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Hundreds line up for bargains

November 24, 2007|By ERIN JULIUS

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Area retail stores opened before dawn, but lines of shoppers already were waiting, eager to take advantage of early-bird specials and "doorbuster" deals.

Best Buy on Garland Groh Boulevard opened at 5 a.m., but customers had lined up long before the opening, general manager Johnny Arias said.

Some of those at the front of the line said they had been there since Thursday afternoon. That hardy bunch waited throughout the night, when temperatures dipped into the 30s.

Officers with the Hagerstown Police Department greeted shoppers at the front door. The officers were there to ensure a pleasant shopping experience for customers, Arias said.

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Michaela Bishop of Williamsport was shopping at Best Buy about 10 a.m. Her trip to the electronics store was her second shopping trip of the day, Bishop said.

She started at Valley Mall at 5 a.m., where she waited in line for 45 minutes to make her purchases at The Bon-Ton, she said.

Bishop returned later to Circuit City and Best Buy in search of a video camera, but was unable to find what she was looking for, probably because she wasn't at the stores early enough, Bishop speculated.

Terry Scarborough stood next to piles of shopping bags outside The Bon-Ton Friday morning. She and Karon Heyser of Virginia shop together on Black Friday every year, Scarborough said.

The annual shopping tradition is "a girl thing," Heyser said.

Scarborough and Heyser said they planned to load their purchases into a vehicle and continue shopping at other stores.

Inside The Bon-Ton, dozens of people stood in checkout lines at the service counter as clerks busily rang up merchandise.

By 10 a.m., 28,000 shoppers had made their way to the mall, well on the way to matching the 76,000 people who shopped there on Black Friday last year, Marketing Director Brian Kaltenbaugh said.

Black Friday is one of the busiest shopping days of the year, behind the Saturday before Christmas and other Saturdays in December, Kaltenbaugh said.

The day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday is the traditional beginning of the Christmas shopping season, the period in which retailers are in the black - making a profit.

Old Navy offered free MP3 music players with each $20 purchase, and by the time the store opened at 5 a.m., a line stretched down one wing of the store. The Disney Store had such a crowd that its staff was letting only a few people at a time enter to avoid overcrowding.

Sandy Kline of Smithsburg sat outside a Hallmark store waiting for her daughter Friday morning.

The two had started their shopping odyssey around 6 a.m., and had visited Target, Macy's, the Disney Store, J.C. Penney, Sears and other places.

Kline was pleased with some 50 percent-off deals she found at J.C. Penney, she said.

It's a tradition for Kline and her daughter, Diann Metzger, to shop on Black Friday.

They start early because all the stores are open by 6 a.m., Kline said.

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