The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Black Friday shoppers busy, friendly
BY LINDLEY ESTES
Laura Masluk used a word not usually associated with Black Friday to describe her fellow shoppers in Central Park yesterday: cordial.
Masluk, of Medina Ohio, visited Target along with her sister Grace Dutrow of King George, 7-year-old daughter Grace Masluk, 11-year-old niece Lexi Ransbottom and mother Rebecca Dina.
“One thing we found is that everyone has been very friendly here,” she said. “It’s very different in Ohio. People [here] are chatting with us in lines. It’s the most pleasant Black Friday experience I’ve ever had.”
Masluk said she was comfortable enough with the atmosphere in Central Park to bring children.
Before searching through the electronics and toy sections, the family scoured the dollar bins at the front of the store, finding deals for Grace and Lexi.
Their pleasant shopping experience was echoed by many Friday who said the lines were not as long as in previous years.
No local police departments reported issues with Black Friday shoppers.
In an effort to stagger crowds, some stores in the area opened Thanksgiving for the first time.
Target opened at 9 p.m. with shoppers wrapped around the building.
Lenny Skebeck, executive team leader at the Central Park store, said that not too long after opening they sold out of some video games, Christmas trees and televisions.
Thursday shoppers waiting to get into Spotsylvania Towne Centre at midnight had formed a line three hours early from Sephora to The Green Turtle Sports Bar and Grille. Meanwhile Sears, which opened early, was bustling with shoppers.
At Central Park, there was about an hour wait at Toys ‘R’ Us. Shoppers were being let in every five minutes, and an employee who didn’t want to be identified said the crowd was about the same size as last year.
The line to get into Best Buy stretched from the tents pitched near the entrance by early bird shoppers to beyond NTB, a nearby tire store.
Scotty Deane, general manager at Best Buy, said its biggest sellers were televisions, tablets, laptops and cell phones.
They were sold out of most “doorbuster” deals early Friday.
By noon, at least 4,000 people had gone through the store. Deane said that they usually see about 2,000 customers on a normal day.
Michelle Swisher and her daughter, Kristin Swisher, visited Best Buy with family members in a tradition spanning back to when Michelle was a child.
“We shop on Black Friday every year,” she said.
They started around 6:30 a.m. and went to Spotsylvania Towne Centre and Lowes before Best Buy.
Dennis and Nieves Herold of Fredericksburg started shopping around noon at Best Buy and said they don’t understand the hype of shopping at midnight.
“Thanksgiving should be for family,” he said.
At midnight, their family was watching a movie together and wrapping up leftover turkey, which they deep-fried for the first time this year.
Kohls was one of the most popular shopping destinations. Cheryl Fulford got there around noon with her best friend, Melody Tackett. Fulford had been shopping since midnight.
Tackett bought her granddaughter her first winter coat and Fulford found deals on popcorn poppers, grills and an oversized blanket.
Three new stores opened recently in Central Park: and That!, Buy Buy Baby and Barnes and Noble.
Both Buy Buy Baby and Barnes and Noble reported crowds on par with their recent grand openings.
Buy Buy Baby, which opened Tuesday, did not offer Black
Friday specials, but store manager Andrew Coffey said there were steady crowds.
At Barnes and Noble, store manager Becky Anderson said they simply extended their grand opening deals, including the Nook for $40 off.
“It’s really cool to see how the staff has progressed [since their Nov. 7 opening],” she said.
Black Friday traffic at the Spotsylvania Towne Centre was “much stronger” than last year, said property manager Mark Gentry. The stores he checked with were reporting better sales as well.
Downtown Fredericksburg also bustled with activity Friday, as people walked the sidewalks with dogs and baby-strollers, browsed stores, bargain-shopped, dined and checked out festive window displays including the notable ones at Whittingham on Caroline Street.
The annual lighting of the city Christmas Tree took place at 6 p.m. at Hurkamp Park. Merchants were hopeful good crowds would come out today as well for Small Business Saturday.
—Reporters Cathy Jett and Bill Freehling provided information for this story.
Lindley Estes: 540/735-1976