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Black Friday deals still popular

Tradition, fun attract early bargain hunters

People wait in line to enter the Victoria’s Secret store at the Ohio Valley Mall, St. Clairsville. The shop was one of the more popular stops during early holiday shopping on Thursday evening.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – Black Friday sales starting Thursday evening drew throngs of people to the Ohio Valley Mall after their Thanksgiving meals were complete.

Many of those shoppers said they were upholding an annual shopping tradition or seeking something fun to do, though, rather than looking to take advantage of a specific discount or find a particular discounted item.

The mall’s parking lot was packed with cars and trucks early Thursday evening. The mall opened at 6 p.m. with a “Swag Bag Giveaway” at Center Court. Those gifts were filled with coupons and free goodies. Attendees were also invited to “Rock the Mall” until midnight. Participants wearing “reindeer gear” were eligible to win random prizes.

The mall then closed at 1 a.m. and was set to reopen at 6 a.m. today with a “Chocolate Rush” outside the main entrance. The first 200 shoppers in line were to receive free candy bars with a prize inside.

Between 6 p.m. and 1 a.m., dozens of people at a time lined up to shop at Victoria’s Secret, which offered buy one get one free deals as well as a free tote with a $75 purchase or a free blanket with a $150 purchase.

Two other popular stops were Fabio’s Pizza and Auntie Anne’s pretzel shop. Despite the fact that many people enjoyed big holiday feasts earlier in the day, it seemed the shoppers were working up their appetites and looking to fortify themselves for the rest of the night.

Outside the mall, Starbucks drive-thru hosted a steady stream of vehicles as people sought a little extra energy for their endeavors. The Rural King store and McDonald’s also were serving customers, but many other stores and restaurants on the perimeter of the retail center were closed for the holiday and scheduled to open early this morning.

One group of friends shopping in the mall sported matching shirts that stated “Up all night to get lucky #BLACKFRIDAY.” The foursome included Kiley Baker of Bridgeport, Amanda Glatzer-Roe of Bethesda and Bellaire residents Barbara Ronevich and Kendra Littleton.

Asked what attracted them to the mall on Thursday, the friends said such shopping trips are an annual event for them.

“It’s our tradition for about the last eight years now,” Baker said.

Ronevich said she was out mainly to have fun with her companions, but Littleton said she definitely was in search of some deals.

Christi Trigg-Williams of Martins Ferry was shopping with her friend, Tracy Boyles of Bridgeport. Williams had brought her two daughters, Kiri and Ashlyn, to the mall as well, but they were off shopping on their own.

Williams said she wasn’t looking for any specific deals but was looking for something fun to do after the Thanksgiving festivities at her home ended earlier in the day.

Boyles, however, had several coupons in hand and was out to get some “free stuff.”

“I figured it was a great time to see what’s on sale,” she added.

Dunham’s Sports, the newest addition to the mall in the space formerly occupied by Kmart, opened its doors at 3 p.m. Thursday. That store offered early bird specials which remain available through 6 p.m. today. Among those deals are discounts on Under Armour products, hoodies, gun safes, ammunition golf clubs, exercise equipment and more.

Another anchor store, Boscov’s, is offering a wide variety of doorbuster specials that continue through Saturday. These include discounts on everything from Christmas trees to handbags and kitchen appliances.

At the Ohio Valley Plaza, located across Interstate 70 to the north, Walmart was packaed with shoppers Thursday evening. They were out in search of discounts on the Apple Watch Series 3, Apple AirPods, a 50-inch TV and other electronics, among many other items.

Other retailers at the plaza, including Staples, Lowe’s and Value City Furniture, will offer an array of special deals today. Most stores were scheduled to open bright and early this morning to accommodate eager bargain hunters.

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