Black Friday bargains draw big crowds in Warwick

(WPRI)

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) – Black Friday shopping was in full swing Friday.

The Warwick Mall was bustling with activity around noontime, and earlier in the day, parents descended on the nearby Toys R Us to scoop up gifts.

“This is the best time of the year for us,” said manager Bob Caserta. “This is what we wait for all year.”

Despite the prevelance of online shopping, people aren’t staying away from the brick-and-mortar stores.

“It’s changed over the years, obviously, with online shopping being as popular as it is,” Caserta said, “but it’s still exciting. A lot of people just like the moment, to get out there at midnight, see what the deals are, and it’s something that they look forward to every year.”

According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, about 115 million Americans are expected to be out and about today doing their shopping.

Black Friday is followed tomorrow by Small Business Saturday, a movement which encourages people to avoid chains and big-box stores and instead spend their money with local retailers. Proponents say that if 10% of buying shifted from chains to independent, locally-owned businesses, about $373 million would be pumped into Rhode Island’s economy.