What's in store

Cathy Jett is the business editor at The Free Lance-Star, and specializes in covering the area's retail scene. You can email her at

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Potomac Mills to open at midnight on Black Friday

Planning on shopping at Potomac Mills on Black Friday?

The Woodbridge shopping mall won’t open its doors until midnight, but shoppers can preview of special offers by visiting

Those ages 18 and older who bring same-day receipts from the mall’s retailers totaling $150 or more to Simon Guest Services will receive a Potomac Mills Black Friday T-shirt while supplies last.

Greeters at main entrances will be distributing daily special offers and complimentary Potomac Mills coupon books during peak shopping times throughout the weekend.

The mall also will kick off its Sounds of the Season Holiday Music Series on Black Friday. It will continue each Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 23.

To make shopping easier, Potomac Mills has started offering valet parking for a nominal fee.

Here are the mall’s hints on how to maximize your holiday shopping experience. It’s good advice, even if you aren’t making the trek to Potomac Mills on Black Friday.

  •  Get ahead of the game: Take advantage of early mall and store openings for door busters, which are typically worth your time and easier on the wallet. Check to see special retailer offers.
  •  Strategize your shopping day: Scope out your favorite stores online ahead of your mall visit and have a clear course to save time and energy. If traveling with others, identify one landmark area to meet up and make sure to take note of where you parked your car.
  •  Take a step in the right direction: Choose the right shoes to walk the mall so you are comfortable and protected from the elements.
  •  Shop n’ Stay: If you are traveling, check with area hotels to see if they are offering special shopping packages. You save money on your room, plus can get special offers to further your shopping adventure. 
  • Put your social media savvy to good use: If you are not on Facebook, Twitter or a member of the Mobile Shopper Club, maybe now is the time to join, as there will be many social media driven offers and exclusive promotions.  
  • Shop outside the box: A gift list is great, but be sure to check out the back of your favorite stores for more amazing bargains too good to pass up for that special someone. And for $5, purchase Potomac Mills exclusive coupon book worth more than $500 in savings.
  • Calculate your savings: Take note of all in-store signage and read the tags to note any special stickers or markings with additional discounts. Why not use a pocket calculator or your phone so you can add up the great savings before you get in line to check-out? 
  • Just buy it: If you think you want it, then buy it now.  Popular merchandise might not be there when you go back as stores are less likely to keep huge inventories of one item, but be sure to ask about the store’s return policy in advance.