Shopping frenzy begins

Published 6:00 am Friday, November 28, 2003

The Christmas buying frenzy began early Friday as area residentswaited in lines for stores to open and braved madcap crowds to takeadvantage of After Thanksgiving sales.

“I’ve been up and out since 5 a.m.,” said Mary Davis ofBrookhaven as she weaved through the crowds at Harvey ElectronicsRadio Shack Friday morning.

Davis said she was getting good buys by shopping early.

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“I really am. I’ve been really lucky on getting some of the gooddeals before they were gone. I got the last one of these,” shesaid, gesturing with a DVD player in her hands.

Many stores opened early to accommodate shoppers and offeredearly bird specials to encourage others to shop before normalshopping hours.

“We’re busy this morning,” said Keith Smith, manager of Sears.”We opened at 6 a.m. and it’s been pretty much non-stop since. Whenwe opened up we had them lined up. Now, it’s getting to amanageable pace.”

Susan Harvey, owner of Radio Shack, said the hottest-sellinggifts there were home theater systems, walkie talkies and DVDplayers, which were going fast.

“It was going like gang-busters there for the first two hours,”she said. “We’re starting the holiday season really well. We ranout of some things already, so we’ll work on getting more of thosenext year.”

At the Stage Department Store, Manager Ronnie Haraughty saidtheir early morning rush wasn’t quite as heavy as they expected,but she wasn’t concerned. Customers usually visit them in theafternoon.

“We opened up at 8 a.m., and it’s been picking up pretty good,”Haraughty said. “We don’t normally open until 10 a.m., so weusually get busy after dinner.”

Cathy Norton, owner of Children’s World, agreed withHaraughty.

“People usually hit the bigger markets in the morning and thesmaller retailers in the afternoon,” she said.

That didn’t stop many customers from hitting the store earlythis morning though.

“We had cars in the parking lot waiting when we opened,” Nortonsaid, “but we expect it to get busier this afternoon.”

Other merchants held their regular hours, but offered specialsavings to entice shoppers.

“We’re having sales all day long,” said Cathy McDonnieal,co-owner of Betty Ann’s Limited. “It’s an around-the-clock salewith different percentages of savings every hour.”

At Kux Jewelers, Manager Janet Johnson was contacted an hourbefore the store opened at 9:30 a.m. and said indications were goodthey would have a busy day.

“I’m sure we’ll have a good turn out,” she said. “We’ve alreadyhad some calls asking about merchandise on the flyers wedistributed. I’m looking for it to be a good season this year.”