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Shoppers hit the stores early

By Staff | Nov 27, 2010

Erica Vella and her daughters Grace, middle, and Nicole look over Kohl’s circular while shopping at the Cape Coral store on Black Friday. The Vella girls say they started their Black Friday shopping day later than usual, at 9 a.m., because the sales weren’t ending until later in the day. Kohl’s is at 513 S.W. Pine Island Road.

A steady flow of customers filled the stores Friday morning with high spirits as they began their holiday shopping.
Kohl’s Store Manager Sabrina Howerton said there was a line of people at 3 a.m. waiting for the doors to open at the Cape store on Pine Island Road.
“It has been steady all morning,” she said around 9:30 a.m. Friday. “I can’t complain…we are trying to stay on top of things.
There were 400 early bird specials between the hours of 3 a.m. and 1 p.m. Friday and many more specials will be offered beginning at 6 a.m. today.
Approximately 75 percent of the staff were already clocked in before 10 a.m. Friday morning, with the other 25 percent filling in during the remaining hours Friday.
“Pretty much everyone will have to work today,” Howerton said about Friday.
She explained that toys, sleepwear, jewelry, throws and blankets are always among the biggest sellers Thanksgiving weekend at Kohl’s.
There were kiosks set up throughout the store that provided customers with the opportunity to go onto their website and order an item that they did not have in stock at the store. The items could be sent directly to the customer’s home with no shipping fee.
“It is some additional savings for our customers,” she said.
Although the checkout lines at Kohl’s extended about half the length of the store on either side, customers seemed as though they were in good spirits.
“It’s not as bad as previous years, but there is still a big crowd,” Beverly Ward said while she waited in line with a number of items.
Michelle Goodrich, another Black Friday shopper agreed that the lines were long, but the store was not bad while she shopped for her holiday deals. She began her morning at 9 a.m. because her husband was working Friday and she was free to spend money.
Ward began her Black Friday shopping at midnight at Wal-Mart before she went to bed for five hours to continue her shopping to find the best sales.
She explained that she would make a minimum of six stops throughout the day to finish the majority of her Christmas shopping.
Although Ward typically begins her shopping early Friday morning, she noticed that there were fewer people having to get up as early this year to get the best deals.
“People have more money,” she explained why people are choosing not to get up as early.
Michelle Moberly decided to take advantage of the Black Friday sales to furnish a rental house. She thought the crowds were in good spirits Friday morning, although the lines were long.
Moberly said she had other stops to make Friday, but she wanted to wait until later in the afternoon to make her final purchases.
Crystal’s Hallmark also experienced a steady crowd once they opened their doors at 8 a.m. Friday.
Jo Anne Decker, sales associate at Crystal’s, said the steady flow of customers had been fantastic.
“I am extremely thankful,” she said. “This year they seem a little joyful.”
Crystal’s Hallmark owner Nancy Kreller said the turnout Friday was great. She said they had already begun to see an increase in sales during the summer.
“The minute we opened the doors people came in,” she said. “People are in the spirit to shop this year.”
Decker explained that the turnout has been much better this year than the previous one. The customers also were spending a little more than the previous year.
So far, the hot items at Crystal’s Hallmark were the recordable books, an interactive book and “The Snowman Band” that plays three different songs.
Kreller said the recordable book “The Night Before Christmas” provides grandparents and parents with the opportunity to record their voice as the read every page.
“It’s a real good seller,” she said.
Another hot item is “Jingle Bell All the Way” a book that involves the interaction of a dog. Kreller said as you read certain words throughout the book the dog, Jingle, will respond.
“The Snowman Band” also was a good seller because customers could place the snowman up to 25 feet apart in their home while the snowman plays various songs.
Kreller said the sales will continue today for Black Friday weekend with a special for laser engraving on such items as ornaments, pens, clocks and frames. The engraving, which is usually $9.95 will be on sale for $3.95 between the hours of 10 a.m. until 4 a.m.
According to the National Retail Federation shoppers will spend an average of $145.61 on gift cards, which is an increase from last year’s average of $139.91. Sales for gift cards this year are expected to hit $24.8 billion.
For four straight years, gift cards have been at the top of the Christmas wish lists for consumers.
They also reported that 39.2 percent of gift cards will be purchased for department stores, 33.4 percent for restaurants, 23.7 for book stores, 19 percent for electronic stores, 14.1 percent for entertainment venues and 13.9 percent for coffee shops.
This year, 138 million shoppers are expected to hit their favorite stores during Black Friday weekend, which is up from last year’s crowd of 134 million shoppers.