By Tonya Fennell and Ashley Lee: Freedom Newspapers
Blanche Bentley was up with the sun Friday morning in search of the perfect Christmas present.
The 62-year-old Clovis resident was among the hundreds to hit the stores early to take advantage of one of the biggest shopping days of the year.
Black Friday gets its name for pushing stores out of the red and into the black in profitability, and is second only to the Saturday before Christmas as the biggest shopping day of the year.
Bundled up against the chilly morning weather, Bentley arrived at Triangle Ace Home Center in Clovis in search of a present for her 17-year-old grandson.
“He lives in Indiana,” Bentley said, “and he always sends me a long list of ideas for Christmas presents.”
However, this year her teenage grandson’s list included just one item — an MP3 player.
“I’m not even sure what that is,” Bentley said with a laugh, “but I heard they had one here (Triangle Ace).”
The gray-haired grandmother said she normally avoids shopping on Black Friday.
“I get flustered in crowds,” she said, “and I get overwhelmed at the bigger stores, so I thought I could just get in and out here (Triangle Ace).”
But, according to Triangle Ace General Manager Randy Petty, when the hardware store opened its doors at 7 a.m., more than 70 customers were already standing in line. Petty said the “trend-type items,” such as portable DVD players and MP3 players, were flying off the shelves.
“We did 130 transactions in the first 30 minutes,” Petty said. “It was a little overwhelming, but the staff handled it well.”
Despite the crowd and having to face a short wait, Bentley said she considered the shopping trip a success.
“I found what I was looking for,” she said as she paid for the MP3 player, “and that’s all that really matters.”
Clovis resident Ann Burke also found the perfect Christmas gift for her daughter on Friday as well — and she did it in 15 minutes.
Burke said she stopped by the Clovis Wal-Mart on a whim as she was driving to work late Friday morning. Although the parking lot was overflowing and the aisles were packed, Burke said she was able to purchase a jump drive for her daughter’s laptop computer.
“I was so surprised,” she said, “but I was out of the store within 20 minutes.”
Clovis Main Street stores also saw success on Black Friday. According to sales associate Pat Grah, who works at Cydney’s Antiques, a steady stream of customers filed through the door.
“We had a lot of sales,” Grah said. “Quite a lot of people have been out and about today.”
Sirius radios and portable DVD players were the hottest item of the day at Radio Shack in Portales, according to store associate John Gutierrez.
Beall’s manager Melissa Bonem said the hottest selling items in her Portales clothing store were the “Bogo” — buy one, get one — shoes and gift sets such as perfume and jewelry.
“Sales are up from last year,” Bonem said. “We had people at the doors at 6:30 a.m., which is so much different than last year. And this year we have been steady all day,” she said.
June Merrick of Ashley Furniture in Portales reported a record-breaking day.
“We ran a special that shoppers needed to get here early for special savings, and there were people waiting at 6:30 a.m. for us to open the doors at 7 a.m.” Merrick said. “We did a lot of advertising and encouraged people to come in early and stay in town.”