• 61°

Bargain hunters hit local shops

Lines formed early today as local shoppers went in search ofbargains at many Brookhaven businesses.

“I’m trying to catch a sale. I’m trying to catch a bargain forChristmas,” Ruby Rollins said as she and her daughter Joannainspected a handheld video game outside Unlimited Furniture around7 a.m.

Rollins was not alone in her pursuit. Merchants reported packedparking lots and long lines when their doors opened the day afterThanksgiving, which is traditionally the busiest shopping day ofthe year.

“At 5 a.m., the line was halfway down the parking lot,” saidTracy Stewart, manager at the Fred’s on Brookway Boulevard.

Despite the large crowd, Stewart said today’s pace had beengoing pretty smoothly. And, he said, shoppers are buying, notsimply looking.

“They are spending money,” Stewart said. “The economy must begetting better.”

Some were keeping their distance as cashiers took care ofcustomers. Howard Smith, of Brookhaven, watched as his wife, Peggy,stood in line to complete her Fred’s purchases.

“I’m getting out of the line of fire,” Smith said.

Shoppers who had braved Wal-Mart relayed their experiences aftercompleting their ventures there.

“Don’t go to lay-away,” Rollins said.

Marilyn McDavid and her daughter Larissa were just gettingstarted around 7 a.m. They had just been to Wal-Mart, where Larissasaid TVs and computers were the popular items.

“They had a lot of buggies loaded down with them,” she said.

Marilyn McDavid said the trip was rather smooth.

“We didn’t need the big items most people we’re getting, but wegot some of the smaller items we went for,” McDavid said.

Unlimited Furniture opened at 6 a.m. Video games andmini-scooters were among the items shoppers were considering thismorning.

“We’ve done fairly well,”saleswoman Karen Stone said as shetried to keep warm outside on a cool morning. “It’s been steadyever since.”

Kevin Harvey, of Harvey Electronics, a Radio Shack dealership,said his store’s parking lot was full at 6 a.m.

“We’ve been busy,” Harvey said.

Harvey said pen cameras, on sale for $10, sold out in about 20minutes.

“That was the first thing to go,” Harvey said.

Harvey said laser levels and personal organizers, both on salefor $5, also went quickly.

“The DVDs (players) have been popular,” said Harvey, pointing toa dwindling supply of the $20 after-rebate machines. “We’llprobably be out of the early bird special items by the end of theday.”

By around 8 a.m., Harvey indicated that customers were beginningto thin out slightly.

“It’s starting to teeter off a little. People are going home totake a nap,” Harvey said with a laugh.