By all reports the opening of this year’s holiday shopping season was a big success for the economy. People were opening their wallets more than in the last couple of years which may indicate that things are improving. And here in Auburn Hills, where we are a regional shopping mecca, we are happy to report that we had large, fun-loving crowds out for a bargain starting at about 9 pm on Thanksgiving. Like you, we’ve heard about Black Friday situations around the country where the shopping became problematic with assaultive behavior by some shoppers on other people, including the woman who pepper sprayed others to keep them away from merchandise she wanted, and crowd rushes where people were injured, among other not-so-good things.
We do significant planning and preparation with our retailers to avoid these kinds of issues. We develop a detailed plan that includes everything from traffic management to social media, all geared to help people get in, get parked and enjoy their stay in our town. I was out driving around on Thanksgiving evening myself and was surprised to see a traffic back up to the area of the Palace for northbound I-75 headed for the mall area at about 10 pm. I knew we were in for a very busy evening…
Our team did a great job by using NIXLE and Twitter to give updates about traffic and roadway conditions for the entire 24 hr period. We had plans to deploy our personnel over that same period to make sure that we had an adequate presence in the area to help people feel safe and prevent problems. The good news is that we had very few issues–a few traffic crashes in the parking lots and very little else considering the large crowds.
I want to give a shout out to the great team that put it together: Sergeant Jill McDonnell, Officers Rometty, Mahon, Brown led by Lt. Cas Miarka. Without their planning and hard work, visitors to our city might have gotten a different view.
If you were a Black Friday shopper, I hope that you found your bargain in Auburn Hills. If you weren’t, you should join our shoppers next year– you won’t be sorry.