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Black Friday shoppers are early to rise

At Hagerstown outlets, bargain-hunters burn midnight oil

At Hagerstown outlets, bargain-hunters burn midnight oil

November 23, 2007|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

For most, it was only the first stop they would make. Convinced that the bargains and the experience would be worth it, thousands spent the first hours of Black Friday at Prime Outlets at Hagerstown.

Most stores at the outlet mall opened at midnight, and were offering additional discounts to earlier shoppers. Many planned to spend several hours there before heading to area stores opening at 4 a.m. and later.

"It's an adventure," said Carol Hamilton of Martinsburg, W.Va. "And it's fun."

This was the second year that Prime Outlets at Hagerstown opened at midnight on Black Friday.

Hamilton was waiting in a line just before midnight with her husband, Chip, and her daughter, Erin, for bags filled with coupons and other treats. Jodi Dague, spokeswoman for Prime Retail, said about 1,000 of the gift bags were given away.

"If people are going to come out at midnight, we better give them something good," she said.

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Participating stores were offering shoppers at least 25 percent off their purchases, but many said the deals more than make up for the effort.

Just minutes after midnight, Janie Juttrell, 56, already was leaving KB Toys with gifts for her grandchildren. She was one of the first customers in the store and said she bought Peek-a-Blocks and a Dinoco helicopter from the movie "Cars."

Juttrell said the Peek-a-Blocks usually are $60, but she bought the learning blocks Friday for $40, and she saved about $8 on the helicopter. Both are Christmas gifts for her grandchildren, she said.

"We saved a lot of money last year," said Melanie Beles of Charles County, Md.

She and her sister, Damascus, Md., resident Tricia Beles, started their Black Friday shopping at Prime Outlets for the second year. Melanie said she even was wearing a pair of shoes she bought at Reebok at Prime Outlets one year ago at the same sale.

"I bought three pairs of shoes for $60," she said.

The two were planning to visit Reebok again, hoping for similar success.

Kimberly McCallum, of Frederick County, Md., and her stepdaughter, Elizabeth McCallum, were holding a shopping bag from Nautica Kids just after midnight Friday. They said they always go shopping on the day after Thanksgiving.

"I like the sales," Kimberly said. "And the hustle and bustle."

Both said they expected fewer people to be at the outlets because of the midnight opening.

"But we were wrong," Kimberly said.

Cathy Sheppard of Damascus, Md., and Amy Richard of Mount Airy, Md., said they planned to spent a few hours at Prime Outlets at Hagerstown before heading back to Frederick, Md. to shop there.

"This is our warm-up for Frederick," Sheppard said.

She bought a hat at Nautica Kids for a baby she said she will be adopting, and Richard had a bag full of items from Bath & Body Works.

Jacey Hahn of Hagerstown, who was shopping with them, said she would be getting some sleep after the outlets, not driving to Frederick.

"They're crazy," she said.

Whether buying for themselves or stocking up on Christmas gifts, shoppers at Prime Outlets early Friday said that part of the reason they were there was for the experience.

"I think it's the thirst of the hunt for a bargain," Dague said.

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