Shoppers hit the stores early Friday morning in Roseburg, as the Black Friday rush began in the darkness. Many lined up outside of stores in heavy rain to get in early and take advantage of some of the big discounts being offered.

Some stores opened on Thanksgiving night. JCPenney in the Garden Valley Center opened at 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving, and store clerks said they had steady business throughout the day. It was not uncommon to see discounts of 40, 50 or 60 percent and even some as high as 80 percent, to attract shoppers into the store.

Phil Tyler of Roseburg was at JCPenney on Thursday evening doing some early shopping with his family. He said he doesn’t normally come out on Thanksgiving to shop.

“But I made the mistake of getting a newspaper,” Tyler said. “It was the women’s boot sale that brought us out. My wife and daughter are over there hitting that stack pretty hard.”

Tiffany Wells of Roseburg doesn’t shop online and likes to do her buying inside the store. It was her first time shopping on Thanksgiving.

“I’ve always been against it. I strongly believe stores shouldn’t be open because it should be a family holiday and people should be at home with their families,” Wells said. “But we found a good deal on fuzzy blankets.”

Fred Meyer’s half-price sock and underwear sale brought big crowds at 5 a.m. Friday morning with baskets filled with the discounted items and a hubbub that almost caused a traffic jam.

“My biggest thing with Fred Meyer is to come and try to find socks,” said Leo Rincon. “I normally get them for my girls, because my kids play sports.”

Rob Davis of Oakland started his shopping Thursday night at Walmart and then hit Fred Meyer early Friday morning.

“I do online, but I do both, and I like to go to the store and spend time with my girlfriend,” he said. “And I like to watch the people.”

The store had big discounts on TVs and other electronics, and shoppers could find large discounts in other departments throughout the store, including toys.

Ashley Moss found a toy for her daughter at a large discount, and that’s what brought her in. But she also does some online shopping. Moss doesn’t like the idea of stores being open on Thanksgiving.

“No, I’m kind of against that,” she said.

Brandon Carr said he came early on Black Friday — arriving right after 4 a.m. — and spent about an hour waiting for the store to open at 5 a.m. Carr said he just wanted to see if it was as crazy as he had been told.

“Everybody always talks about it, so I thought, ‘I’m going to have to check it out,’” he said. “There are some huge bargains if you can grab them in time, but I like online better. I can lay in bed and do it.”

About 25 customers were lined up outside of the Sportsman’s Warehouse for its opening at 6 a.m. Friday morning. More waited in their vehicles in the parking lot in the downpour.

The store, located near the Roseburg Marketplace, had some inviting discounts that attracted Bob Free of Sutherlin to show up early for electric smokers listed at almost half-price.

“This is for a club, the Oregon Coast Anglers Association, which is out of Winchester Bay, and this will become a raffle item at a fundraiser,” Free said. “This is our first time ever shopping early on Black Friday, and in a sense, we’re doing it for others.”

ShopperTrak, an adviser to retailers and shopping centers in the U.S., Europe and Asia, said Black Friday is expected to be the busiest shopping day of the year.

The company also said that last year, not only was the traffic decline in stores cut in half from previous years, there was a year-over-year increase in sales per shopper of more than three percent.

That indicates that shoppers are still flocking to brick-and-mortar stores and making purchases when they get there, the company said.

Reporter Dan Bain can be reached at 541-957-4221 or e-mail at dbain@nrtoday.com.

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Dan Bain is the health reporter for The News-Review. He previously worked at KPIC and 541 Radio.

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