Roswell shoppers get after it

November 24, 2012 • Local News

Barga[auth] in seeking shoppers at JC Penney stand in long checkout lines during the Black Friday sales event. Mark Wilson Photo

Shoppers weren’t too groggy from Thanksgiving’s meats and sweets to line up outside of local stores in the hopes of getting at Black Friday’s deals and offers.

Friday came early for most stores, such as Walmart and Target, with their deals starting Thursday evening. Before Target opened its doors at 9 p.m., Thursday, an estimated 400 to 500 people waited outside.

“That was probably the biggest rush,” said Monica Roper, executive team leader of human resources. But overall, things went smoothly because the store knew what to expect. “We do lots of planning ahead of time,” she said.

The store also hired an additional 30 seasonal workers to help with the rush.

Business started to pick up again Friday morning, but by that point, the store had already sold out of several items, such as fire pits, TVs and Dirt Devil brand vacuum cleaners. Roper said customers also snatched up lots of electronics, specifically games, gaming systems and iPods.

Deona Anderson of Dexter said the store was definitely more organized than the Artesia Walmart she and her family went to Thursday night.

She waited in line for more than three hours in an effort to get a 40-inch TV the store offered.

“People kept cutting in front of us and the people behind us were coming out with TVs,” she said. “We’re trying to figure out how that happened.”

Also, unlike Target, Anderson said promotions were hard to find.

Target made it easy to find marked down items, including pointers on shelves and its sales flyer posted on a wall near the entrance.

One of the items that interested Leticia Garza was a pack of Fisher-Price Disney Princess figurines for one of her granddaughters. Unlike other stores, Target offered a pack that included all the princesses for $13.99, which she said was a great deal.

Her shopping started later than she planned, “But I’m really surprised there are items available and I can find them,” she said.

By early Friday morning, she had already been to two other stores, including Home Depot, where she got wreaths for $5 and poinsettias for 99 cents.

Home Depot had a huge sign out front advertising deals on various items as well as poster boards in its windows to let people know that Black Friday was in full effect.

Store manager Curtis Gordon said that when the store opened 5 a.m. Friday morning, there were at least 130 people waiting to get in.

Though the store doubled the quantity of certain items, he said it quickly sold out of hot products, such as Martha Stewart Christmas Trees and 5 ft. teddy bears, but customers were understanding.

Since Target and Walmart opened earlier, he thought the store would not have as many customers. “But they’ve surprised me today,” he said. “I think we’ve done some record numbers.”

Over at the Roswell Mall, JCPenny was also doing well despite a comparatively late start at 6 a.m.

Towering shelves that had been packed with electronics and cookware were completely empty by Friday afternoon. They were the first to go, said Liz Lucero, support expert at the store.

“They hit us hard, like, in the first 30 minutes,” she said.

She and support expert Fawna Hendricks described the store’s morning rush as “chaotic and crazy,” with people pushing and shoving to get in and running to find items.

To help with the influx of customers, expert Dani Miller said employees started checking out customers using mobile units that allowed them to ring people up anywhere in the store.

“We just haven’t figured out where to carry bags,” Lucero joked.

Things had calmed down by the afternoon, but the store was still busy.

Despite the initial pandemonium, Hendricks, Lucero and Miller said customers were patient, calm and cheerful.

“I’m just glad to see everyone in the shopping mood,” said Lucero.

Joe and Leona Tarry of Ruidoso were in the store getting gifts for grandchildren and their daughters-in-law. They said the day was calm, compared to Thursday night when they went to Sears and Target.

“There was no tempers involved in it,” Joe said. “But half of Roswell was in those two stores and the other half were in Walmart, I guess.”
But everything was controlled, they said.

As for the day supposedly putting stores in the black, the verdict is still out.

JCPenny store manager Joe Villasana didn’t know the exact figures, but said business was pretty much toe-to-toe with last year. “Last year, we opened at 4 a.m.,” he said. “We opened at 6 a.m. this year and the numbers are pretty much even.”

As for Target, Roper said they should get at least what they got last year. The store had a really good October, she said, and she hopes November will continue the trend upward.

For most stores, Friday isn’t over. Target’s deals will continue into tonight and Home Depot’s offers will remain while supplies last.

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