Sue Fogarty of Clovis and her two children arrived at North Plains Mall 10 minutes after the 4 a.m. opening of JC Penney in search of winter clothes.
For the three Fogartys, waking up early to shop the day after Thanksgiving —known as Black Friday because it is traditionally when the surge of shopping made stores profitable — was a first.
“I wanted to see what the experience was,” the homemaker said as her yawning 9-year-old son munched on a pretzel next to her. “We got boots and winter jackets.”
JC Penney Store Manager Jennifer Libbers said the opening staff was met with lines leading from the JC Penney doors to the Sears doors on the other side of the mall.
“It was wonderful. We were packed,” she said.
Libbers said the store was expecting about the same size rush for doorbusters and sales as last year.
“It was about as strong this year as it was last year,” she said.
While stores in the mall opened early, several locally owned stores stayed open late.
Main Street Crafter’s Mall and Joe’s Boot Shop were open until midnight.
Joe’s Boot Shop owner Joe Rhodes said it seemed like he had more customers this year compared to last, but said he couldn’t be sure until he “punched the buttons.”
“We’ve sold everything,” he said. “Boots, furniture, just everything.”
Amparo Rocha of Clovis said she and family members arrived at Wal-Mart at 5 a.m., but left soon after because of the large crowds. She shopped at North Plains Mall instead.
“It was so full in (Wal-Mart), I couldn’t walk around with my baby carrier,” she said.
She said there were the same amount of savings to be had as last year.
“It’s the cheapest day of the year,” she said. “It helps a lot with how prices are now.”
Portales resident Mike Smith said he and his wife went two different directions early Friday morning. His wife Wendy went shopping at 2:30 a.m. and he went quail hunting.
“Yes, I do (think she is crazy),” Smith said. “This is like the third or fourth year she’s got up early to go shopping.”
Bob Standridge, manager of RadioShack in the mall, said the morning was interesting and fun. The store opened at 6 a.m. to lines around the corner to the exterior mall doors. The shoppers were looking for laptops, MP3 players and LCD televisions, he said.
“MP3 players were huge again this year, which surprised us,” Standridge said. “One person bought six themselves.”
Standridge said the crowds were about the same as last year, but the store was slightly up in total dollars of merchandise sold.
Linda Teakell purchased one of four laptops on sale for a special price at RadioShack.
“I saw the lines just before six, and was like ‘oh, I’m not getting one,” she said.
But when the gates opened, everyone was buying other things, she said, and she was able to purchase a laptop.
“When it comes to this (Black Friday), you have to decide one thing you want and everything else is just gravy,” she said.