NEW ULM - Despite a brisk north wind that pushed the wind chill below zero at times, Black Friday bargain-hunters turned out in large numbers around midnight and since 7 a.m., according to a downtown department store manager.
"It was super from midnight to 2 a.m. and since 7 a.m.," said Herbergers store manager Rollo Lentz Friday noon. "It was as good or better than (Black Friday) last year. The home department was busy, selling lots of bedding and small electrical items. Shoes and clothing were really selling too."
Lentz praised the New Ulm Chamber of Commerce and New Ulm Business and Retail Association for promoting the day with the first Christkindlmarkt - a festival and street marketplace showcasing handmade works and performances similar to Christmas markets in Germany held for centuries in town squares.
Staff photo by Fritz Busch
A?shopper peruses Christkindlmarkt wares Friday in the New Ulm American Legion Club. The Christmas market was moved from tents on Center Street to the Legion club due to the blast of cold weather.
The promotions helped bring people to New Ulm, Lentz said.
However, the adverse weather conditions on Friday forced the Christkindlmarkt inside to the warmth of the American Legion Club.
Live reindeer were displayed just outside the Legion club rooms.
The weather did not curtail the horse-drawn wagon rides. With their parents in tow, children scurried onto a wagon for a journey around town.
Intended to foster arts and heritage, revive cultural traditions and promote family values, the event was created to spread good will and refocus on the spirit of the coming holidays.
Meanwhile on the retail front, shoppers sought bargains at the big-box stores.
Target Store Second Shift Manager Beth Welsh said Thursday night and Friday sales were "very good, very busy."
"We've sold out of many door buster items like 42-inch televisions, but we've got a few 32-inch high-resolution TVs left," Welsh said late Friday morning. "We've got some Christmas trees, DVDs, movies and some other items on sale through Saturday."
Wal-Mart Supercenter Assistant Manager Kyle Ellerbach said the store was very busy on Thursday night and Friday.
"Most higher-priced items are gone," Ellerbach said. "We've got some DVDs, movies, clothing and domestic items on sale left."
(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at email@example.com).