Shoppers brave the Black Friday experience

Published 7:06 pm Friday, November 25, 2016

One could tell Sandra Wolfford, Tamela Adams, Amber Rider and Julia Rider were some serious Black Friday shoppers with their custom-made T-shirts and multiple shopping bags.

The ladies said it’s a family tradition to hit Central Mall in Port Arthur every Black Friday and make a dent in their holiday shopping lists.

“Some of us started last night (on Thanksgiving), Wolfford said. “We got started early this morning. We’ve already loaded up one car this one time.”

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The first round they bought toys, appliances, jewelry and gifts for the Blue Santa program.

“We’re probably not done. We love it,” she said.

Jodie Galloway, specialty leasing and marketing manager for Central Mall, said Target, Sears and J.C. Penney’s (the stores with exterior doors to the public and the option of opening early) did “really well” in sales on the opening holiday of Thanksgiving.

For instance, Target sold many electronic items, particularly television sets.

“They sold a lot of TVs. There’s not many 55-inch TVs left. They sold out of their Nintendos. All of the big ticket items,” she said.

She added that many stores in the mall were running specials the morning of Black Friday until 12 p.m.

“We had a ton of shoppers at 6 a.m. I saw a lot of Justice bags,” Galloway said. “For some, they like to come in and touch and feel the things themselves. Some are unsure what they are looking for.”

“USA Today” reported more than 137 million planned to shop over the extended Thanksgiving Day weekend, according to the annual survey released by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. But Black Friday remains the high mark with nearly three-fourths of buyers (74%) planning to shop then, about the same as last year.

Nearly half plan to shop on Saturday — about one out of four specifically to support Small Business Saturday. Another one out of four expect to shop Sunday, the retail trade group estimates.

Marlana Horton and Talyn Horton shopped in the afternoon after the crowds had left.

She said there were still some sales to be found. For example, Target had their clothes marked down 30 percent and shoppers could take an additional 15 percent off of that if they had a special app on their phones.

Marlana said her family is actually downsizing on the Christmas shopping to get back to what the holiday is about.

“We limit ourselves to four gifts we want or need. Get back to what Christmas is about. Mainly we’re just browsing and I’m taking a vacation day. We were napping yesterday,” she said.

Tammy Weatherford and Ricky Lee made it to the mall to see what was out there.

They didn’t shop on Thanksgiving or early Friday morning.

“We’re in between. We’re looking. Hopefully we don’t buy anything,” she said.

Vanessa Ortiz said she was looking for pajamas for her niece and movies for herself.

“I’m a movie fanatic,” Ortiz said. “This will get me started on my shopping.”

David Ball: 409-721-2427