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Local merchants ready for Black Friday shoppers


Kendal O’Connor

ANTHEM – As shopping centers nationwide prepare for one of the biggest holiday sales of the year, the Outlets at Anthem are getting ready for their ninth annual Moonlight Madness event and are expecting more than 60,000 shoppers this year.

The mall will open on Thanksgiving night, Nov. 26, starting at 10 p.m. and stay open until 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 27. 

Even though the outlet stores are normally 40 to 60 percent off every day, on Black Friday customers can take advantage of additional discounts, prizes, and “door buster” deals to kick off holiday shopping.

“There’s truly a huge savings you can get here,” Sallyann Martinez, who has been the Marketing Director of Outlets at Anthem for nine years, said. “We’re the perfect place for savvy shoppers.”

The Outlets at Anthem take care to provide a wide variety of retailers that cater to every age group, so no one in the family will feel left out. Stores like Nike and Gymboree to Michael Kors and Coach are all within walking distance of each other, and all on sale.

“You can shop here for everyone on your list,” Martinez said. “In one night you can get all of your Christmas shopping done.” 

Prior to Westgate’s Tanger Outlets opening in 2012, the Outlets at Anthem made up the only large-scale outlet mall in Arizona and set the pace for holiday shopping. Now to keep up with other major retailers opening their doors earlier and earlier each year, the shopping center has started to get even more competitive with their deals in order to attract Black Friday shoppers from all over the state.  

“Years ago we were the only ones to open on Thanksgiving night, the retail industry has definitely changed,” Martinez said.

One store manager, Taryn Zorz, who has been working in retail since she was 16 years old, said she might skip out on turkey this year in order to prepare for a twelve-hour overnight shift. 

“I’m hoping to sleep as late as I can on Thursday because working overnight is brutal, but [Black Friday] is what we look forward to in retail,” Zorz said.

Many of the stores at the mall will have a potluck or provide snacks and refreshments in the back room for employees in case they get hungry or need an energy boost, Martinez said.

Cindy Penka-Shack, a longtime Phoenix resident, has been a Black Friday shopper for six years now and considers it a tradition between three generations: her mother, herself, and her daughter. Every year she takes to the mall without a plan or a shopping list, searching for a deal to catch her eye.  

“Sometimes we have a general idea of one or two things [my daughter] might need, but generally we just go from store to store looking to find a good deal,” Penka-Shack said.

The Outlets at Anthem also feature another popular holiday attraction: the tallest, fresh-cut Christmas tree in the nation, a white fir that stands 115 feet high and is topped by a handmade copper star. 

“Every year thousands of shoppers come to the center to kick start the holiday season with us,” Martinez said. “We are so excited to continue this tradition for shoppers and their families and provide some of the best savings that the valley has to offer.”