By Sally Voth
If shoppers in Winchester Friday afternoon were anything to go by, Black Friday was a boon to area retailers.
Target shoppers Patty Morton and her daughter, Jessica Hinzman, both of Petersburg, W.Va., started at 5 a.m.
"We've been doing it every year," Morton said in the early afternoon. "[We'll shop] probably a couple more hours. It's been a good day. Tiring, but a good day. It's family time we get to spend together."
Winchester resident Crystal Dreiling had a giant 50-inch TV in her red cart. She said Black Friday shopping is a tradition for her.
"Generally, we [start early], but this time we slept in and waited for the crowd to die down," she said. "We're like going to be shopping from here until evening."
"Until Saturday night," Dreiling's mother-in-law, Tammy Dreiling, who's from Georgia, added.
Crystal Dreiling described her mother-in-law as a "shop-a-holic."
"Generally, she's standing at the door" waiting for the store to open and pushing other shoppers aside, she joked.
"I do not," Tammy Dreiling protested.
At Kohl's on Pleasant Valley Road, parking spaces were at a premium, with at least one vehicle parked up on a grassy area. Inside, check-out lines stretched nearly to the rear of the store, with customers also lined up deep at customer service.
Darren Johnson, of Winchester, said he and his mother, Carolyn, had been in line about 40 minutes. They were at the front of the line, their carts full of home items, particularly cooking aids.
"Every year," Carolyn Johnson said of how often they shop on Black Friday. "We were just kind of late this year ... just kind of late getting up."
At Apple Blossom Mall, shopping at most of the stores started at midnight, area director of mall marketing Larry Nelson said. About 95 percent of the stores opened then, he said.
"At midnight, we had thousands of people that literally came in the doors," Nelson said. "We had a line that wrapped all the way around the back side of Belk.
"This is the first year we ever opened at midnight. Last year we opened at 5 a.m. I would say from midnight till about 4 a.m., it was just as packed as a traditional Black Friday used to be during the daytime hours."
Opening at the end of the Thanksgiving holiday seemed to work out well for shopkeepers.
"Most every store we've talked to [is] very, very pleased with the sales that we've had," Nelson said. "Just a solid push with no let up. It still remained busy after 4."
He was happy the mall -- which is undergoing a facelift -- was able to get new bathrooms opened in time for the Black Friday crowd.
"One of the biggest things that customers have asked for [for] years and years is better rest rooms," Nelson said.
Of course, some retailers were opening their doors back up the evening of Thanksgiving itself
In Woodstock, Walmart never actually closed, although special sales were set to start at 8 p.m. Earlier Thursday afternoon, pallets of sale items wrapped in plastic and with sales prices taped to them were spaced throughout the store.
Contact staff writer Sally Voth at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or firstname.lastname@example.org