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Black Friday shopping tradition continues without throngs of people

T-L Photo/SHELLEY HANSON SANDY KILBURN, left, and Beth Knowlton of Lewisville stand with their shopping cart full of Black Friday finds at the Ohio Valley Mall in St. Clairsville on Friday.

People hungry for good deals made their way to the Ohio Valley Mall in St. Clairsville and The Highlands in Ohio County during the traditional Black Friday shopping day.

Compared to past years, there were no throngs of people lined up to get inside stores Friday. Big sales already were underway during the past couple weeks, and concerns about the COVID-19 virus remain substantial.

But that didn’t stop everyone from coming out. At Target at The Highlands, about 100 people waited in line to get inside the store that opened at 7 a.m.

Wheeling resident Bill Kovalski was waiting in line with his sons Nick and Zach Kovalski. The trio said they were not looking for any one item in particular, just any good deal they could find. Bill Kovalski said his entire family splits up each year and shops at different stores on Black Friday. Later they will come together and talk about their day.

“It’s a family thing we do,” he said.

People waiting in line socially distanced themselves from other groups of shoppers also waiting to get in. Before opening the doors, a Target employee reminded people to socially distance while inside the building. Everyone in line was wearing a mask.

Zach Kovalski said he was not concerned about the virus while shopping because they were being careful.

“They make everyone stay 6 feet apart anyway,” he said.

Siblings Josh and Jimmy Weigand of Wheeling and their friend Ryan Kozick of Wheeling were hoping to get a PlayStation 5 inside Target. After they got in line, however, they were told there were none inside to be purchased. Still, the trio was in good spirits and happy to be out shopping the day after Thanksgiving. It’s a tradition for them as well.

“We’re the Black Friday boys,” Josh Weigand said, giving the group a nickname.

Moundsville resident Zachary Burdette waited with a group of friends to get into Target. He noted there were not looking for any one item in particular, but that they would try their best to find good deals. He described Target as a “fine establishment.”

At the Ohio Valley Mall, Marketing Director Candi Noble-Greathouse said there were some people waiting in line before the building opened at 6 a.m., but not like the large crowds of the past. The most popular store that people waited for at the main entrance was GameStop inside. Many were hoping to buy a PlayStation 5 before they sold out.

Inside the mall appeared like any other shopping day of the year. There were no large crowds. Greathouse said she was happy people came out to shop. The mall is offering incentives to entice people to spend money there. On Friday, she was handing out gift cards to random shoppers as she walked around the mall.

“We’re excited for the kick-off of the season,” Noble-Greathouse said.

Until Christmas, the mall will continue to offer gifts to people who spend a certain amount of money there. People can take their receipts to the security booth to receive a gift, she said.

Lewisville residents Beth Knowlton and Sandy Kilburn were pleased to be shopping, noting there were no big lines to contend with everywhere they went.

The duo already had a shopping cart full of stuff including items from Dunham’s, Kings Jewelry and Bath & Body Works.

Noble-Greathouse noted several of the mall’s stores decided to open early Friday, while others planned to open their doors at their regular times.

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