With the festivities of Thanksgiving barely over, and only 26 days left until Christmas, shopping centers in the Attleboro area and beyond were jammed with patrons hunting for the best Black Friday deals.
The Emerald Square mall in North Attleboro opened at midnight, with parking spots hard to come by within a half-hour’s time. Wal-Mart and Best Buy in North Attleboro opened their doors at 1 a.m.; at Patriot Place, Victoria’s Secret and ULTA Beauty opened at midnight and 12:30 a.m., respectively, with Bass Pro Shops and A.C. Moore opening at 5 a.m.
Additionally, the Wrentham Village Premium Outlets opened at midnight, and traffic to get to that shopping plaza was reported to be backed up to the center of Wrentham.
Those who braved the brisk winds while waiting for Wal-Mart to open kept warm any way they could, with many patrons wrapped head to toe in blankets and huddling together for warmth.
At the front of the line was Lauren Paquette of Attleboro, who staked her place in line at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
Paquette was pleasantly surprised to find herself at the beginning of the line, as opposed to previous years, when she was either “somewhere in the middle” or more towards the back.
And the deals were “absolutely worth it” for Paquette, who planned to buy a new laptop and TV.
Not far behind Paquette were sisters Katrina Bowes and Jennifer Savoie, both of Attleboro. Savoie was eager to buy her daughter a Crosley turntable for a mere $30, and Bowes was on the hunt for Super Mario video games.
Joining them was Meaghan Fontaine of Pawtucket, who has been a part of the Black Friday midnight shopping experience for six years, since she was 18 years old.
“You get to meet some interesting people,” Fontaine said. “I’ve met some friends here over the years that I still keep in touch with.”
Less than an hour after Wal-Mart opened, the shopping was in full swing, with all the registers bustling, including the self check-outs.
Among the deals the shoppers found were oversized teddy bears, unicorns and dinosaurs for $20 and a 115-piece Build & Play Colossal Construction Zone play set for $20. But it was only while supplies lasted, as the displays for these items clearly stated.
Some of the sought-after electronics were the Vizio 20-inch soundbars and the 65-inch Vizio Class 4K Smart TVs, which were $138 less than the regular price and barely fit into the shoppers’ carts.
Among the choices for savings at Best Buy included $200 on a 55-inch Samsung Q60 series LED TV, $800 on a 75-inch Samsung 4K UHD Smart TV, and $250 on a CyberPower gaming desktop.
‘Just more fun’
Tony and Nikki Capra of Smithfield, R.I. carried a 43-inch LG UHD TV and its corresponding SoundBar to the checkout line, which snaked around one side of the store all the way to the kitchen appliances section.
“It’s just more fun,” Nikki Capra said of the overnight, Black Friday shopping adventure. “It’s just different — you can’t do this all the time.”
Among the shoppers eager for the experience of patronizing the Emerald Square mall at such an hour was Dighton resident Laura Cronin’s 13-year-old daughter Hannah, who was accompanied by four of her friends.
Laura Cronin was joined by her co-worker, Danielle MacPherson of North Attleboro.
“There’s so many people here, it doesn’t feel like it’s 1 o’clock in the morning,” MacPherson said.
Cronin was amazed by the foot traffic within the mall.
“The amount of people is crazy,” she said.
Due to the high volume of shoppers, some stores with limited space, such as Victoria’s Secret and Bath and Body Works, were only allowing a set amount of people in their stores at a time.
The line for JCPenney, which opened shortly after 12:30 a.m., reached nearly to the entrance of the mall closest to the food court.
Among the doorbuster deals at JCPenney were Arizona Jean Co.’s red box boots and booties, regularly priced at $80 and slashed to $19.99, and The Foundry Big & Tall Supply Co. flannel shirts cut from $40 to $11.99.
Other deals included the entire store of Charlotte Russe at $20 and under except for outerwear, and Hollister selling all its items at 50 percent off.
“It’s an adrenaline rush, totally,” said shopper Nicole Silva of Seekonk.