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Stores anticipate smaller holiday crowds

Because Thanksgiving gatherings are limited to one household, a larger number of small meals are taking place.
Published: Nov. 26, 2020 at 2:35 PM EST
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MARQUETTE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLUC) - Thanksgiving week usually includes some of the biggest shopping days of the year. However, with COVID-19 changing most people’s holiday plans, that might not be the case for 2020.

Meijer store director John Spaulding says although gatherings are limited in size, people are still celebrating within their households.

“Thanksgiving meals I think look a little different this year,” Spaulding said. “I think there’s more of them, maybe a little bit smaller. We’ve really seen that in turkey sales. Quite often, we would run out of the 25 – 30 pound turkeys, and this year it’s the hens.”

Until the store closed at 4 p.m., a steady stream of customers made their way through the aisles for last-minute Thanksgiving items on November 26.

“For us, today’s a day to rescue a lot of people,” said Spaulding. “If you’re at home, you’re cooking your turkey, you realize you need butter, stuffing, we have it and we’re available and open for you.”

For customers like Nick Mershom, that was good news. Instead of traveling home, he’s celebrating here due to COVID-19. He went to Meijer to pick up some Thanksgiving essentials.

“I’m glad people are open and I’m glad people are working,” Mershom said. “I know the feeling; I’ve worked jobs like this on holidays, so I appreciate them.”

Of course, after Thanksgiving comes Black Friday. To help reduce crowd sizes, Meijer has had ongoing deals since Sunday.

“It’s still an exciting ad, but there hasn’t been that huge pressure to get here Friday morning and deal with the crowds,” said Spaulding. “We think that’s going to work for us, work for our customers, and frankly be safer for everybody.”

Meijer will resume regular hours on Black Friday. Deals will continue through Saturday.

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