Neither nagging rain nor see-your-breath cold could keep Lululemon shoppers from their appointed rounds Friday in Brookside.

About 70 people had wrapped around the apparel store’s front entrance shortly after its 9 a.m. opening. Because of the shop’s limited capacity, patrons were admitted in waves.

“We didn’t make it for the first cut, so we have to wait and hope that there are things still left on the rack,” said Angela Bizzarri of Omaha, Nebraska.

Bizzarri was among the thousands in Tulsa who took part in Black Friday, when retailers traditionally offer their deepest discounts of the Christmas shopping season.

An estimated 114.6 million people nationally are expected to search for gifts on Black Friday, 66.6 million on Small Business Saturday and 33.3 million on Sunday, according to a an annual survey by the National Retail Federation and Proper Insights & Analytics. The shopping weekend will conclude on Cyber Monday, when 68.7 million folks are expected to capitalize on online bargains.

Bizzarri was in Tulsa shopping with her two teenage children, Bizzarri’s sister, Hillary Keely, and her daughter.

“We have children that are determined that they need the Lululemon specials that are supposedly on the other side of these doors,” Bizzarri said. “It’s expensive but it wears well. It seems to be the trend for men as well as women.”

The group arrived in Brookside after a stop at Woodland Hills.

“This is where they wanted to go more than any other place,” Bizzarri said.

Mitch Renberg shared that sentiment. He was at Lululemon with a group that included his sister, 12-year-old daughter and niece.

“The clothes really do hold up well and last forever,” he said just after being summoned to head inside. “I’d wear them.

“Plus, they are trendy and they’re in style. They are what all the kids want.”

Just down the street, Urban Outfitters advertised a buy-one-get-one-50% off sale. It opened Friday two hours earlier than usual.

“We started kind of gearing up at 8 a.m.,” said Monique Wehrspann, store manager. “This is a good block party for us. It will start getting busier around the lunchtime hour.”

The Urban Outfitters’ sale extends through Monday, she said.

“On days like Black Friday, you’ll see a lot more traffic in the Tulsa Hills area or at Woodland Hills,” Wehrspann said. “We do compete with them.

“But we’ll start to see those people in the afternoon. They go out and do all their big-box, chain shopping and then come here.”

Customers began filing into Ida Red, billed as Oklahoma’s general store, as soon as it opened its Brookside venue at 10 a.m.

“Our biggest thing is Small Business Saturday, obviously,” said Maggie Donoho, general manager. “But this is like the beginning of our season. It’s kind of like when the ball starts rolling, where you are out of control.

“The great thing is we do have a lot of other big-box retailers like Urban (Outfitters) and Lululemon. They wait in line for those stores, and then we either kind of get the overflow from that or once they are done shopping and getting those deals, they will shop around in these areas. It’s nice to have the mix of local with big-box people. I feel like we legitimize them and they legitimize us in a way. It’s a good give-and-take.”

Over on Cherry Street, patrons frequented shops such as Rustic Cuff and Modern Cottage. If they had gems in mind, Bruce G. Weber had an assortment to choose from.

“The last couple of weeks (before Christmas), that’s when we’re the busiest,” said Store Director Michelle Holdgrafer, alluding to the store’s lack of bustle shortly after its opening. “If we were doing everything at 50% off, I’m sure we’d have a line outside the door.”

Only 36% of people said they planned to do most of their holiday shopping on Black Friday, down from 51% just three years ago, according to a survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers. Helping get people in Bruce G. Weber on Friday were items such as hoops, pendants and bracelets that cost $150 or less.

“That’s kind of our Black Friday thing,” Holdgrafer said. “As we get closer to the big holiday, it just kind of ramps up.”

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Rhett Morgan





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