VIENNA - Shoppers from around the Mid-Ohio Valley filled area stores and the local mall to celebrates Black Friday and hopefully find bargains in the process.
"This year's Black Friday was really exciting," said Old Navy store manager Alisha Blake. "We had people starting to line up around 6 p.m. and we didn't open until midnight."
This was the second year the store on Grand Central Avenue opened just as one of the biggest shopping days of the year began.
People carrying bags of purchased items walk through the Grand Central Mall around 9 a.m. on Black Friday. Although the crowds died down a little bit after many stores opened at midnight and 4 a.m., the stream of shoppers continued to be heavier than normal throughout the day, officials said. (Photos by Jolene Craig)
"Our loyal customers came on Thanksgiving while we were open and came back after their dinner," Blake said. "It was a lot of fun."
While thousands of people waited in line in the very early morning hours for stores to open, many more showed up at the Grand Central Mall and other stores later in the day.
"We didn't start until 6 a.m.," said Terry Borrelli of Parkersburg. "We're very casual about the whole Black Friday thing and just come out a little later to find a few bargains."
Friends Julie Taberner of Mineral Wells and Terri Ward of Vincent said they have participated in the past five day-after-Thanksgiving shopping extravaganzas.
"It's just fun," Taberner said. "We don't seem to normally buy a lot of Christmas presents, but it's a good time and interesting to see how people react to things."
Ward said that she likes to find a few good deals for everyone.
"We say we are Christmas shopping, but I think I spend more on myself than I do others," she said.
While many stores were filled from wall-to-wall with shoppers and people loaded down with full bags in the halls of the mall, there were few incidents that resulted in what one woman called "organized chaos."
"It was surprisingly quiet," said Officer Adam Jones with the Vienna Police Department. "We were pretty dead, actually."
A man was arrested at Belk department store in the mall for obstructing, while a woman was injured in the south Parkersburg Wal-Mart when she fell, according to reports.
"Toys-R-Us hired (the Vienna Police Department) to come in for their midnight opening, but nothing happened," Jones said. "It was really a quiet Black Friday."
As many as 152 million people were expected to shop in stores throughout the country Friday, according to a survey conducted for the National Retail Federation. This is up 27 percent from last year's estimated 138 million.
The day, called Black Friday by retailers, is known as one of the biggest shopping days of the year.
The day after Thanksgiving has been used as a promotional blitz and a start to the holiday shopping season by retailers since the 1970s.
Because of the day's popularity, stores cut prices and open early and either close at regular time or late to offer incentives to customers.