Mikaelia Jimenez, 17, and her friends, Cory Veles, 23, and Jessica Franklin, 18, pitched a tent in front of Best Buy on Monday, Nov. 19, to be first in line for the scheduled opening at midnight Friday, Nov. 23.
Sharing sidewalk space with nine other shoppers who had joined the campout by 4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 21, Jimenez said the trio planned to buy 40-inch televisions for the bargain price of $180 each.
“You can’t beat the deals,” Jimenez said, playing cards with her friends in front of the store Wednesday. “It only happens one time a year. This is my third year in a row at Best Buy.”
Second in line were Myke Hastings, 25, and his 20-year-old girlfriend, Kayla Coufal, who staked out their spot Tuesday, Nov. 20, to check televisions off their Christmas list.
“Last year I did it in Oregon and I got frostbite,” he said. “It’s warmer here, so people can wait days. It can be lucrative for buying and reselling.”
Merchants in Tracy have been working hard to prepare for the shopping rush that typically follows Thanksgiving.
This year’s Black Friday is expected to get off to an early start at the West Valley Mall, as more than 30 shops will open doors at or before midnight Friday, with sales continuing into the daytime hours.
West Valley Mall Manager Mike Donaghy said during a telephone interview Monday that “every year, it’s the ritual of decorating and putting the poinsettias out” at the mall.
“The merchants are preparing with decorations, stocking inventory and scheduling (staff),” he said. “We’re pleased things are looking good for Black Friday. It’s a lot of work. Black Friday is a lot of work, and a lot of hours for the retailers. We’re geared up and excited.”
Joining the dozens of stores set to open at midnight are mall anchor stores Macy’s and Best Buy, while Sears and Target plan to get an earlier jump by opening doors at 8 and 9 p.m. Thanksgiving day, Thursday, Nov. 22, with plans to stay open until 10 and 11 p.m. Friday.
To accommodate early shoppers, mall officials set up a hospitality area near Target that opened at midnight Friday and remained open until 8 a.m. Shoppers were offered complementary beverages and pastries.
“We figured the rush of people are going to be here early, and they get tired and might need a bottle of water, pastry or a cup of coffee to keep going,” Donaghy said. “They can relax for a few minutes before heading off to their next shopping appointment.”
For the early shoppers, the mall will also offer shopper rewards between 6 and 11 a.m. Each shopper who spends $100 could pick up a $10 gift card while supplies last in the Center Court area.
One business new to the mall for Black Friday is Fay’s Sports Memorabilia, near Target. Owner Lois Fay said Tuesday that she was eager to see what happens at the mall on the biggest shopping day of the year.
“I am ready and stocked for Black Friday,” she said. “I had to get everything in by tomorrow (Wednesday), and then reorder if they sell me out on Black Friday. We’ve got a lot of new stuff.”
Although Fay planned to have doorbuster sales between midnight and 4 a.m. Friday, including 20 percent off sports team jackets, hoodies and jerseys, she said her Black Friday sales would run all day.
“Shoppers can go shopping elsewhere and come to Fay’s afterwards and still have all day (to shop),” she said. “That’s why we decided to do an all-day Black Friday.”
Another primary shopping destination in Tracy, Tracy Outlets, had its 13 stores set to open at 5 a.m. Friday to offer early bargains.
“The tree is lit, the wreaths are up and we’re ready,” said Tracy Outlets Manager Elaine Yager in a telephone interview Tuesday.
In addition to the bargains, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be at the outlets from 1 to 5 p.m. Friday, Yager said.
Carter’s, OshKosh, Maurices, Casual Male, Corning, Famous Footwear, Gifts Etc., Hip Gen, Lane Bryant, Levi’s, Luxury Perfumes, Tuesday Morning and Van Heusen are all expected to have “amazing prices,” she said.
“What a great way for family to save on a personal level or holiday shopping,” Yager said. “They are going to save a lot of money.”
The manager of Carter’s children’s wear, Lenore Winter, described Black Friday as the merchants’ “Super Bowl.”
“The whole store is half off, and between 5 a.m. and noon, we’ll add another 10 percent off, and you can bring in a 20 percent coupon to get 80 percent off,” she said. “This is a destination store with a good customer base, so we’re optimistic.”
Assistant store manager Angie Gonzalez said, “I’m excited. This kicks off our Christmas season. We’ve been telling our customers since October, September, so they can come here to do their Christmas shopping.”
• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or email@example.com.