FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – Much of the Black Friday hype centers on malls and large department stores, but smaller shops in Westport and Fairfield saw plenty of action too.
Traffic spiked on and around Westport’s Main Street Friday morning and afternoon, with shoppers coming from all over the area. Jim Foreman, in fact, was visiting from San Francisco, and waited patiently for his wife outside many of Westport’s small shops.
“It’s the closest to where my son lives,” Foreman said of Westport’s Main Street area. “And there’s a lot of nice shops down here.”
Thousands of shoppers crowded the Westport area Friday, looking for bargains and starting their holiday shopping. Fairfield saw similar crowds it its Fairfield Center parking lots and Post Road shops.
The scene was a marked improvement for local businesses over the last few weeks. A handful of Westport’s businesses were still closed for repairs Friday after Hurricane Sandy’s flooding hit the area three weeks ago. But many saw their first large crowds since the storm.
“I would say it’s busier than last year,” said one Westport police officer managing traffic near Main Street. “Which is good for a lot of the businesses, since so many of them were out of commission for the storm.”
Friday’s rush marked just the beginning of what many local shops hope will be a busy season. The day after Black Friday will be Small Business Saturday, when American Express offers card holders special deals for shopping at locally owned businesses. And two days later is what has been dubbed Cyber Monday, when online retailers start their holiday push.
“We’re really looking forward to it, and we’ve got a lot of good Christmas products,” Peter Aspinwall of Fairfield’s Hazel Daze Boutique said of the holiday shopping season. “I think it’s going to be good. It has been in the past, for more businesses.”