Jo Anne Embleton
Jacksonville Daily Progress
A move to push up traditional Black Friday sales to 8 p.m. Thanksgiving night brought huge crowds to two local businesses, but their Friday crowds were still plentiful.
Wilma Kincaid, co-manager of the Wal-mart superstore on S. Jackson, said the Thanksgiving night sales went well at the 24-hour store, drawing “a lot of people, which we were expecting – we had people coming in at 3 p.m. to wait in line (for advertised) bargains.”
The most popular item? “Oh, the Street Talk phone,” she said. “Those and televisions, elecronics in general.”
On Friday, the pace was a bit more relaxed, she said, noting that “people have been able to shop more comfortably. We're seeing (a good number of shoppers) this morning, because the people who were not able to be here last night are here this morning.”
Winnsboro resident Joe Haney, who is spending the Thanksgiving holiday at a family home in Craft, arrived at the superstore around 6:30 p.m. Thursday and was still shopping at 9 a.m. Friday.
Because his wife volunteered to care for their newborn grandchild so that their daughter could shop, Haney took her place at the store.
Because of the good bargains, he chose to hit Thanksgiving night sales. “There was one sale that I had to be here at 8 (p.m.) to get it, because there were only 12 items (set aside). I was number 8 because I sat in line an hour and a half. The store was packed last night.”
The 16-hour shopping spree was taking its toll, but Haney shrugged as he waited for a clerk to assist him. “My wife does this every year,” he pointed out. “I'm picking up one last item, then I'll be going to Academy for myself.”
“I hope to be home by 1 p.m.,” he added tiredly.
Waiting patiently Friday morning in the electronics section was Arnold Dosser of Rusk, whose wife was shopping elsewhere inside the superstore. “We're picking up groceries and a couple of Christmas items, though we started our gift-shopping in September,” he said. “It's a regular shopping day for us – we're not trying to catch any special sales.”
Looking around the store, he added, “it really looks like any other regular shopping day this morning. I thought it would be really full.”
Last year, however, the couple scored big by purchasing a television advertised as part of the Black Friday sales. “We've found some good bargains in the past years, like an AM/FM stereo and a surround-sound sytem,” Dosser said.
Poking through a display of DVD's, local resident Jennifer Scruggs said she shopped specifically on Friday for the sales.
“Actually, I came for one in particular and I didn't think I would get it, but I did,” she said. “I've been here since a little after 8 o'clock. I used to shop the Black Friday sales, but I don't like to get into the craziness (of it anymore).”
Further along South Jackson, at Beall's, Shirley Grote of Jacksonville held up several tiny dresses for her husband Vernon's approval.
They had been eating breakfast at Beverley's Restaurant next door “and decided to come out to shop for our granddaughter, who's two,” he said.
“Actually, we just walked in, not really here looking for a bargain,” his wife said. “We just happened to be here – we don't normally (shop on Black Friday), because we're home decorating for Christmas.”
While their visit to the store was unplanned, Mrs. Grote did say that one thing was for certain: “We shop local.”
Meanwhile, Frankston resident Colitha Williams browsed around the department store, “not shopping for anything in particular.”
Williams said as she drove along South Jackson Thursday night, she noticed that the parking lot at Wal-mart “was really, really crowded. I mean, it was filled … people were using the lots at the different stores nearby to park.”
Because she didn't want to fight for parking or deal with the crowds, she chose to wait until Friday to visit the store.