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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Early Thanksgiving openings lead to quiet Black Friday

Jen Pearman loads her car with discounted goods she purchased during Black Friday on Friday, Nov. 28, 2014, at Target on the South Hill in Spokane, Wash.  (Tyler Tjomsland / Spokesman Review )
Jen Pearman loads her car with discounted goods she purchased during Black Friday on Friday, Nov. 28, 2014, at Target on the South Hill in Spokane, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / Spokesman Review )
Spokane retailers had no shortage of shoppers in the early hours of Black Friday, but long lines to buy coveted goods were the exception, not the norm. With most major retailers opening their doors on Thanksgiving, many determined bargain hunters had come and gone by the early hours of Friday morning. Some said traffic was slow after the initial 6 p.m. openings on Thanksgiving. Then the shopping pick up once the Seahawks game ended. Retailers reported steady traffic all night, but the surge in shoppers tapered off by midnight, leaving the early morning hours relatively quiet. The overnight crowd at the Spokane Valley mall was driven more by tradition than a search for the best sale prices. “We’re not really looking for anything, just hanging out,” said Chris Merkel, who was accompanying his 15-year-old daughter Greta on their annual overnight shopping trip. They sat at a table with another father-daughter pair, eating a snack at 2:30 a.m. Later in the morning, four young men sat sprawled on couches outside a department store, waiting for the rest of their party to finish making their purchases. Vitaliy Golubenko said he wasn’t shopping for anything specific, but had spent Black Friday with the same group for about eight years. “We all get to hang out together,” he said. “It’s an excuse to go shopping with friends.” Target and Walmart stores had doorbuster sales Thanksgiving evening, so the Friday morning crowd was relaxed. “Sales have been really good,” said Richard Porter, a manager at the Spokane Valley Target. “It wasn’t quite as busy [as last year], but it’s really steady.” A few other retailers drew early morning lines. At Fred Meyer, about 150 people lined up - some overnight - for the store’s 5 a.m. sale. Many were hoping to snag a deeply-discounted TV, and the popular Apex 32-inch model was sold out 10 minutes after the doors opened. In line at the electronics department, Kim Colville said she’d done her serious shopping on Thanksgiving. After eating turkey at 11 a.m., her family was able to leave for Walmart by 3 and get the bulk of their Christmas shopping done. “This is just a bonus,” she said, waiting to buy a new monitor for her home office. Sales have been pushed even earlier this year, with many retailers opening at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving. For Kristen Bradford, an assistant manager at Fuego, that meant missing Thanksgiving dinner with her family. “I like it because I need the money, but I hate it because I miss out on family time,” she said. One Sears salesman working an overnight shift said he was scheduled for 33 hours of work in the next two days. But many workers say they enjoy the fast-paced feel of Black Friday, even with long hours. “We love this. It’s like a sport for people,” said Devin Codd, the store manager at the Northtown Mall J.C. Penney’s. “While everybody’s sleeping, we’re here selling stuff.”
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