West Valley business sees lots of in-person activity on Black Friday

Nov 25, 2022, 6:31 PM

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — A record 166.3 million people are expected to shop between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, according to an annual survey by the National Retail Federation.

While a lot of that business is done online, there is still a strong appetite for visiting locally owned stores.

“It’s shifting back to ma and pa. It’s shifting back to small business, because yes, you can buy all this stuff online, but you can’t walk in and have that conversation with somebody,” said Charles Prows, owner of The Nerd Store in Valley Fair Mall in West Valley City.

On Nov. 25, 2022, there was a steady stream of customers filing into The Nerd Store looking for pop culture collectables, something The Nerd Store specializes in.

“We sell comics. We sell gaming cards. I do a little bit of video games, belts, apparel; basically anything pop culture-related, we try and carry it,” Prows said.

Eighty percent of stores located in the Valley Fair Mall are locally owned, according to Casey Bulkey, general manager of the mall. It’s one big reason The Nerd Store has found success there.

“If you look around this mall, it is almost all local shops. There is very little cooperate stores, which means this mall is about this community, about West Valley. They want us local owners to succeed,” Prows said.

Prows started The Nerd Store nine years ago at the mall. Since that time, it’s weathered the pandemic, and now inflation.

The store’s earnings are up 10-15% compared to the same time last year, according to Prows.

“The pandemic has caused a lot of people to shift their focus to internal hobbies, which is what we do,” Prows said.

Prows also credits the store’s success to loyal customers like Chris Margetts, who visited the store on Black Friday with his granddaughter Victoria.

“We’re kind of having a papa-granddaughter date, and we thought we would come into the mall today and see the decorations, and we know The Nerd Store and try to come in here when we can,” Margetts said.

Margetts purchased a stuffed animal and several Harry Potter collectables for his granddaughter, but he said he often visits the store looking to build his own collection.

“I love the variety and I’m a big collector — Creep Show, Iron Maiden, anything like that, you can get it here,” Margetts said.

Shopper Cathryn Hammer visited the store Friday with her brother-in-law, who was looking for family Christmas gifts.

“I always like hanging around in nerdy stores,” Hammer said. “This is my go-to place for people who also like nerdy stuff.”

“I started this thing on $400, and the fact that I’m still here today 9 years later and able to do this as my career, it’s 100% because we were well received. And so thank you to West Valley, the customers and Valley Fair Mall for helping us get here,” Prows said.

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West Valley business sees lots of in-person activity on Black Friday