By Collin Cunningham
(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) Good morning, Charlotteans! It's the day after Thanksgiving, so that means it's Black Friday and tomorrow is Small Business Saturday. This roundup lists local Black Friday mall hours and deals, with the Charlotte Hornets discounting game tickets and merchandise, and detail what the local commerce shopping day will look like at South End, which is hosting a series of Small Business Saturdays through December. We also have the latest on a local store that will be singing its swan song with deals today, as Manifest Discs on South Boulevard is set to close its doors after two decades.
Starting off the news, a drunk driver killed two people in a crash near University Place Shopping Center and this weekend will be a bit warmer than the past few days, with warmer weather continuing into next week. Find the weather at the bottom of the page. And, new this week, our weekend reading list, where readers can find more articles about Charlotte to sift through over the next few days.
Today is Friday, Nov. 26, and here's what every Queen City resident needs to know.
What happened: A 2017 Volkswagen Golf collided with a 2011 Audi SUV near the Terraces at University Place shopping mall in Charlotte around 9 p.m. on Thursday, killing the driver of the Audi, 32-year-old Luke Drawdy, and his 35-year-old passenger, Restin Drawdy. Police charged the driver of the Volkswagen, 26-year-old Thomas Nix, with driving while impaired. Nix went to the hospital with minor injuries.
Per police, Nix struck the Audi while it was trying to turn left onto North Tryon out of the University City shopping center. Investigators are still looking into the crash, but say speed played a factor in the damage done to the Volkswagen.
Why it matters: In addition to the DWI charge, Nix faces two counts of felony death by motor vehicle and reckless driving for the Thanksgiving accident.
2. Black Friday deals and store hours in Charlotte
What's happening: Today is Black Friday, and Charlotte has several malls that will be open for keen shoppers looking to scoop up various deals. Carolina Place in Pineville will be open through 9 p.m. tonight, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. tomorrow and from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Charlotte Premium Outlets near the city's Dixie-Berryhill neighborhood is also open until 9 p.m. tonight, keeping hours of 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday.
Concord Mills is open the same hours as the Premium Outlets today and Saturday and on Sunday from 12 to 7 p.m. According to the Charlotte Observer, a new highway "flyover bridge" near Concord Mills hopes to alleviate congestion from traffic exiting Interstate 85 for the mall after opening on Wednesday. The North Carolina Department of Transportation said the new bridge replaces the old left-turn lanes leading to the mall to discourage bottlenecking on Concord Mills Boulevard.
Shopping for a Queen City sports fan? The Charlotte Hornets are waiving fees on tickets to five games between December and January for Black Friday. The deal started at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving and will continue through 11:59 p.m. Monday. And entering the code SPEND75 on the Hornets' online store will net buyers 20% off merchandise orders that are $75 or more. The Carolina Panthers, meanwhile, also have a 20% off deal for folks who enter the code NFLSAVE on orders exceeding $75.
Axios has a list of the best neighborhoods to buy gifts in Charlotte. Spoiler alert: Pineville, Concord Mills and SouthPark took the top spots. Per WCNC, some shoppers have been in line for technology deals at Best Buy in Steele Creek at 3:30 a.m. this morning.
3. Small Business Saturday in Charlotte: Stores, markets, gift guide
What's happening: Small Business Saturday follows Black Friday. American Express invented the holiday in 2010 as an adjunct shopping holiday for the furious Friday and Cyber Monday.
In the Queen City, South Park is leading the charge with a series of four Small Business Saturdays, stretching each weekend from Nov. 27 to Dec. 18. The South End Farmer's Market will host a series of extended holiday markets each Saturday, with a Shop Small Saturday Market festival lining Camden Road during the first two weekends. On Dec. 11, the Winter Wonderland on Winnifred will encourage residents to browse the Shops at the Winnifred and Nebel's Alley Night Market is slated for Dec. 18.
Plaza Midwood is also getting in on SBS with a pop-up event starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
Still looking for gift ideas? WSOC has a 704 Holiday Gift Guide, featuring several other holiday markets and a few more creative options for gift-giving. Experiences make great presents, and Blumenthal Performing Arts is giving out free parking passes to anyone who buys tickets to select shows between Nov. 26 and Dec. 24.
Why it matters: SBS encourages people to support the craftspeople and other creatives close for them while knocking out their shopping lists, and it seems to work: Per WFAE, shoppers spent nearly $20 billion during last year's event. We mentioned rising prices in the Black Friday section, but those don't just affect consumers. Small business owners see the impact of supply chain issues and employee shortages before anyone else, so tomorrow could aid local businesses in a year where there hasn't been much to go around.
In other news relating to small businesses in Charlotte, Manifest Discs near the city's Closeburn-Glenkirk neighborhood is slashing prices starting today, but the deals are a bit harder to celebrate. Earlier this week, the store announced a liquidation sale that will see almost everything reduced by 30-75% as of Black Friday as the store prepares to close. There is no exact final date to purchase records and DVDs at the shop, but Charlotteans who have visited since the media store opened in 1999 at 6239 South Blvd. may want to go say their final goodbyes.
4. Charlotte weather forecast, Nov. 26 to Dec. 1
It's been a bit chillier this week around the Queen City, but now that Thanksgiving is over, that's expected to change. The mid-50s we saw this week are set to increase going into an unexpectedly warm start to December, with temperatures set to increase to the 70s by Dec. 3.
Weekend reading list
Here are a few stories to keep you busy and informed over the weekend.