There was an inviting calm in the air at the Village of Sandhill on Monday morning.
For a moment in time, the long lines, doorbuster sales and general gridlock of recent days had given way to more leisurely strolls inside the shops and along the sidewalks of the Northeast Richland retail center.
Wendy Schourek wouldn’t have it any other way.
Like many eager to avoid the Black Friday and Thanksgiving weekend rush, the Northeast Richland resident had put off her shopping until Monday.
“I have two kids ... and I didn’t want to bring them out on Black Friday,” Schourek said. “That and I’m not an early riser.”
While the Cyber Monday online shopping trend of recent years is credited for a small drop in shopping the Monday after Thanksgiving, some shoppers prefer a day when the store aisles are less crowded and checkout less stressful.
“It’s been awesome,” said Schourek, who was armed with a package from Coldwater Creek as she strolled around the shopping center Monday morning. “I’ve had my pick (of the stores), and I haven’t had to fight over a lot of people.”
Helen Connell has shopped the Monday after Thanksgiving for years.
“It’s just wonderful,” she said, adding she likes to avoid the frenzy of Black Friday.
“I passed on that,” Connell said. “The stores are still here today, and I’d have to really want something for myself or my grandchildren to come out in that.”
Parking spaces were plentiful at the Village of Sandhill and at other malls and shops around the area. And Christmas music — often drowned by the chatter of shoppers — was distinct in many stores.
Dan Henry, who was visiting with family from Oregon, said they skipped the holiday shopping rush back at home in favor of a more leisurely day out Monday.
“It’s nice,” Henry said. “It’s not crowded at all.”
Area retailers weren’t surprised by the smaller crowds, as many said Mondays are typically slower. Some retailers took advantage of the day to restock shelves or order more inventory.
Tracy Wright, who operates Just the Thing, a family-owned gift store on Devine Street, said the store had a big weekend. Even so, she wasn’t giving up on Monday sales.
Wright said the store sent out mass emails and used social media to push the Monday sales but added she wouldn’t know until afterward how successful those efforts had been.
Even so, she was expecting events like Small Business Saturday to keeping benefitting her store and other local shops.
“Coming off of that it’s still in people’s minds,” she said. “I think there is a real buzz to the shop small (business) movement.”
Denise Kim, who opened “My-Kim Collection” clothing store on Devine Street five months ago, said she had a successful Black Friday and wasn’t discouraged to find the shop nearly empty Monday morning.
“It’s definitely dead today,” she said, adding most shoppers who did come in were just browsing. “I think a lot of people are just done today.”
She expects sales to pick up again before Christmas and plans to be ready when they do.
“I’m on the Internet shopping for the store because I think the next few weeks are going to be busy,” Kim said.