SHOPPERS WERE in abundance and traffic was heavy this morning at the Ohio Valley Mall and Ohio Valley Plaza, even though many stores at the giant shopping centers opened Thanksgiving night.
Gift-seekers were making the rush to get all the early-bird door buster bargains, and there were a lot of them. This year's shopping season got off to an even earlier start than in previous years with some stores opening as early as 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving and some even before that.
George Diab, Ohio Valley Mall manager, was elated at the throng of shoppers.
T/L Photos Mike Muklewicz
OHIO VALLEY residents line up before sunrise at the Ohio Valley Mall looking to score on the best Black Friday sale deals at many of the stores at the newly renovated Ohio Valley Mall.
SHOPPERS AT the Ohio Valley Mall gather for the Balloon Drop today, which represented hundred of dollars in gift cards to many of the stores in the mall, as a kickoff to the holiday shopping season.
"From every indication, it looks like we are going to have a successful Christmas shopping season. Our stores are offering outstanding bargains and our shopping hours during the holiday season have been extended," he said.
Candi Noble Greathouse said the disrtribution of the 500 Christmas tote bags on Thurday night was also a big success. "Theywere gone in a hurry," she said.
Among the early birds this morning was Amanda Murray of Brookside. She was heading for Toys 'R Us to purchase toys for some family members.
Shopping at KMart were Charla Macy of Betheda and her daugher Christine, from Glen Dale. "I used to come just to see the crowd, but now that I have grandchildren, I go shopping," Charla said. Kmart opened Thursday at 8 p.m. and closed at 4 pm. It reopened from 8 p.m Thurday until 3 a.m toay and reopened again at5 a.m. today.
Macy's offered Black Friday specials from midnight to 1 p.m. and on Saturdayfrom 7 a..m. to 1 p.m.
Jaime Bruggeman of near Temperanceville, was at the mall and planned to buy gifts for her husband and two children. He friends, Kelly Burkart, Mandy Burkhart and Stacey Wells, all from Barnesville, had their shopping lists and newspaper ads with them and were ready to dent the crowds. They said the plan to shop at several stores at the mall and then head to the plaza.
Sears at the Mall was also a behive of activity early today. The store opened for business on Thanksgiving evening at 6 p.m. Customers were observed leaving the store with shopping bags ,loaded with items.
It was the same at Elder-Beerman which opened at midnight today, and advertised door busters until 1 p,m. Rita Motti and her husband, Dan, from Dearborn, Mich., were among the early birds buying gifts for family members before heading home on Sunday.They spent the Thanksgiving holiday with their family in Bridgeport. "This is the second time we have shopped here," Rita said. "It is a lot of fun, and the people are very friendly."
Chris and Aleysa Hendershot of Barnesville, and Aleysa's sister, Heather Hanshaw from Marietta, stopped briefly at the mall before heading for Washington, Pa. "We plan to do some shopping there, then stop at the Highlands and come back to the mall and plaza. It is going to be a fun-filled day for us," Aleysa said.
Also plannng to spend the entire day shopping were Cynthia McGee, Peggy and Astin Skinner and Kylie McGee, all of Barnesville and Micki Vernon of Maryland. "We always make shopping a priority on this day," Cynthia said. "There are many bargains and we intend to take advantage of them."
Rural King on the perimeter of the Ohio Valley Mall, also welcomed shoppers Thursday and today with loads of bargains. They also have bargains advertised for Saturday and Sunday. The big item on Thurday were generators, and the supply was quickly wiped out.
Also doing a brisk business on Thurday and today were Big Lots and Dollar General in the shopping plaza west of Bridgeport, and Family Dollar in Brookside.
Many stores at the mall and plaza have bargains advertised for today, Saturday and Sunday.