Augusta Economy

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Shoppers say they planned ahead for Black Friday savings

Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
One early Augusta shopper remained asleep Friday morning before Office Depot opened for the day.
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By the time the doors opened at Best Buy on Walton Way Extension on Friday morning, Joe Wescom had already been waiting days to take advantage of the day-after-Thanksgiving deals.

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Black Friday shoppers make a stop at Target in Augusta.  Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Black Friday shoppers make a stop at Target in Augusta.

Drawing stares from shoppers, he sat in a chair, smoked cigarettes and joked with the store's employees. Wescom, who owns All Wood Box Cabinetry LLC in Augusta, was the first to enter the store at 5 a.m. Friday. By then, hundreds had formed a line that stretched to the back of the building, pining for a chance to purchase discount TVs, video games and cameras.

According to Wescom, this is the fifth year he's been first in line, and he was well prepared for the wait. By day, Wescom talked with his son and other shoppers or watched DVDs on his laptop computer. At night he slept in a tent and used a generator to power his makeshift campsite.

"I've done it long enough that I've got it down to a science," said Wescom, who arrived at the store on Tuesday.

When shoppers questioned his motives, Wescom explained the kinds of deals they could expect -- a $189 laptop computer, $349 flat screen TVs -- serving as a kind of de facto spokesman for the store.

Even though he missed Thanksgiving dinner at home (his wife brought him food), he enjoyed the time he was able to spend with his son, who is planning to join the Army and won't be able to attend next year.

When Diana Ripkey-Goodman arrived at Kohl's on Washington Road at 1 a.m. Friday to prepare for the busiest shopping day of the year, hundreds of customers were already standing in line.

"I actually had more customers waiting outside this morning than we had last year," said Ripkey-Goodman, a store manager.

The store opened at 4 a.m., one hour earlier than last year. She said that store traffic was heavier this year, and shoppers were also buying more items.

"A lot of people made two trips. They went out and came back. They felt that the lines were moving really quickly," Ripkey-Goodman said.

From big box retailers to mom and pop stores, local managers and owners said that this year's Black Friday sales were on track to beat last year's sales.

At noon, the Kmart on Washington Road was still bustling with customers.

"We probably had 400 people out there when we opened at 5. This has by far been our best one yet, and we're looking forward to the rest of the weekend. Just looking at our sales trend, we're on pace to beat last year -- and that was the best one in history," said store manager James Klugh.

Within moments, doorbuster items such as $19 pea coats, bombers, scooters and electronic items were gone, he said.

"This is a good sign on the confidence of people -- just the spending that they're doing. This isn't their only stop from what I'm hearing. This means the economy must be in a certain kind of condition that people feel that kind of confidence," Klugh said.

It was close to 5 a.m. when Laura Craft, Vanessa Snavely and Terry Buck pushed several packed shopping carts out of Target on Agerton Lane. The three women called themselves "professionals" who have been working as a team for Black Friday shopping for nine years.

Their plan? One of the women -- they are related -- gets in line right away while the other two do the shopping. They left with discounted sheets and pillows before heading out for more shopping.

"JCPenney then Staples, then breakfast and a glass of wine," said Buck, laying out their itinerary for the rest of the morning.

Store traffic at HHGregg was as busy as last year, and "busier than expected" because of the economy, said general manager Matt Blackwell.

At PeachMac on Washington Road, customers were in line at 7:30 a.m. waiting to purchase the iPad.

"It's absolutely trending to be, as we expected, the biggest day of the year. The introduction of the iPad here is absolutely causing increased sales. We may not only have a great day today, but the holiday season should be really great at PeachMac," said Josh Perkins, the director of retail operations.



Comments (11) Add comment
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curly123053
5405
Points
curly123053 11/26/10 - 10:19 am
0
0
RIDICULOUS........I stayed

RIDICULOUS........I stayed home in bed and steered clear of the lunacy!

211lover
6
Points
211lover 11/26/10 - 11:26 am
0
0
You got that right, the greed
Unpublished

You got that right, the greed and true holiday spirit really comes out of people on black Friday!!!

RAWR
0
Points
RAWR 11/26/10 - 11:48 am
0
0
It wasn't that bad you two.

It wasn't that bad you two. Everyone I encountered was respectful. No pushing, no stealing from carts, no arguing. The only ridiculous part was the checkout lines.

friendoffamily
0
Points
friendoffamily 11/26/10 - 12:09 pm
0
0
I work at one of the major

I work at one of the major stores people get there early at. This year, I got a kick out of the people who get there at 8am (when the store opened at 5am) and actually expect the 'hot' items to still be there. Come on people, do you realize how many other people want the item you are looking for?! They are the same one's who spend the night or stand in line for 5 to 7 hours!

pommom38
1496
Points
pommom38 11/26/10 - 12:56 pm
0
0
Nothing like black friday to

Nothing like black friday to show the true meaning of the season!

builderman1
1
Points
builderman1 11/26/10 - 02:11 pm
0
0
i just got home from a quick

i just got home from a quick trip to Walmart. I was amazed at how small the crowd was, and how many flat screen t.v.'s they had lining the aisles. I had no wait at the checkout, and the crowd was actually smaller than a typical saturday.

Latino
0
Points
Latino 11/26/10 - 04:39 pm
0
0
I hope all these people

I hope all these people waiting in line have their bills up to date. Everybody is always whining about the economy being bad and not having money to pay their bills, but they sure have money to go and buy things that are not necessities...economy sure doesn't look bad to me. Next time I hear someone fussing about the economy being bad and see them spending money on stuff they don't need I'm just gonna be like "shut the $#@! up"

Patty-P
3520
Points
Patty-P 11/26/10 - 06:49 pm
0
0
Latino, the economy is driven

Latino, the economy is driven by people spending money. But I agree, people are bad about spending money on things they can't afford.

gijoe7898
0
Points
gijoe7898 11/27/10 - 02:45 am
0
0
so this guy gave up

so this guy gave up thanksgiving dinner, got there Tues, and says he's done this for 5 years. his son is going in the Army and in line was where he spent time with him. duh. I hope the dollars you save, sir, outweigh the family time you sacrificed. You're not getting that time back. 5 thanksgivings?

here's hoping the son will find true maturity, sans materialism, in uniform.

scoobynews
3896
Points
scoobynews 11/27/10 - 08:06 am
0
0
If these people were really

If these people were really smart they would go online to get most (not all) of the items that are listed as "doorbusters". Some things listed as "in store" only were online as early as 12 a.m. The stores want you to come in so you will pick up a bunch of other unnessassary items. I avoided the long lines by getting a doorbuster item by simply going online and ordering it. Most of the computers they had were simple 2GB models with very little upgrades. I actually bought a new lap top earlier this week for about the same amount ($376) with a lot more memory (4GB) and upgrades (burner, webcam). $198 and $298 looks good on paper but people fail to realize what they are really getting. If they want all the extra's webcam, upgraded memory, burners that then jacks the price right back up to the $300 plus price tag.

TeamLoser
1
Points
TeamLoser 11/27/10 - 08:15 am
0
0
Some deals are out there to

Some deals are out there to be had, but really you can find deals that are still decent online or on other days. If you like the crowds and doing this then go for it, if not then it is not really worth the trouble to maybe save a few dollars on something you didn't really need.

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