Black Friday doesn't draw massive crowds in Santa Fe

·4 min read

Nov. 27—Ho hum.

Black Friday was just another Friday in Santa Fe.

Yes, stores opened early — some at 5 a.m., more at 7, 8 and 9 a.m.

But there were no midnight or Thanksgiving openings this year, following last year's anti-Black Friday, when many stores didn't even open — and there were no early morning crowds.

Parking lots at big box stores were no more than one-third filled while temperatures climbed from 27 to 30 degrees as the sun inched up the horizon. Target and the Walmart Supercenter had only one or two people in any checkout line around 7 and 8 a.m.

"It was not eventful, as it has been," said Marcos Montoya, who was shopping at the Walmart Supercenter with his wife and two young daughters. "We were expecting lines out the door and sales galore, but it's like the same as every other day."

Unlike the average American — who might be purchasing as much as 67 percent of holiday gifts online, according to the annual Holiday Gifting Survey from online auction site Tophatter — the Montoyas prefer shopping in brick-and-mortar stores.

"We haven't done any online shopping yet," Marcos Montoya said. "I like to see what I'm buying."

Orlando Mendoza and his family were at the Walmart Supercenter around 7 a.m., continuing their Black Friday shopping tradition.

"We used to go Thursday evening," Mendoza said. "Right after dinner, go out shopping. Normally, we're up all night."

This year, he said, "We slept in until 6:30-7. It's not the same, for sure. It's like a normal day at Walmart."

Cynthia Vargas and her sister and mother were at Walmart when it opened at 5 a.m. and shopping at Target at 7:30.

"We got a really good sale on a TV and toys for the grandson," Vargas said as the Santa Fe trio loaded goods into an already packed vehicle. "That's it for today."

Wendy Zerkel of Santa Fe was ready to visit Walmart and Best Buy in the pre-dawn hours. Both stores opened at 5 a.m., as did Kohl's and JC Penney.

"I went to Walmart first and didn't see any crowds," Zerkel said. "We got a TV at Best Buy. I took my daughter and husband home and came to Target for some smaller things."

Dennis Hernandez does most of his holiday shopping online, but he was at Target at 8 a.m. to buy collectibles for his son.

"Sometimes they don't have the stuff online," Hernandez said. "I'll go next to Walmart and that's it."

Thomasinia Ortiz Gallegos and her group embrace the traditional Black Friday.

"This is our fifth store," she said at 8 a.m. at Target, listing off Best Buy, Ulta, JC Penney and Kohl's. She was out early "to start making it feel like normal again, back to feeling the spirit."

"This is the last big store," Ortiz Gallegos added. "The rest will be small, local businesses."

Speaking of small local businesses, the downtown Doodlet's shop was bustling with customers, though there wasn't quite a line out the door, as there often was on Black Fridays past, owner Lisa Young said.

"So far it hasn't felt overwhelming, but we're almost always busy," she said, estimating 70 percent of her Black Friday shoppers were tourists. "It seems like there are a lot of people downtown."

Amanda Sena of Santa Fe hasn't been a traditional early morning Black Friday shopper — she does nearly all of her holiday shopping online — but she made an excursion to Target at 8 a.m.

"It was just to get out of the house; that's pretty much it," Sena said.

Kathy Gallegos drove to town from Canjilon, beyond Abiquiú, to pick up a Pioneer Woman Skillet set from Target for $15, saying it normally costs about $45 or $50.

"This is our first store," she said around 8 a.m. "We will go to Penney's next. I've done a lot of my shopping online. Some things I have to see it to know I want it."

The DeVargas Center parking lot was fairly full after 1 p.m., as it would be on a normal weekend, but there wasn't a mass of people in the mall or in the HomeGoods store that opened in March.

"I thought it was going to be busy when I came in, but it wasn't at all," Tesuque resident Irene Baca said in HomeGoods. "You can take your time and look around."

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