Black Friday successful for Rutland area shoppers
By Lucia Suarez
STAFF WRITER | November 24,2012
Vyto Starinskas / Staff Photo
Walmart shoppers converge on the Rutland store shortly before 8 p.m. Thanksgiving for early Black Friday sales. Metal barricades and Walmart employees greeted shoppers as they entered.
For the past 15 years, Brandon resident Chere Jankosky has been hitting the stores on Black Friday.
She recalls one year when the Razor scooters were in their prime, going into Walmart with her husband, who had their small child in a sling, and having to fight off people for the scooters.
“My husband, with our small child, had to stand there and step on the scooters,” said Jankosky just minutes before midnight Thursday when GameStop in the Rutland Shopping Plaza opened. “We have so many stories, but that one sticks out.”
With many department stores offering deals at different times throughout the shopping holiday, many bargain-seekers cut into their Thanksgiving celebrations to hit the stores early. By opening early, many stores gave shoppers more hours to peruse the aisles.
One local shopper began her shopping at 6 p.m. Thursday at Kmart in the Diamond Run Mall before hitting Walmart in downtown Rutland for the 8 p.m. sales on various electronics and toys for kids.
What was the draw?
“The sales and I was awake,” said Sabrina Stone of Rutland. “I wanted to get out and get a head start. We went to Kmart first. That was slow, but Walmart was busy.”
Kim LaDuke of Sudbury said there were a lot of people in Walmart throughout the evening, leaving with a lot in their carts.
“A lot of standing in line,” she said. “I do it every year. I love it. I love talking to people.”
LaDuke, who was shopping with several people, said she was going to try to see what other deals other stores were offering on Friday.
“I get the stuff that I usually can’t otherwise,” she said. “If you come with the right attitude it can be fun.”
According to store managers, a steady influx of shoppers continued throughout the morning on Friday in stores around the city.
At Staples in the Green Mountain Plaza, there was a steady trickle of people at the store after the doors opened at 5 a.m. Store manager George Goodhue said about 40 people were lined up waiting for the store to open. It was not as many as last year, but still pretty good, he said.
“(We were) just trying to get a jump-start to maximize sales,” said Goodhue, explaining why they opened an hour earlier than usual. “There was not a huge rush (but) a steady trickle coming in and walking around the store.”
He said he was pleasantly surprised by the number of people out shopping because of the economic climate but said it was nice to see. He said people were in great spirits throughout the day, going at a more relaxed pace than you would think on Black Friday.
“It was a steady pace that allowed us to talk with everyone,” Goodhue said. “It was nice.”
Jay Morel, general manager of the Diamond Run Mall, echoed Goodhue’s feelings about early Friday shopping, saying that although it was too early to tell, it seemed like there were more people in the mall.
“It’s been great. Traffic has been steady,” Morel said. “It’s great to see everyone out shopping.”