Turkey day shoppers flock to mall

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

The deal didn’t matter.

In fact, Amanda Meredith didn’t even know what specific sale she was first in line for.

All she knew was that she would be first inside Franklin Park mall’s Pink store.

“It’s just fun,” Ms. Meredith of Lambertville said.

Ms. Meredith was among thousands of shoppers eager to take advantage of even earlier store openings on Thursday.

Doors to Franklin Park opened at 7 p.m. and within minutes, long lines for Pink, Victoria’s Secret, and Hollister were winding through the corridors.

Inside the mall, stores opened an hour later, when 40 retailers and two anchor stores, Macy’s and JCPenney, threw open their doors to eager shoppers; other stores planned to open at midnight.

Some retailers would not open until this morning, mall manager Erika Williams said.

Opening on Thanksgiving Day was new for the mall, and the managers decided they would open early to meet customer demand, Ms. Williams said.

There was certainly plenty of demand.

Parking spots filled quickly and people jammed the concourses even with only some of the mall stores open.

Anticipating large crowds, mall officials stepped up security, hiring additional off-duty Toledo police officers and bringing in more private security guards, Ms. Williams said.

On-duty officers in marked patrol cars drove the perimeter of the shopping center and portable police cameras, part of the real-time surveillance system, were set up in the parking lot.

In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, there was much scrutiny about the earlier-and-earlier Black Friday sales.

Critics said stores should remain closed to promote more time with family.

Amy Mathias of Toledo was waiting in line at Hollister on Thursday night.

She was holding a place for her sister, who was in line at Macy’s with their father.

“We’re all here, so it’s still family time,” she said.

More than an hour before Old Navy was to open at 7 p.m., several women were in line and others sat in their vehicles, chatting to folks in adjacent cars.

Dayna Mays of Toledo was second in line behind Carrie Lawecki, also of Toledo.

Ms. Mays was ready to shop and take advantage of the 50-percent-off-everything sale.

She said she wanted to stock up on clothing for her 2-year-old son.

Ms. Mays had already visited Toys R Us, where, she said, she paid less than $100 for seven big toys.

Ms. Lawecki also planned on picking up multiple items, but also needed a few gifts for herself.

No harm in that, Ms. Lawecki said, adding that she shops Black Friday every year and planned to pick up some Christmas gifts for others.

Neither women said her holiday plans were seriously disrupted by moving up shopping times.

Ms. Lawecki said her family usually eats dinner at 5 p.m. and plays cards, but they bumped up the meal time to 1 p.m. so family members could fan out across the city to snag as many deals as possible.

At Walmart on West Central Avenue, the parking lot was packed and people all but ran into the store.

Mike Thomas of Toledo said he dropped off his wife so he could find parking.

They were there, he said, for “jewelry or whatever my wife might want” and to replace the linens that inevitably go missing after family visits.

The couple planned to visit other stores to get as much of their Christmas shopping done as possible.

Shop till they drop might be a bit much, Mr. Thomas said, but not far off.

“We’ll go until our money runs out or daylight comes,” he said. “Whatever comes first.”

Contact Taylor Dungjen at , or 419-724-6054, or on Twitter .


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