Black Friday boosts local economy despite inflation

Published: Nov. 25, 2022 at 10:22 PM CST
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - Deals and steals drew shoppers from their turkey-induced slumber this Black Friday and one family headed to Central Plaza in Lawton to take advantage of the sales.

“My daughter smashed her phone to bits, we had to get her another one... I’m impatient, I don’t like waiting for Amazon, not to mention the porch pirates, so if I can get it right there, I just like to get it right there,” Black Friday shopper Omar Santiago said.

But, the competitive prices are more than just a chance to check off the holiday shopping list.

“The big shopping days such as Black Friday really help our community because not only is it an influx of cash but also helps our retailers shift out with the old things and get ready for the holidays and give them space to bring in new materials as well,” Lawton-Ft. Sill Chamber of Commerce CEO Dr. Krista Ratliff said.

This year the hustle and bustle of Black Friday may have seemed a bit calmer than usual, Dr. Ratliff said inflation is to blame.

“Our research is telling us over 75% of people in the community will be shopping on Black Friday. That is a little bit lower than years past, but it does also help influx with sales tax and things like that with our community,” Dr. Ratliff said.

That slump in sales may be a big concern for small businesses.

“Everything is going up, and it is a little bit scary for the small businesses, especially the handcrafted items, they’re scared to mark it up but I mean everything’s getting marked up,” Stop & Shop Local coordinator Kat Funaki said.

Whether buyers pick up their presents locally or at the trendiest shops of the season, Dr. Ratliff said Lawton benefits either way.

“Our big box retailers and even Amazon do pay sales tax, as long as the delivery address is within our community,” Dr. Ratliff said.

However, Funaki said the benefit is even greater when dollars go to a local business.

“All the small business owners, [the money] stay’s right in their pocket, it goes to paying their bills, not a big corporate office,” Funaki said.

Saturday, Stop and Shop local will have booths set up from 12 P.M. to 6 P.M. at the Hilton Garden Inn Lawton-Fort Sill Convention Center for Small Business Saturday.