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Christmas shopping
season off to a rousing start


By Melissa Robinson
Contributing Editor 

  Black Friday, the unofficial start of the retail holiday shopping season, may be a thing of the past with many stores throughout the country opening on Thanksgiving for Christmas shopping savings. At least that was the trend for many retailers in Henry County, where parking lots were nearly full to capacity on Thanksgiving night, with holiday shoppers filing into stores in droves, to take advantage of super discounts and special sales.

Debbie Smith (l.), and Kim Barnett (r.) wait in line with their grandmother, Wilma Hill, on her first Black Friday shopping experience at the Belk Department Store in McDonough last Thursday evening.                           Photo by Melissa Robinson

  By nine o’clock on Thursday evening there was already a sizable crowd lining up in front of the Belk Department Store on Jonesboro Rd. in McDonough. Shoppers were lured with the promise of gift cards for the first 250 shoppers and each Belk store was assured one $1,000 card in the batch.

  Dedious West of McDonough was the first in line and said that she was there to buy boots for her son’s girlfriend, and then she and her ten companions were headed to Kohl’s Department Store.

  Denise Beaver and her daughter Victoria were in the market for some new luggage from Belk and then had plans to hit Bath and Body Works and then drive across town to Kohl’s as well.

  Granddaughters Debbie Smith from Butts County and Kim Barnett from McDonough brought their grandmother, Wilma Hill, who was visiting from Tennessee, for her first ever Black Friday shopping trip. She was in the market for a pair of special boots.

  “My grandmother is 81 years old and she needs a pair of cowgirl boots,” smiled Smith. “We're all getting boots.”

  A few storefronts down, several hundred shoppers were already streaming in single file into the Target Store, which began offering it’s Black Friday specials after opening its doors at 9 p.m. Area police officers were dotted throughout the shopping district helping to keep the peace.

  Brook Dotson from McDonough said she didn’t get in line until just ten minutes before the store opened and said there was already a line trailing down to the School Box store. She said it was the first Black Friday sale she had been to in the past 10 years.

  “Next time I’ll get here earlier,” she said. “It’s a little overwhelming, but I’ve been looking online for over a week and there aren’t the same deals you find in the stores.”

  She said she was looking for a Video Rocker and a television, and said she wasn’t one to go out at 4 a.m. but that her next stop would be Best Buy at midnight.

  Across the street at the Best Buy, camping chairs were lined around the building waiting on that midnight opening.

  Anthony Small of Atlanta was the first in line and said he claimed his place in line on Wednesday at 7 p.m. He said this was the third year he has participated in the Black Friday shopping ritual at the Best Buy, with family and friends from Locust Grove joining him on Thanksgiving Day. They were looking forward to a great deal on a 40 inch Toshiba television for $179, as well as a laptop computer.

  “This is the first and last stop for the night,” he said

  Hampton resident Samantha Morris, along with three friends, arrived in line at 5:30 p.m. and braved the night to stand in line for a cell phone.

  “I’m here for a Galaxy. It’s 50 bucks and normally $800 without a contract,” she said.

  About a dozen members of Hampton First Baptist Church set up camp in the Best Buy parking lot and walked around the line with a trolley offering free coffee, hot cocoa and cookies.

  “We’re here just to be of service to people,” said church member Joe Norman.



©Henry County Times, Inc.