that I can't get somewhere else, at a much better price. PHFFFFFT.(that's me blowing a big noisy raspberry)

Dog Guy

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 1:55 p.m.

When will Briarwood Mall begin Christmas Shopping promotions this year? (Haw-haw!)

Toby Wilcox

Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 8:12 p.m.

With this press release, it sounds like they already have!


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 1:45 p.m.

Shopping can be done during regular hours. If one needs something, s/he should be able to find same then. Also, if this is an effort to push folk into spending (charging!) for items further putting them into the red, we think that is not family-healthy. As far as stores' openings on Thanksgiving & other holidays...we like for them to be closed, and like the idea that employees can be home with their families, a day of (sort of) having the day off.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 1:33 p.m.

I will not be out there at midnight. I've barely got the dishes cleaned or put away at that point. I feel for the employees who work that shift and hope that it's staffed by those who want to be there with premium pay. I've also found in the last few years that the Black Friday specials aren't worth standing in line for...the deals are not that great by the time you add in cost of gas and time away from family.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 1:32 p.m.



Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 1:09 p.m.

Pathetic. No "deal" is worth this level of asininity. If my family were starving and they were handing out bread and rice at midnight, I'd get in line early. I will not do so for a few dollars off on this year's "must-have" gadget.


Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 4:28 p.m.

to get me up in the middle of the night the deal would have to be better than any i've seen


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 12:44 p.m.

Meijer pays its employees premium pay for working on a holiday -- at least they used to when my son worked there back in 2005-2007. It might be different now. He loved working the holidays for that reason. I'm wondering if the other stores that open at 9:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day are doing that for their employees??


Thu, Nov 8, 2012 : 4:23 p.m.

That's because Meijer's employees are unionized and Kroger's also. Majority of other retailers are NOT unionized in anyway so no extra pay for coming in on Thanksgiving or Christmas....if that becomes the newest day soon to tackle hyper-consumerism.


Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 4:31 p.m.

some are some aren't.Meijer only pays premium on holidays if you work your last scheduled day BEFORE the holiday and your first scheduled day AFTER the holiday.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 1:40 p.m.

Yeah, that time and a half at Minimum Wage means they might make $11/hour! And the new hires, the ones most likely to be forced to work, don't even get Holiday Pay until they've got at least 90 days in, more for other holidays.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 12:50 p.m.

Getting the opportunity for overtime or doubletime is like a xmas bonus in and of itself sometimes.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 12:37 p.m.

Christmas is nothing more than a money making proposition anymore. You're not even allowed to say Merry Christmas anymore. I say all Christians boycott and celebrate without all of the purchases

Jonathan Blutarsky

Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 1:48 a.m.

Bah Humbug!


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 4:09 p.m.

"You're not even allowed to say Merry Christmas anymore." Really? I say it all the time, every season.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 12:36 p.m.

Paula...I am a former Target worker, and worked 4 Black Fridays, my last one being only 2 years ago. When the stores opened early (5am or something) it wasn't that big a deal. I was an early morning worker anyway, so I was used to it. Target made the day fun, they brought in food for the employees and tried to lessen the stress a bit. But, when the hours get earlier and earlier, and now with many places opening at midnight, I think it's unfair to the employees. If the store opens at midnight, many people need to get there a couple hours early to set things up. This means leaving the Thanksgiving table early, if they get there at all. If you have to work from 10pm-6am or something, you will spend part of Thanksgiving day sleeping. I know several of my past coworkers push back Thanksgiving and have it over the weekend since they can't be there anymore during the day. Even though the day is fun (at least my experience) and goes by so quickly because you're so busy, missing the family time is something the stores don't seem to care about. It seems now like the focus has been shifted from Thanksgiving to Black Friday, and Thanksgiving is just in the way of people getting shopping deals.

Paula Gardner

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

Thanks for sharing this. I think it confirms what many of us suspect (but may not think about) in regards to Black Friday.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 2:27 p.m.

mady, I DID say it when I was there. There were rumors when I still worked there that they would go to midnight openings. It didn't happen when I was there, and it looks like it won't in the near future, but many of the employees weren't afraid to say things. Most of them were just generic mumblings but still, some were said directly to the store manager's face. At my store anyway, the culture wasn't so harsh where if you complained you were fired. Of course it's understood when working retail that you won't have an ideal holiday schedule, but that doesn't mean we're not allowed to speak up about it when things get changed so dramatically.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 2:20 p.m.

LaMusica, I have to wonder, would you be saying any of this if you were still working there? or would you keep your opinions to yourself because you needed the job? how many employees are remaining silent on this point because they fear losing their jobs? you make a good point in that most retail stores don't care about your life outside your job, or your personal boundaries. in their opinion, Your job is your Life. one so often has to fight for what's truly important in one's life, and i have literally walked off jobs that expected me to put said job before my family. which will not ever happen. Corporate America, don't say I didn't warn you.

Homeland Conspiracy

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 12:24 p.m.

"Shut Up & Buy"

Paula Gardner

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 12:23 p.m.

If any store employees want to weigh in here, I'm curious about your reaction to this. I'm always grateful that places like Meijer are open on Thanksgiving - because I'm invariably running in for things that I forgot to buy (especially as I try to avoid the grocery insanity of the night before Thanksgiving). I can't recall anyone even sending signals that they'd rather not be working (to their credit). But I do wonder about the impact on retail workers of what's become working around the clock on Black Friday, given the time needed to set up for shoppers, deal with lines, etc.


Thu, Nov 8, 2012 : 4:17 p.m.

Basically its ridiculous and unnecessary for the employees required to stop Thanksgiving night celebrations for hyper- consumerism season that begins with "Black Friday". As for Meijer's, it makes sense for a grocery store to be open for like what Paula noted, items needed to complete the Thanksgiving dinner. Yet, Best Buy, Radio Shack, A & F, Champs, Macy's? What do these stores sell that you (consumer) can't wait a day to buy, really? I've worked in retail in Management and Merchandising functions for nearly +10 years. As for the "Black Friday" concept that should now be called "Stuff the turkey in your mouth and GET TO WORK, Thursday", it has gotten downright sad how much retail corporate bosses in executive boardrooms don't give a darn about their front line workers. This is also why retail employees need to pursue unionization. Why? Because even after serving your (consumer) needs on Thursday night/Friday morning, you can bet words has been passed down from Boardroom Based Retail Exeutives that front line employees will NOT receive any overtime Thanksgiving week. Remember in retail, O.T. is only over 40 hours worked in a week, not over 8 hours worked in a day.


Sat, Oct 27, 2012 : 1:46 p.m.

I enjoy working as a cashier, but your unconscious sense of "someone has to pay for my lack of planning" attitude is, I'm afraid, common amongst us. They don't call it the "Service Industry" for nothing. "Service Industry" has become "Servants to Every Whim" Industry. - If you want servants, try getting into a royal family somewhere. I like people but the retailer's PLAN to over-indulge customers has reached the ugly point and it undermines our reverence for real events meant to honor principles like Christianity and building a great nation. These corporate-made "holidays" are purposely encouraging a hectic state of mind in customers - we're more easily fooled into buying junk when we are SET UP to be part of a mob grabbing for a false "onr-time opportunity."


Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 4:42 p.m.

in 2011 i went into to a well known chain store at 6am on BF.There were more customers than there usually r at that hour but no where near the number that were there in past years because the sale started at 4am and the store is a 24/7 store.the really good buys were long gone by 6am indeed probably by 4:15am.


Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 4:35 p.m.

when i first started in retailing -1969- at Kmart as i recall we closed at 9-10 pm TG day and reopened the next morning at 7-8..yes there was a BIG sale but i don't think it was called Black Friday..


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 4:39 p.m.

As a person who managed a food service shop in malls for many years, and now 12 years removed from it, I can tell you this is a managers nightmare. More than half my staff was high school kids working their first jobs. With child labor laws, I would be burning my adult staff during the overnight hours, leaving just the high school kids during the early part of the day with most likely one adult who would be a manager or assistant manager. I can see managers in these shops, such as Mrs. Fields or Cinnabon, working from 10 pm Thanksgiving night until 10:30 Thanksgiving Friday because of call-offs and no one wanting to fill in holes. The pay is not worth standing on your feet for 24+ hours with only enough time to nibble something that does not resemble nourishment. Oh, how about this, these managers trying to drive home after this shift. I hope that companies that have stores in the mall are willing to book some rooms at one of the hotels in perimeter lot for their overtired managers, or we could see some bad effects on the road Friday night.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 2:14 p.m.

Paula....I doubt that many employees are happy about this, but are reluctant to say so because they want to keep their jobs........


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 1:13 p.m.

Paula I'd suggest there's a difference between a store like Meijer and one like Toys R Us being open on Thanksgiving. A grocery store or gas station sells something essential, where people could easily have a legitimate need to buy on that day. Mall stores and places like Toys R Us sell items that can easily wait until the next business day.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 12:22 p.m.

No way! Glad I will be staying home. Who wants to stand in line in the cold waiting for a store to open? Just not worth it. Just my opinion.


Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 2:03 p.m.

Your opinion is something that I can agree with.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 12:12 p.m.

Very unfortunate for the employees. People who work retail already go through hell during the holiday season. And now it begins on midnight, right after Thanksgiving?


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 3:56 p.m.

northside not eveyone hates there job, and if they do, a job change is in order.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 2:47 p.m.

If you don't want to work retail hours, don't work in retail.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 12:11 p.m.

How about an option in your poll for "I shop local at regular business hours so that retail employees can spend the holiday time with their families"....


Thu, Nov 8, 2012 : 3:57 p.m.

Cinnibar, Retail environments don't pay for overtime. In fact, they ensure employees don't receive O.T. by the way they schedule.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 3:53 p.m.

Maybe the employees need the overtime to feed their familys. When I was younger it was the overtime that kept my family afloat.

Barb's Mom

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 12:25 p.m.

Molly, You beat me to it. That is the option I was looking for.

Tom Todd

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 11:06 a.m.

waiting for a black Friday tax from snyder.

Unusual Suspect

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 3:23 p.m.

That was almost not a predictable comment.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 10:37 a.m.

Yay capitalism!!! The biggest day of the year for people to buy things they DO NOT NEED... Best day of the year to go into debt for superficial knickknacks.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 5:45 p.m.

Ba humbug