Black Friday hits hard

Published 10:00 am Friday, November 25, 2011

Belk cashier Odell Scott Giles rings up a pair of boots on Friday. GWEN ALBERS/TIDEWATER NEWS

FRANKLIN—A seasoned Black Friday shopper, Vanessa Jones has never seen Franklin’s Walmart as crazy as it was during this year’s traditional biggest shopping day of the year.

When the 53-year-old Franklin woman’s husband dropped her off at the Armory Drive store at 10 p.m. Thursday, — when Black Friday sales began — all of the $199 Compaq laptop computers were gone. The sale started at 10.

“I was very disappointed,” said Jones, noting there were 36 available.

Many stores, like Walmart and Target, started their Black Friday on Thursday. More than 150 million people are expected to shop this weekend, according to a news report. Retailers hope to rake in $466 billion in holiday sales this year — up nearly 3 percent over 2010.

Franklin Belk Manager Tonya Faison on Friday was expecting a $90,000 day at the Armory Drive store, which opened at an unprecedented 3 a.m.

“The line was past Roses,” said Mary Apaliski, area sales manager and assistant to Faison. “There were 50 cars in the parking lot when I got here at 1:30 this morning.”

By the time the door opened, at least 300 were waiting.

“I had at least 300 gift cards (ranging from $5 to $100 to give away) and ran out,” said Faison, noting one shopper won the sole $1,000 card.

Hot items were women’s fashion boots for $19.99, high-definition TV-DVD combos for $129 after rebate for a $120 savings and Keurig coffeemakers.

Heidi Bunch and her daughter, Haley, began their Black Friday shopping at 9:30 p.m. Thursday at Target in Chesapeake, where they found a $50 Xbox video game for $28. From there, the Courtland pair went to Walmart and Michaels in Chesapeake and Chesapeake Square Mall before ending up at Franklin’s Ace Hardware at 7 a.m.

“We’re completely exhausted,” said Heidi Bunch, while looking over Carhartt coats that were 50 percent off.

Ace owner Carlton Cutchin had 15 people waiting outside when the store opened at 5 a.m. The biggest dealer of Carhartt in Virginia, store specials included Carhartt sweatshirts for $19.99, Carhartt long-sleeved T-shirts for $12.99 and kids’ Carhartt shirts for $4.

When Lucille Jenkins, 70, of Franklin called her daughter, Betty Bailey of Carrsville, at 3:12 a.m. Friday, Bailey said, “I’m not going because I’m still sleeping.”

By 4:30, they were at Belk.

“I got in trouble,” joked Bailey, who bought pajamas, sweaters, jeans and a comforter and sheet set.

The 50-year-old’s daughter, Morgan Bailey of Holland, at 11:30 p.m. Thursday arrived at the Williamsburg Outlet Mall. By 4:30, she was at Ace Hardware in Franklin and then Walmart.

“She said it was the first place she was able to park and not walk a mile,” Betty Bailey said.