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Black Friday madness sweeps through Auburn

Shopping local offers great choices, business owner says
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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Black Friday may be over, but the memories it created and the deals it offered will live on in the minds of shoppers. Some Auburn residents knew they wanted to camp out in front of stores to get the best deals. Auburn resident Clayton Durkin began his camp-out in front of Target at 6 p.m. Thursday. The reason? New electronics. “They had 40-inch TVs for $298,” Durkin said. He bought two. Durkin said he was the first one to camp out at the site this year. “When I got out there, there was nobody,” he said. “There was nobody until at least 7:30. Another group came at probably 8 or 9.” Durkin said his camp-out was freezing, and was only made worse by a nearby sign flashing the current temperature. “The little sign you could see from across the street kept blinking every two seconds – 36 degrees, 36 degrees,” Durkin said. When the store opened at 4 a.m. there was a line wrapped around the building and no parking spots left in the lot, Durkin said. When he was checking out at 4:30 or 4:45 a.m., it was hard to even move through the store, and people were bumping into each other in the aisles, he said. Durkin said in the past he has gone early in the morning to wait for stores to open, but he never got a good spot in line, so he figured camping out was the way to go. “It was worth it, because now I have got my TVs, and I’m sitting here watching it,” he said. Auburn resident Linda Kay wanted to get some good deals in Best Buy for Black Friday, so she began her camp-out early Thursday morning. “I got there at seven o’clock yesterday morning,” Kay said. “It was freezing. I got home about 7:30 (Friday) morning.” Kay said she had several reasons for the camp-out. “Actually I wanted to get a computer, but I really wanted to be the first one in line, because how many people can say that?” Kay said she purchased several things including a washer and dryer, home theater sound system, a computer, an external hard drive and more. “Everything I got was a pretty good deal,” she said. Even with the long line outside and packed store, the shopping experience wasn’t frustrating, Kay said. “There were quite a few people, but they had it very organized,” she said. “I feel like I got through pretty quickly. It was a really pleasant experience. I might do it again next year.” Kay said during the night everyone was polite and had a good time. “It was a good night,” she said. “It was a lot of fun. We all chatted.” Leticia McCann, a manager at the Auburn Target, said there were huge crowds in the morning, because it was the store’s first time opening at 4 a.m. “It’s been a very solid day,” McCann said. “I would say it’s pretty typical (for Black Friday).” McCann said to get ready for the biggest shopping day of the year, the store scheduled almost 200 employees to work. “We have every single person working today,” she said Friday. The store stays open until 11 p.m. and plans to start staying open until midnight in mid-December, McCann said. Local small business owners are also hoping to catch some of the holiday shopping fever. Linda Robinson, president of the Old Town Business Association, said there are several reasons to shop locally including quality items, good customer service and a good selection. “I think we have everything to offer that a shopping mall has,” Robinson said. “Old Town (Auburn) is probably the oldest and original outdoor shopping mall in the county.” Robinson also said not every shopping area could offer the beauty of the Foothills. To get ready for holiday shopping, local stores get holiday items as early as they can, Robinson said. “The gift shops have to gear up really early, because their window of opportunity starts earlier than say the clothing business, like I’m in,” she said. “Even though we can’t compete (with malls), we have to be ready. We have an incredible selection of holiday goods.” Newly hung decorations also offer shoppers a taste of the holiday spirit, Robinson said. “There is just a charm and a coziness of Old Town that not many Foothills communities offer right off the freeway,” she said. Reach Bridget Jones at bridgetj@goldcountrymedia.com ------------------------------------------------------ Think Auburn First and win ‘Bonus Bucks’ The Auburn Journal and Think Auburn First are teaming up this holiday season, ready to reward local consumers for shopping local. Visit participating Think Auburn First business merchants during the holiday shopping season and enter to win “Holiday Bonus Bucks” – certificates that can be used to complete shopping lists into the new year. Simply stop by any of the 15 Think Auburn First businesses listed, fill out an entry form and look to the Auburn Journal daily in December. Winners will be announced in the paper, winning bonus bucks in denominations ranging from $5 to $50. The certificates must be used in purchases through Jan. 15, 2011. Participating businesses include: Auburn Drug Co., Auburn Jewelry and Loan, Auburn Journal, Auburn True Value Hardware, Autovantage Service Center, Avantgarden, Belle Beauty Supply, Bootleggers Old Town Bar & Grill, Echo Valley Ranch Inc, Gena’s Salon, Golden Swann Jewelers, Maki Heat & Air Conditioning, ProActive Personal Training & Fitness Education, Roper's Jewelers and The Footpath.