Shoppers up early for Black Friday deals

Alisa Boswell

Friday marked a day of hustle and bustle for local Clovis and Portales businesses as Black Friday shoppers lined up to get discounted items and other special deals on this after Thanksgiving shopping day extravaganza.

At 5 a.m. when the electronics department at both the Clovis and Portales Wal-Mart stores opened, shoppers were lined up halfway around the store for the opportunity to get discounted electronics.

Kayla Pena and her brother, Johnny, of Clovis were the sixth customers in the very long shopping line at the Clovis Wal-Mart and had been there since midnight. Amanda White and Falyn Dixson, who stood in the middle of the line, said they had been there since 2 a.m.

Wal-Mart employees hurried back and forth, trying to speed up the line for customers, pushing carts spotted with $2 DVDs, $10 video games and various discounted toys. Merchants offer several cheap items during Black Friday, one of the biggest holiday shopping days, in hopes of drawing customers and building rapport over the holiday shopping season.

Gina Encinias said she was one of the customers that showed up at Wal-Mart at 4:30 a.m., but she and her husband decided to leave after one glance at the line. Encinias said she found the camera she had been looking for on the store’s website at the same discounted price.

“I didn’t even have to go out,” said Encinias with a laugh. “It was a go-out-and-socialize kind of morning.”

Encinias said they went across Prince Street to Lowe’s home improvement store, and said employees at Lowe’s were cheerful and helpful despite the business of their store and talked and laughed with she and her husband as they waited outside for the store to open. Encinias said her outing to the mall was a similar experience.

“We went to JCPenney and it was crowded, but it was quick and easy also,” she said.

Judy Branham, another Clovis shopper, said she was disappointed with her shopping endeavors Friday morning. She’d either find lines that were too long or stores without good items.

Jennifer McKinney, who was shopping with four other women, said she and her friends have a tradition of going out shopping every year on Black Friday while wearing festive Christmas hats. McKinney said her shopping experience for the day was exciting and productive and all of the stores provided wonderful customer service.

“We had a lot of laughs, found some good deals and got a lot of shopping done,” said McKinney.

Sears manager Ralph Bell said there was a line of about 200 people waiting to be let in when the store opened its doors at 4 a.m.

“Our first customer we talked to said he had been waiting outside since 12 a.m.,” said Bell.

He said most of the customers went straight for electronics and appliances, making them the best selling products for the day.

“I think we will compare to last year’s numbers at least,” he said.

Bell said the store will be open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. today and there will be more sales going on.

Melissa Bonem, manager of Bealls in Portales, said their store also had great success the first half of the day.

“I think it’s been really good. I have a really good crew,” said Bonem. “Most of them have been here at least 10 years, so that makes a difference.”

Bonem said her employees keep the shopping atmosphere light and fun and that keeps customers coming back. She said the store has high hopes of grossing at least as much as last year.