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Downtown Hagerstown merchants report good to average Black Friday

November 29, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Hagerstown resident Dee Morreale said she did some of her Black Friday shopping in downtown Hagerstown to escape the madness that flooded larger shopping centers on the outskirts of town.

Early Friday afternoon, Morreale and a few dozen other shoppers packed the inside of Carol & Co., a specialty store that sells everything from baby clothes to Vera Bradley products, to take advantage of the holiday sales and free gift wrapping.

"This is the most glorious store," Morreale said. "It's a place to come when you need a unique gift ... It's quality merchandise ..."

Carol & Co. owner Pat Spellar said she had no complaints Friday about the volume of customers in her store.

"We're doing very well," Spellar said. "It's similar to other Black Fridays."

Spellar said customers were lined up in front of the store when she opened at 10 a.m.

Lena's of Hagerstown, a boutique at 59 N. Potomac St., also was busy on Black Friday.

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Pat Wolfe, a customer service representative at Lena's, said about 25 customers already had visited the store by about 2 1/2 hours after it opened.

"It's been steady," Wolfe said. "Most of our customers are buying."

Wolfe said the boutique typically is busy on Black Friday.

"We're a specialty shop," she said. "That's why we continue to do well. I think we'll continue to do well because we're different."

Katie Trent, owner of Alter Ego, an upscale clothing store for men and women at 4 S. Potomac St., said Black Friday was pretty much like any other day. About half of the 15 people who visited the store early on had made purchases.

"It's going well," she said.

Jenni Jones, manager of the Potomac Bead Company at 53 W. Washington St., said the sluggish economy has caused business to slow a little over the past few months.

Although customers were trickling into the store early Friday afternoon, Jones said she expected things to pick up later.

"It's not as consistent as last year," she said. "(But) we normally don't get people (on Black Friday) until the evening, when they're done with their outlet shopping."

Within the first 10 minutes after The Mystikal Keep opened at 1 p.m. on the corner of Antietam and South Potomac streets, shop owner Michael Clabaugh said he already had two customers.

The Mystikal Keep sells table-top games such as Warhammer and Dungeons and Dragons.

"Holidays are about the same as any other day for me," Clabaugh said. "I'm still paying the bills and making money."

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