By Juan Soto and Madina Toure
Bargain-hunters came out for the busiest shopping weekend of the year throughout the borough.
According to the National Retail Federation, about 90 million people shopped in stores or online this Black Friday.
Forest Hills resident Andrew Concilio was one of them. It was his lucky day.
Concilio, 45, bought two pants and two shirts at Banana Republic on Austin Street in Forest Hills for his new job the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. But he was told that he could return and rebuy the clothes at a better price on Black Friday.
He did that, and got two sweaters, too. He ended up spending $130 for clothes worth more than $350.
“The same day that I was purchasing the items, they told me that if I return them and re-buy them, I get a better discount,” Concilio said.
The National Retail Federation said shopper activity from Thanksgiving Day through Sunday dropped about 5.2 percent this year from 141 million customers in 2013 to this year’s 133 million.
Stores and shopping centers across the borough were busy, but not as much as last year.
Shoppers did not have to wait for Black Friday.
With stores opening Thanksgiving Day, the magic of the Black Friday skillful buyer is a thing of the past.
But borough residents still enjoyed spending money from Thursday until Sunday evening.
Queens Center, the largest mall in the city, opened its doors at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving, but the crowds were surprisingly thin on Black Friday morning. That began to change around 11 a.m. as shoppers started filling the escalators. By noon the giant parking garage was filled and overflow traffic clogged the streets of Elmhurst.
Alissa Mounsey went to the Bay Terrace Shopping Center Thanksgiving night.
“We came to do holiday shopping, and it was worth it,” she said, Monsey got “good deals” from some of the stores at the outdoor mall.
And there was a second round on Black Friday.
“Generally sales are not as good as last year, but we are here to find decent bargains,” said Mounsey, who was out shopping with Christine Hannigan, Sandy and 2-year-old C.J.
“The shopping won’t stop,” said Christine. “We began last night (Thanksgiving) and we will shop until Christmas.”
Best friends Ellen Kaznesiotis and Maria Kontolemakis noticed that sales were not as deep this year.
“I found the prices a little higher than last year,” Kaznesiotis, a Whitestone resident, said. “But I did find everything I needed, especially Christmas gifts for the family.”
“It’s a hit or miss, basically,” said Kontolemakis, who lives in Bayside. “This was my first Black Friday shopping.”
They were shopping for themselves and for the family, of course. They basically found everything they were looking for Christmas gifts.
“Family is first, but we take care of ourselves, too,” they said.
Since her son has baking camp near Austin Street in Forest Hills, Woodside resident Becky Rumayor, 45, took advantage of the free time to do some Black Friday shopping.
She got a navy blue hooded winter robe, a couple pairs of gloves, three hats, three black Polos and a black T-shirt for gym class for her 6-year-old son for only $50 at Children’s Place. She also spent $75 at Victoria’s Secret and bought black skinny jeans for $24.99 at Ann Taylor Loft.
Bagriculture, a secondhand store that sells designer bags, held a soft opening Black Friday, its second location.
Brand names like Louis Vuitton and Gucci were sold for $199 or less — bags that typically go for $500 to $2,500. The store made $20,000 in store and online sales. By close to 11 a.m., at least 10 people showed up and more than 100 people were expected to appear.
“There’s a high demand for this,” Sara Bahri, the store’s manager, said. “A lot of people are happy we’re here.”
Furniture stores also joined in on the Black Friday fun. Ron Ruben, manager of Beverly Hills Furniture, was offering up to 50 percent off furniture. A living room that would normally cost $3,000 was marked down for $1,499 and a beige couch that usually sold for $1,600 was marked down for $999.
About a dozen people came in by 12:30 p.m., and a total of 40 people were expected to show up, Ruben said. “We just have various price slashes throughout the store,” he said.
Business was a bit slower on Jamaica Avenue in downtown Jamaica, but some business had a little success. Jamaica Avenue Designers was selling three suits for $200 and 10 percent to 15 percent off of suits and other items.
About 50 people turned up by noon, with more than 100 people expected to show up, said Honore Bernadin Gogoua, the store’s owner.
“Yesterday business was pretty good,” Gogoua said. “People also came yesterday in anticipation of coming today, so we expect to do more as usual but if we have $2,000, that will be a good target for us.”
And then there was Cyber Monday.
“I usually shop online,” Kaznesiotis said while shopping at Bay Terrace. “My Black Friday is Cyber Monday.”
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