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Black Friday deal seekers strategize savings

Some Auburn businesses to open at midnight
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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Fueled by a hunger to pay bottom dollar — and Starbucks coffee — Leslie Griffith and her family set out in the dark each Black Friday to hunt down the season’s best deals. The Loomis Realtor began the day after Thanksgiving shopping tradition just a few years ago after her son-in-law, Tyler Roberts, married her daughter, Chelsea, and moved to the area from Georgia. He wanted to carry on a ritual his family started when he was a child. “This is kind of a new tradition for us,” Griffith said. “Usually we get up somewhere between 4 and 5 (a.m.). It just depends what we need at the time. I don’t have anything on my list this year I need.” Griffith said while she doesn’t have a particular item she is after this year, she will sit down with Tyler, Chelsea and 18-year-old daughter Anna to look at advertisements on Thanksgiving Day and plan a route. “We have got to get up and get our Starbucks and go,” Griffith said. “(Anna) loves getting up super early for things like this. It’s hysterical.” Griffith said the family’s best Black Friday deal was a laptop they paid just $300 for that they bought two years ago at Office Depot. “There was barely anyone because people were at Best Buy and Fry’s,” Griffith said. “We were in and out of there so fast.” While the deals may be unparalleled, Griffith said heavy eyes are the price she pays on Friday. After their bargain hunting, the Griffiths are having a family breakfast and going to cut down a Christmas tree. “I stay up because we also do a family breakfast on Friday,” Griffith said. “I think they all go home and crash until then. By afternoon I am usually toast.” The shopping forecast in Auburn In Auburn, K-Mart assistant manager Sue Logan, will be on the other end of shopping, helping customers acquire their most-desired items. Unlike many other stores that are opening at midnight this year, K-Mart will continue to open at 5 a.m. “I love it. I do it every year. I’ve been here for 20 years,” Logan said. “Just how busy it is, seeing all the people who are crazy enough to get up that early. Every year I am just amazed. Everyone usually hits electronics first. They always know exactly what they are looking for.” Logan said since Target was built across the street, K-Mart hasn’t been quite as busy on Black Friday. She remembers when the line used to wind around the front of the store. Katelyn Brisendine, a manager at Target in Auburn, said this is the first year Target is test-piloting opening at midnight. “We are hoping it’s going to be just as busy as when we opened at 4 (a.m.),” Brisendine said. “We are just getting all of the product on the floor. It’s fun, just the spirit. Everyone is happy and everyone is here to get gifts for their loved ones.” Brisendine said the majority of the Auburn Target staff would be on duty to help customers. “Most of our staff said they are probably going to stay up all night,” Brisendine said. Another popular major retailer on Black Friday is the Best Buy in Auburn. The electronics superstore will also open at midnight, according to Brianna Mayberry, an Auburn Best Buy supervisor. Mayberry said Best Buy employees have been preparing for the busy shopping day for weeks. Black Friday shoppers have also been eager. Mayberry said she has even seen deal seekers camp out the day before Thanksgiving to get first pick at the merchandise. “We release tickets to customers when they are in line with the door busters,” Mayberry said. “It’s a lot of hard work put in by associates.” Thinking Auburn first? Cheryl Maki, co-founder of Think Auburn First city development group, said she encourages people to do their Black Friday shopping in Auburn, rather than heading to Roseville or Sacramento. Maki said statistics show that every dollar spent in a local business will circulate six to 15 times before it leaves town. According to Maki, even heading to local major retailers helps to keep people employed in Auburn, where employees contribute to the economy by having a home and buying necessities. Tax dollars spent in Auburn also keep money in town to help pay for local police and fire services. Maki said she may check out some deals at Auburn’s newest department store. “I’ll go over to McCaulou’s and see what they might have,” Maki said. Maki said people should also consider the extra customer service they may get at small, local businesses. She called Auburn Drug Co. off of Lincoln Way and was able to have a gift basket made and delivered to her home for a guest. “I value our American way of life,” Maki said. “Without small-businesses that employ 70 percent of Americans, we wouldn’t have the way of life we have.” Reach Sara Seyydin at saras@goldcountrymedia.com.