Black Friday booming locally
WORTHINGTON -- The mother-daughter duo of Molly and Stephanie Onken arrived in Worthington by 4 a.m. Friday to catch the biggest and best of the Black Friday specials. By 9 a.m., they still had smiles on their faces, bags in their hands and more ...
WORTHINGTON -- The mother-daughter duo of Molly and Stephanie Onken arrived in Worthington by 4 a.m. Friday to catch the biggest and best of the Black Friday specials. By 9 a.m., they still had smiles on their faces, bags in their hands and more places to stop to fill their shopping lists.
The two have done this every year for at least the past decade -- and they love everything about it.
"She hit Wal-Mart and I was at Shopko," said Molly Onken of Round Lake. "We divided and conquered."
Stephanie, of Sioux Falls, S.D., said they had excellent luck this year, getting everything they wanted at every place they stopped.
Molly was even able to get her free snow globe at JCPenney, and they timed it just right to be at Sterling Drug shortly after the doors were opened there.
The two said they enjoy coming to Worthington each year on Black Friday, often seeing people they haven't seen since standing in line in the cold the year earlier.
Three generations of a Wilmont family were also among the seasoned shoppers, braving icy roads to get into town by 5:30 a.m.
"We wouldn't miss it," said Diane Beckmann, who was shopping with her daughter and granddaughter, Carolyn and Ashley Zemler.
"Unless there's a blizzard -- then 22 miles is too far to come," added Carolyn Zemler of their Black Friday shopping trip tradition.
The three also managed to get everything they wanted.
"We knew what we wanted and made a beeline for it," Beckmann said with a laugh.
"It seemed they had a lot of stuff sitting there," added Zemler, as they waited for the doors to open at Sterling Drug Friday morning. By 8:30 a.m., she had the shopping done for about half of her six children and they still had two or three stops left to make.
Managers at both Shopko and Wal-Mart were pleased by how smooth everything seemed to go with shoppers on this Black Friday. Shopko's doors opened at 5 a.m., but manager Mike Moore said there were already cars pulling into the parking lot by the time he arrived at work at 3:30 a.m.
"It's a typical Black Friday," he said. "It's been very smooth. I think we executed our plan pretty well."
Moore said it was tough to say just what the biggest sellers were of the early morning. Certainly, he saw a lot of electronics, toys and clothing in shoppers' carts.
Wal-Mart tried something a little different this year, offering Black Friday deals on nearly everything but electronics at midnight. Store associates were stationed at the displays of deals so shoppers couldn't grab their merchandise until the official click of the clock.
Store manager Jeff Fouch said the new approach to the biggest shopping day of the year seemed to work well.
"It was better than anticipated," he said. "We had hoped to help the bottleneck at the 5 a.m. rush."
The midnight deals included clothing, toys and small appliances.
"I think the customers came in and seemed to take it very well," Fouch added. Some even began lining up by 10 or 11 p.m. Thursday for the hottest of the 5 a.m. electronic deals.
"The first item gone was our $198 laptop," he said. In fact, there were lines long enough for all of the laptop deals that they were sold out within minutes. Another quick seller was the 32-inch Emerson TV.
"I think laptops and TVs, the last couple of years, have been the key sales driver," Fouch said.
While the stores would love to have enough items on hand so that no customer has to go home disappointed, Fouch said he was pleased with the crowds this year.
"I think they were very gracious and courteous," he said. "They expected lines. Overall, it went very well."