By CHRIS AGEE
As many retailers kicked off Black Friday sales earlier than ever before, many locals were waiting in line while others were still enjoying Thanksgiving dinner.
Bealls was one of the stores that began offering discounts at 8 p.m. Thursday and manager Ann Burns said the early start was a success.
“There was a really good turnout [Thursday] night,” she said. Before opening, she said shoppers “started forming lines down to Steele’s.”
As an incentive, Burns said the retailer gave the first 25 customers Thursday night a scratch-off ticket worth as much as $100.
“In five minutes we had already handed them all out,” she recalled.
Upon reopening at 6 a.m. Friday to continue the sale, Burns said a similar ticket giveaway took an hour, indicating shoppers were more anxious to look for deals on Thanksgiving.
Though plenty of bargain hunters waited in long lines to be among the first to shop, some locals bypassed the crowds and focused on mid-morning Black Friday sales.
“I’m just now getting out,” Jack Burns said at around 11 a.m. “I’m just trying to pick up a few things.”
He said he stayed away from the hectic environment this year, though his son and daughter-in-law were among the shoppers out and about Thursday evening.
They were able to purchase the items they wanted, he said, but the idea of competing for bargains did not appeal to him.
“I did it once and no more,” he said. “I had my life threatened.”
Cheryl Robinson knew exactly what she wanted before camping out in front of a Hudson Oaks retailer Thursday night.
“It wasn’t bad,” she said. “We waited about two hours.”
Robinson said she purchased an electronic reader and a television, both of which were steeply discounted. She continued her shopping Friday morning at a department store in Mineral Wells.
Some shoppers turned Black Friday into an entire day of shopping.
Nina Henderson was still shopping late Friday morning after beginning her day in Weatherford and continuing onto Mineral Wells destinations.
She said she was among a group of shoppers who arrived at one department store at 4:30 a.m. Friday.
“I had a very good deal there,” she said, noting that she waited in line for “a couple of hours” before the store opened.
After leaving her initial destination, she said she stopped at several nearby stores and ate breakfast before heading to Mineral Wells to take advantage of even more deals.
“Everything was great,” she said, explaining staff and fellow shoppers were courteous and accommodating at each store she visited.
This year marked the first for many businesses and shoppers to begin the Christmas shopping season on Thanksgiving and, according to Burns, a big turnout indicates the trend will likely continue.
“I have a feeling we’ll probably keep doing this,” she said. “There was a lot of excitement going on.”
Locals hit stores as Christmas shopping season officially begins
By CHRIS AGEE
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