Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the holiday season, was in full swing in Pittsburg Friday morning.

Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the holiday season, was in full swing in Pittsburg Friday morning.

Many of the area’s larger business, such as Walmart, Hastings and Home Depot declined to comment on how their fall sales were going without corporate consent. But in Meadowbrook Mall, store managers said sales had remained strong since their doors opened in the wee hours of the morning.

“We’ve met our expectations, it’s been very good,” J.C. Penney’s manager Steve Scott said, adding that at least 250 customers were lined up outside the store entrance when the doors opened. “We started right at 4 a.m. and it’s been very strong since opening. It’s been really busy from the time we opened and they haven’t stopped yet.”

Scott said gift items such as Snuggies, toy helicopters and “things you would typically think of as gifts,” were the hottest-selling merchandise. He said other items such as small kitchen appliances, griddles and waffle makers were selling fast as well.

“We also did very well with women’s boots,” Scott said. “They’re trending that way.”

Chelsi Saia, manager at The Buckle, said her store had seen a steady stream of customers, but that it was too early to tell how good sales had been.

“People are definitely in the buying mood, though,” Saia said. “It’s a lot of fun for families.”

Saia said the biggest purchases probably would be layering pieces.

“A lot of vests, sweaters and hoodies,” Saia said. “On both sides, skinnies (jeans) are huge. For men they’re called “fashion slim.”

Saia, who has worked at Buckle stores in Joplin and Springfield, said dividing gift-wrapping duty among the busy employees can be an inconvenience, but that preparing for the sales — there are special employee meetings to hash out sale day strategy — is the most stressful part of the event.

“You just never know what to expect,” Saia said. “But we really try to help set up the employees for what to expect.”

Scott said his employees had done a lot to keep the store running smoothly, despite the early start and throngs of customers.

“We have a great group of associates that come in, and we have great customers with smiles on their faces,” Scott said. “It’s just a pleasant atmoshpere.”

Scott and Saia declined to give sales estimates. But Scott said the famous day of post-Thanksgiving sales doesn’t appear to have slowed from years past, despite a stagnant economy.

“I think traffic has been as strong or stronger,” he said. “Black Friday has become a traditional family shopping day, and I think it’s becoming stronger.”

Saia shared Scott’s sentiment.

“It’s fun for everyone,” Saia said. “Even if they’re not shopping, they’re out for the experience.”