As varied as their wants and needs were, it was the prospect of a good deal that drove crowds to area retailers late on Thanksgiving Day for early Black Friday sales.
At the Hagerstown Premium Outlets, Aeropostle led the way with a 7:44 p.m. opening Thursday. Most other stores opened their doors at 9 p.m. or later.
Despite the early openings, traffic in the area of the Hagerstown Premium Outlets remained manageable in the first hours of shopping.
“I think people don’t know (some of) the stores are open at 9 p.m.,” said Jantia Barnhart, of Thurmont, Md.
Hedgesville, W.Va., residents Jennifer Smith and Jessica Kesecker started their annual Black Friday shopping trip at the Martinsburg (W.Va.) Walmart hours before that store’s biggest sales started.
What the friends encountered at Walmart surprised them.
“People were camped out with lawn chairs for a $19 Shop Vac,” Smith said.
The women left Walmart for Toys ‘R’ Us and Best Buy in Washington County, Md. Lines there deterred them from waiting for those stores to open.
“We didn’t even get out of the car,” Kesecker said.
Sales on clothing lured them to The Children’s Place, where they decided to wait for its 9 p.m. opening.
Over the years, Jason Everhart and Arielle Alexander have developed Black Friday traditions. They typically start with outlet shopping, go to JCPenney for the snowglobe giveaway and drive to Western Maryland for skiing at Wisp Resort.
Because the ski resort doesn’t have snow on its slopes, the Waynesboro, Pa., couple amended their plans this year. They hoped to purchase clothing and possibly a bicycle or race car-shaped bed for their 2-year-old daughter.
They parked near the exit at the Hagerstown Premium Outlets to avoid crowds on the way out.
“One year we waited 2 1/2 hours” to exit, Everhart said.
Barnhart and her mother, Starr Cheney of Cumberland, Md., are seasoned Black Friday shoppers. Barnhart even put a towel in her purse in case she had to sit on the ground.
Barnhart and Cheney planned to start their shopping at the Under Armour store, then go to Kohls, Target and Walmart.
Two mother-and-daughter teams were the first in line before Bath & Body Works opened. They wanted to take advantage of $19.50 candles being marked down to two for $20.
“It’s kind of a tradition we do,” Lori Eackles of Boonsboro, Md., said of shopping with her mother.