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And they’re off — Utah shoppers hit the stores for Black Friday

Holiday bargain hunting kicks off as some retailers open the doors on Thanksgiving night.

First Published Nov 21 2012 04:58 pm • Last Updated Nov 24 2012 04:20 pm

Happy Thank...shopping.

After downing their turkey, potatoes and pies earlier in the day, Utahns got a jump on the holiday bargain-hunting season Thanksgiving night as some retailers opened early for Black Friday.

At a glance

Store opening times

Toys R Us » 8 p.m. Thursday. The first 200 customers at each location will receive a free bag of stocking stuffers up to $30 in value.

Walmart » 8 p.m. Thursday.

Sears » 8 p.m. Thursday. Friday door busters start at 4 a.m.

Kmart » Black Friday sales begin at 8 p.m. Thursday

Macy’s » Midnight Thursday.

Best Buy » Midnight Thursday.

Disney Store » Midnight Thursday.

Kohl’s » Midnight Thursday.

Target » 9 p.m. Thursday.

J.C. Penney » 6 a.m. Friday. Customers will receive Christmas buttons, which can be entered that day for a chance to win one of millions of gifts.

Nordstrom » 9 a.m. Friday.

Mall opening times

The Gateway » 400 West, between 200 South and South Temple in Salt Lake City, some stores at midnight Thursday, Abercrombie & Fitch and Dick’s Sporting Goods, with others at 5 .a,.m. Friday or later.

Fashion Place Mall » 6191 S. State St. in Murray, midnight Thursday for Macy’s, and 5 a.m. or later on Friday for others.

Valley Fair Mall » 3601 S. 2700 West in West Valley City, select stores at midnight Thursday.

Layton Hills Mall » 1201 N. Hill Field Road in Layton, select stores at midnight Thursday, others at 4 a.m. Friday.

Station Park Shopping Center » At the intersection of Interstate 15, Highway 89 and Legacy Parkway in Farmington, select stores at midnight Thursday, with others at 4 a.m. or later on Friday.

Tanger Outlets » 6699 N. Landmark Drive in Park City, 10 p.m. Thursday.

University Mall » University Parkway and State Street in Orem, 6 a.m. Friday.

South Towne Center » 1200 Towne Centre Blvd. in Provo, select stores at midnight Thursday.

Red Cliffs Mall » St. George, Sears at 8 p.m. Thursday, with select stores at midnight Thursday.

City Creek Center » Downtown Salt Lake City, 8 a.m. Friday (except for Macy’s, midnight Thursday).

Newgate Mall 36th St. & Wall Ave., Ogden, select stores open midnight Thursday.

Black Friday shopping tips

Scout » Decide on purchases in advance because you can’t get to all stores or get to all specials.

Savings » Give preference to big-ticket items because you’ll save more on those selections.

Go as group » Send individuals to different stores to buy items for everyone else.

Buy what you need » Many stores are strict on re-stocking fees, which may range from 5 percent to 15 percent.

Park smartly » Choose nearby parking lots and walk to the store to avoid getting stuck in traffic.

Dress warmly » Being cold or getting sick takes the joy out of bargain hunting.

Online » Many Black Friday items are available online; be sure to check for free shipping.

Source: TheBlackFriday.com

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Although the lines were thin much of the day, they started to swell just before the mad dashes began.

Kalene Biggs, a seasoned Black Friday shopper from Idaho, was waiting outside of JCPenney at the Layton Hills Mall before the store opened at 6 a.m. Friday. She started at 6 last night at Walmart, looking for a GPS, while her husband went to Sears for a TV.

"There were a few little fights over the Nooks" she said about Walmart. "It was crazy but it was fun."

Fun is a big part of the experience, and getting to know others in line, she said.

"If we get it, we get it...if we don't it's just fun."

At Target’s Salt Lake City store at 1110 S. 300 West, more than 150 shoppers were in line an hour before doors opened at 9 p.m. Thursday — and more cars were streaming into the parking lot. Murray’s Toys R Us had more than 200 waiting to get in when the store opened at 8 p.m.

A similar-size crowd assembled at a Sandy ShopKo, where Brenda Sweet had driven from Tooele to get in on the deals.

"I like it better when stores open at midnight," she conceded. "That way the kids don’t know that I’m gone. My daughter wanted to come, but I said no because what I’m getting for her is going to be a surprise."


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Trisha Stevens said she enjoys a Thanksgiving dinner with her family and leaves the children in the care of their father so she can shop — in this case at Carter’s Baby and Kids clothing store at Murray’s Fashion Place Mall.

"The kids are asleep now," she said, "so I’m good to go."

In fact, within minutes of Carter’s opening, more than 50 shoppers were inside the store, and customers already were lining up at the cash registers.

It was a much calmer scene earlier in the day.

At Fashion Place on Thursday afternoon, the only line was that of hungry diners waiting to get into a Chuck-A-Rama restaurant.

A few miles north on State Street, Taylorsville resident Debbie Goodwin drove to Toys R Us around 4 p.m. on Thursday and found she was the second person in line for the 8 p.m. opening.

"Since she had two canvas chairs, I gave her my place," said Salt Lake City resident Michelle Sessions, who took the second spot.

In Salt Lake City, the lower parking lot at the Walmart, 350 W. Hope Ave. (1300 South), was nearly full by early evening, with shoppers looking to snap up door busters scheduled for 8 p.m.

"It’s great that we can shop earlier," said Salt Lake City resident Manny Benites. "The prices are good."

That sentiment wasn’t shared by another Salt Laker, Rick Shoes, who stopped by "only to pick up some potatoes for dinner, and only because no other store was open. I hate everything about Walmart and how it harms it its employees and local businesses."

Walmart, facing employee protests for better working conditions, has refused news media access to its stores.

On Friday, Walmart workers are expected to protestoutside the giant chain’s 1300 South store to demonstrate against what organizers say is low pay, unaffordable health care and to support workers who have been fired for speaking out.

Some consumers and employees pushed back against Target’s decision to open on Thanksgiving. More than 350,000 people signed petitions asking the mega-retailer to reverse its decision.

Even so, at Target’s Salt Lake City outlet on 300 West, Daniel Moreno got in line near the main entrance Thursday at 7:30 a.m. It would be four more hours until another person showed up. By late afternoon, six people were in line.

"The lines were longer at this time last year," Moreno said, "and the store opened later then."

Those lines mushroomed into the hundreds by the time Target was ready for business.

Amy Mann, manager of Carter’s Baby and Kids at Fashion Place, said she didn’t understand all the fuss over retailers opening on the holiday. Her store has done just that for the past three years. Mann said customers like shopping Thanksgiving evening.

Jackie Castaneda, of Midvale, drove to Kohl’s in Salt Lake City several hours before the store opened on Thanksgiving at midnight.

"I haven’t shopped any Black Friday sales before," she said. "But the ad looked pretty good."

At the Best Buy in Murray, a group of teens had camped for days outside Best Buy to take advantage of sales on big-screen televisions and video games.

So many passing shoppers had quizzed the bargain hunters hunkered down in tents outside the main entrance that one group finally erected a sign: "Yes, we are really camping out for Black Friday."

"It’s just like camping," added Brady Dehlin, 18, "only here we can order takeout."

On Tuesday, 10 tents had been set up. By Thursday afternoon there were two more tents and about 20 canvas chairs in the line.

This marked the second year that five Murray High graduates had camped out before Black Friday sales at the Best Buy kitty-corner from their alma mater. The friends arrived Sunday evening to set up their gear — only to find out they would be third in line when the Black Friday sales kicked off Thursday at midnight.

In the evenings, the group swelled to some 20 teenagers. Girlfriends dropped by, bringing lemonade, cookies and other treats.

Kevin Hales, 18, who is preparing to leave on an LDS missionto Ukraine, called the camp-out "my last hurrah for a while. Yeah, people think we’re crazy, but it’s a great way to hang out. What we’ve put together is essentially what I’ve got in my living room."

Here was their reasoning: The teens could work all week or take time off for bargains that could save them more than several hundred dollars.

Financially it might have been a trade-off, said Xavi Maestas, an 18-year-old University of Utah freshman. "But this way we get to see each other and have some fun."

Paige and Missy Hickenlooper were at the Layton Target by 5:30 a.m. Friday, their first stop. It was Paige's first Black Friday.

Why they went out?

"Just for fun," Paige said. "To see what it is all about."

They said they did not want to go out the night before when the store opened.

"We were too tired," Missy said. "We wanted to be with our family."

Missy said they were "bummed out" about sales starting Thursday and said she felt bad for the employees who had to work last night.

Jean Layne of Liberty also resisted shopping on Thanksgiving: "It should start at midnight at the earliest."

At Layton Hills Mall, Mariah Mitchell started work at 3:25 a.m. at IQ Massage. But she didn't get too many immediate takers for a free massage.

"People are still too busy to get a massage," she said. "People didn't want to stop and sit down yet."

The shopping frenzy had slowed at Layton Hills Mall by 8 a.m., although Fanzz employee Taylor Davis expected things to pick up again by mid-morning.

Tribune staff writer Jessica Miller and Tom Wharton contributed to this story. dawn@sltrib.com twitter@DawnHouseTrib



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