Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Shoppers Turn out on Black Friday; and Those Doing the Shopping Were on the Lookout for Big Bargains

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Shoppers Turn out on Black Friday; and Those Doing the Shopping Were on the Lookout for Big Bargains

Article excerpt

Byline: MAGGIE FITZROY

Six-year-old Caleb Abbott knows all about Santa Claus.

But Black Friday was a new concept for him.

When his mom told him that people often buy Christmas presents for loved ones the day after Thanksgiving, he set out to find the perfect gift for his baby brother, Miles.

"Cause it's Black Friday," he said Friday while exploring Wickets Kids in Sawgrass Village in Ponte Vedra Beach with his parents. "We wanted to shop."

The depressed national economy didn't keep people from getting a head start on their Christmas shopping all around the Beaches Friday, traditionally one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

Parking lots and stores were full.

But this year is different, many customers and store owners said. Some were seeking deeply discounted sale items. Some were buying more practical gifts. Some said they were scrimping on the adults on their lists, but not on the children.

"I think people are cautious, but they always remember a child," Wickets Kids employee Carol D'Onofrio said. "For the kids, they'll still spend. They might not spend as much."

Around the Beaches, customers who wanted bargains set out early to find them.

Across the sidewalk from Wickets Kids, Carlene Shipley of Ponte Vedra Beach liked the sale on women's clothes at Wickets.

She purchased some items as gifts, and bought a few things for herself.

"With a sale like this, are you kidding?" she said. "Fifty percent off until noon."

"It's a wonderful sale," agreed customer Pat Bagni.

This year, Bagni said she is doing more "long-term" shopping, such as buying the family's summer vacation now.

But not when it comes to her "grandbabies."

"They have to see presents under the tree," she said.

At Beaches Town Center at the foot of Atlantic Boulevard, Melissa Zavala of Coral Springs looked at Christmas tree ornaments at First Street Gallery. She was in town visiting family.

"We're just wandering through the shop; we've never been here before," she said. …

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