LAVALE — On Thursday, a crowd of people gathered outside Sears at the Country Club Mall to get a jump on Black Friday sales.
This is the first time that Sears has opened at 8 p.m. for Black Friday shopping, according to Bryon Wall, mall general manager.
“I want to thank everyone for coming out to shop. I hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday season,” said Wall. “I want to encourage everyone to come out and bring the kids to visit Santa.”
“This is the most people I’ve ever seen here,” said Bob Loar, owner of BT Sports.
BT Sports opened at midnight and had deals on touch lamps and ornaments.
For some, shopping at Sears was a quick trip in and out. For others, there were lengthy lines and waiting.
Sue Edwards of Bedford, Pa., a first time Black Friday shopper, was in search of a familiar holiday decoration.
“I saw that Sears had a special on a prelit Christmas tree,” said Edwards. “It went very quickly and smoothly. I was done in 10 minutes. They were able to whip everyone through the line pretty quick.”
Shopper Sharon Murphy of Friendsville, on the other hand, had to wait a while to get the TV she wanted.
Murphy arrived at Sears at 7 p.m. hoping to get a ticket for the TV but they were all sold. Murphy was the first person in line for the next round of tickets, which were slated to be given out at 2 a.m.
At 9 p.m. on Thursday, about 10 people had gathered outside the doors at J.C. Penney — some who were waiting for Finish Line to open at 8 a.m.
Tickets for Finish Line were slated to be given out at 11 p.m., according to shopper Aaron Kalbaugh of Cumberland.
Kalbaugh, who estimated he has more than a hundred pairs of shoes, was waiting for Finish Line to open so he could purchase a pair of Jordan shoes.
“I come just for the shoes,” said Kalbaugh, who added the farthest he had traveled to buy a pair was Fredericksburg, Va., but that wasn’t on Black Friday. “I’ve been Black Friday shopping about six times,” he said.
For some, Black Friday shopping was an all-day affair.
Angela Diehl of Lonaconing, Jewel Lambert and Deloris Lambert, both of Westernport, planned on shopping for 12 hours.
The trio has made Black Friday shopping a tradition and has been shopping together for about eight years.
“We have a lot of fun shopping; otherwise, we wouldn’t do it,” said Jewel Lambert. “We have made a lot of memories.”
The group started out at 6 p.m. at the Walmart in Keyser, W.Va., and planned on going to Bath and Body Works, Bon-Ton, Sears and Auntie Anne’s.
“We are here to buy whatever we can find a good bargain on,” said Jewel Lambert.
“It’s just nice to get out without the kids,” said Deloris Lambert.
Being seasoned shoppers, the trio had a strategy for Black Friday shopping: One person will wait in line while the other two people shop, said Diehl.
The group’s tips for Black Friday shoppers are to never go alone and to make a shopping list.
“I’ve seen people take stuff out of other people’s buggies,” said Deloris Lambert.
Wall’s tip for Black Friday was to “shop wisely.”
“There are a lot of good deals to be had,” he said.
“Black Friday went a lot smoother this year. We had very well-organized security to control the crowd and to ensure that everyone entered in an orderly fashion,” said Wall. He said that two deputies from the Allegany County Sheriff’s Office were on hand and “Bath and Body Works opened at 11 p.m. to alleviate some of the crowd-control issues.”
Bon-Ton opened at midnight, and Radio Shack, as well as the remainder of the mall, opened at 5 a.m., according to Wall.
Last year, an estimated 2,500 people shopped on Black Friday at the Country Club Mall.
Wall said he couldn’t provide an estimate on how many shoppers participated this year.
Contact Elaine Blaisdell at email@example.com.