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Black Friday crowds return to Mankato businesses

Thousands of shoppers filled carts and emptied shelves.
Published: Nov. 26, 2021 at 6:24 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 26, 2021 at 7:05 PM CST
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - Thousands of Black Friday shoppers filled carts and emptied shelves at Mankato retailers.

It’s a sight most businesses haven’t seen in two years, before the pandemic began.

“Last year, with COVID, everybody was a little more concerned about getting out and about. More people are shopping online this year, but it’s definitely more like two years ago but even better than that,” stated Bernie Wenseler, general manager at Fleet Farm.

Fleet Farm said some customers seemed to be making up for the lost time.

Wenseler added, “I think everybody’s so excited to get back out and do some shopping.”

Early birds started lining up outside the store at 2 a.m., three hours before the doors opened.

“They started lining up, and I can’t even tell you how far it went in the parking lot. I didn’t even look, but I know there was about 500, 600 or 700 customers out there,” Wenseler explained.

Menards also saw high customer turnout.

“They were lined up. It took them a little while to get the entire crowd in here, and we had the crew here, ready to go for them, and it was a lot of fun and it has been all day,” mentioned Bob Rifleman, general manager at Menards.

It’s one of many companies stretching its Black Friday deals over multiple days to ease heavy foot traffic.

“We have gone to a ten-day extravaganza,” Rifleman said. “Last year was really a COVID year, but it’s bouncing back. It really is, so it’s great.”

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