Area retailers enjoy large Black Friday turnout [Opelika-Auburn News, Ala.]By Donathan Prater, Opelika-Auburn News, Ala.McClatchy-Tribune Information Services
Nov. 23--Auburn and Opelika shopping centers were packed before their usual hours Friday as shoppers massed for Black Friday sales.
The sign marking the entrance to the TigerTown Best Buy read "Line Forms Here" in bold letters. That line, in fact, stretched from the entrance of Best Buy to several doors down, store manager Karl Ward said.
"All the way down to Petco," he said as he directed customers checking out to cashiers.
Televisions, laptops and gaming systems were among the hot ticket items shoppers sought when the electronics retailer opened at midnight Thursday, Ward said.
Ward said the large volume and selection of electronics has routinely been a big draw for shoppers on Black Friday. He estimated this year's turnout to be on par with years past.
Sam Feminella wasn't part of the night crowd but still managed to score an Apple TV and some Blu-rays.
"When I go Black Friday shopping, I normally don't go for big items," Feminella, an Auburn resident said. "I got up at about eight and that was still a little too early for me."
Stores at TigerTown in Opelika and the Village Mall in Auburn opened their doors as early as midnight for special door-buster savings.
"We had door busters from midnight to 4 a.m.," said Isaac McKeithen, manager at Old Navy in TigerTown. "We had a certain sale then, and then from 4 a.m. to 8 a.m. we had another sale along with a Pixar DVD and shirt combo. Then from 8 to noon we had another set of sales."
McKeithen said Old Navy also had all its denim and sweaters on sale for the entire day, a sale to entice shoppers that braved the crowd at any time of the day.
The parking lots were packed in the major shopping centers throughout the day, and crowds were still big after the late-night door busters.
"I would say crowds really came out as early as 7 or 8 [a.m.], which is about usual," McKeithen said. "Our crowd at midnight this year was probably bigger than it was last year. Overall, I would say they are either bigger or about the same. They feel about the same in the middle of the day."
For some shoppers, Black Friday sales are about more than getting a good bargain.
Kathy Reynolds said she looks forward to Black Friday as an opportunity to spend time with family.
"We got a lot done today," said Reynolds, who made the trip from Roanoke to shop with her adult daughters.
However, Verlinda Gentry and friend Princie Davis said there was no doubt about what they had been shopping for as they left Auburn's Village Mall.
"Clothes, clothes, clothes," Davis said as she and Gentry navigated their way through the mall's nearly full parking lot.
Gentry said Black Friday sales have traditionally been helpful with getting a jump on her Christmas shopping for others and maybe picking up a little something for herself.
"It depends on what you're looking for, but we found a couple of bargains," said Gentry, who made the short drive from Salem for Black Friday.
(c)2012 Opelika-Auburn News (Opelika, Ala.)
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