Make us your home page
Instagram

Lots of bargains, and a few scuffles, as shoppers flock to stores in Hernando

Some were first-timers. Others were old hands at maneuvering through crowds and standing in checkout lanes for as long as an hour. Shoppers by the hundreds turned out for Black Friday craziness across Hernando County — buying lots and saving big, they said. And that was just the scene before daybreak. Manager Steve Midkoff at Best Buy, on Commercial Way in Spring Hill, estimated that a crowd of about 400 awaited the opening of the doors at his store at 5 a.m. Friday. After the initial influx, he was directing groups of 20 customers at a time into the store.

At 4 a.m., the line outside Target at Suncoast Crossing in Spring Hill stretched to the back of the building.

Manager Ed Cottrell at HHGregg, the appliance and electronics store at the Coastal Way shopping center in Spring Hill, said about 200 folks were bunched for that store's opening at 4 a.m.

If a prize were awarded to the earliest on the shopping scene, it likely would go to Valerie Hanna of Port Richey. She set up camp outside Best Buy at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, with "chairs, pillows, blankets and my boyfriend to lean on."

The 26-year-old Hanna and Vincent Jimenez, 30, came to buy a $500 laptop computer on sale for $150. She got the last one.

Rhonda Phillipson of Weeki Wachee could have been a runner-up to Hanna. Phillipson, 51, dragged to her car a cart full of electronics from HHGregg and her camp chair. She'd been on the scene since Thanksgiving night.

Hanna was among the pleased shoppers, who also ranged from stoic to rude. The same could be said of clerks and floor managers, customers said.

A brief scuffle was reported outside Kohl's at Suncoast Crossing before the department store opened at 3 a.m. to some 200 shoppers. Several customers were evicted from nearby Target for line jumping. Walmart on Cortez Boulevard, open all Thanksgiving day and night, nonetheless experienced a mad rush of pushing and shoving in Friday's wee hours, said a potential shopper who did an about-face and left without a purchase.

Sheriff's deputies were stationed throughout the major shopping centers, as they are every Black Friday, said Deputy Chris Vascellero, outside Target. He and Deputy Scott Reak were equipped with bicycles to patrol the crowd.

Shopper Lindsay Beltzer of Webster, Mass., visiting her mother in Hernando County, exited Kohl's with a smile and a cart full with Rachael Ray cookware and a Presto fryer, and said, "I live for this day every year."

She and mom had arrived for the 3 a.m. opening.

On a bench just inside Kohl's, John Voltaggio, 62, of Spring Hill awaited his wife, Chanse, with an overflowing cart of dishes, flatware and small kitchen appliances.

"This was my first time (for Black Friday), and it's my last," he declared.

Another first-timer, Stephanie Fulton of Spring Hill, 32, said her husband normally ran the Black Friday gauntlet while she stayed home with their children. "I wanted to see the chaos," she said as she shopped for home entertainment equipment at HHGregg.

Meanwhile, Lois Lovell, 70, of Brooksville checked out of Kohl's after 55 minutes in line. "I feel I got what I wanted," she said with a smile, pointing at a piece of luggage. She had perused sale ads and determined this was the best buy around.

On the other hand, Patty Lovell of Brooksville grimaced.

"The worst experience of my life," she said as she left Kohl's.

The 53-year-old Lovell, who has an ailing back, said she asked a clerk for help with a heavy box and was told she'd have to manage herself.

Lounging outside Target, Billy Ward, 25, of Spring Hill said he was taking a break from the line in the electronics department. With two companions, they were tag teaming. They had arrived at 4 a.m. to buy a digital camera. Watching customers leave the store, Ward said he'd seen a lot of TVs purchased.

Renee Scandora, 50, of Spring Hill thought her half-hour wait to check out of HHGregg was satisfactory, especially given the door-buster savings. It was her second stop before 5 a.m.

Robert Toler, 19, of Spring Hill, with a Wii player and a Blu-ray player under one arm and a half-dozen DVDs in hand at Best Buy, calculated he'd saved about $100.

Many early-bird tickets were half price — and even less.

After stocking up on discounted merchandise, most of the early morning shoppers said they had similar plans for the rest of the day: Go home and sleep.

Beth Gray can be contacted at [email protected]

Lots of bargains, and a few scuffles, as shoppers flock to stores in Hernando 11/26/10 [Last modified: Friday, November 26, 2010 8:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Carrollwood fitness center employs scientific protocol to help clients

    Business

    In 2005, Al Roach and Virginia Phillips, husband and wife, opened 20 Minutes to Fitness in Lakewood Ranch, and last month they opened the doors to their new location in Carrollwood.

    Preston Fisher, a personal fitness coach at 20 Minutes To Fitness, stands with an iPad while general manager/owner Angela Begin conducts an equipment demonstration. The iPad is used to track each client's information and progress. I also included one shot of just the equipment. The center recently opened in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser.
  2. Olive Tree branches out to Wesley Chapel

    Business

    WESLEY CHAPEL — When it came time to open a second location of The Olive Tree, owners John and Donna Woelfel, decided that Wesley Chapel was the perfect place.

    The Olive Tree expands its offerings of "ultra premium?€ extra virgin olive oils (EVOO) to a second location in Wesley Chapel. Photo by Danielle Hauser.
  3. Massachusetts firm buys Tampa's Element apartment tower

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Downtown Tampa's Element apartment tower sold this week to a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company that plans to upgrade the skyscraper's amenities and operate it long-term as a rental community.

    The Element apartment high-rise at 808 N Franklin St. in downtown Tampa has been sold to a Northland Investment Corp., a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company. JIM DAMASKE  |  Times
  4. New York town approves Legoland proposal

    News

    GOSHEN, N.Y. — New York is one step closer to a Lego dreamland. Goshen, a small town about fifty miles northwest of the Big Apple, has approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park.

    A small New York town, Goshen approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park. Legoland Florida is in Winter Haven. [Times file  photo]
  5. Jordan Park to get $20 million makeover and new senior housing

    Real Estate

    By WAVENEY ANN MOORE

    Times Staff Writer

    ST. PETERSBURG —The St. Petersburg Housing Authority, which bought back the troubled Jordan Park public housing complex this year, plans to spend about $20 million to improve the 237-unit property and construct a new three-story building for …

    Jordan Park, the historic public housing complex, is back in the hands of the St. Petersburg Housing Authority. The agency is working to improve the 237-unit complex. But the latest plan to build a new three-story building for seniors will mean 31 families have to find new homes. [LARA CERRI   |   Tampa Bay Times]