SALEM —The day may be dubbed Black Friday, but some local merchants were seeing green in the early morning hours as shoppers descended on Salem for the annual day-after-Thanksgiving sales.
“The super buys went well,” Peebles store manager Peter Null said. “Everybody was in a very good mood.”
The department store sale featured some Yankee candles and a projector, which Null said “were gone in no time flat.” A tumbling car, foosball table and necklaces also sold well. The store ran out of just about all of the early-bird special items.
“We’ve had a better shopping season this year,” he said.
Shoppers were standing in the lobby at 6:30 a.m. waiting for the 7 a.m. opening. People standing outside waiting for stores to open was a common sight at Radio Shack, Home Depot and Gamestop, with different sale times enabling shoppers to hit several stores looking for those special items they circled in the different sale ads.
For those bravehearts who ventured to Walmart, nary a parking spot could be found when the clock struck 5 a.m., but shoppers who came that late likely missed out on some of the larger big-ticket items. Many shoppers arrived much earlier to get a chance at the low-priced electronics, including televisions and laptop computers.
There were still bargains to be had, though, even for shoppers who came later.
A request had been made by the Salem News earlier this week to interview a manager from the local Walmart for this story, but the corporate headquarters wasn’t permitting interviews. A message on the media relations phone line said they wanted store personnel to be focused on customers.
Even local restaurants participated in Black Friday, with some opening earlier to attract hungry, early shoppers.
Aaron Strebel, general manager of Bob Evans Restaurant in Salem, said every year they anticipate more people will come in the morning on Black Friday. They opened an hour earlier with extra personnel on hand.
“We were a lot busier,” he said.
Lt. Don Beeson of the Salem Police said he didn’t know of any problems during the morning rush of shoppers, except for a minor accident in the Walmart parking lot. Walmart pays for two officers to stand inside the doors of the store, one on the grocery side and one on the general merchandise side, to help check carts and bags as shoppers leave. Officers were working in four-hour shifts and were expected to be there all day.
The minor accident occurred in front of the doors to the general merchandise side when a woman trying to turn right from between two aisles pulled into the path of another woman who was driving west through the parking lot in the lane of travel at 5:07 a.m. Friday. No injuries were reported and no citations were issued since it occurred on private property.
In the afternoon, police charged two teens with theft after they allegedly tried to steal video games from the store at 1:38 p.m. Friday. The boys, both from Salem, were ages 15 and 17 years old.
Mary Ann Greier can be reached at email@example.com