Black Friday in Pasco is one Walmart's first and one Target's last

Tisha Newton, center, reaches for a toy as employees restock the shelves at the Target in Port Richey just before 8 a.m. Friday. It was the store’s last Black Friday. The store is one of four Targets nationwide slated to close Jan. 30.

BRENDAN FITTERER | Times

Tisha Newton, center, reaches for a toy as employees restock the shelves at the Target in Port Richey just before 8 a.m. Friday. It was the store’s last Black Friday. The store is one of four Targets nationwide slated to close Jan. 30.

PORT RICHEY

Some crawled out of bed before sunrise and waited outside Target before employees unlocked the store's red and white doors at 5 a.m. Other shoppers stopped by a few hours later to fill their carts, gripping cups of coffee and fliers promising "doorbuster" deals on everything from 32-inch televisions to remote-control cars.

While stores across the country enjoyed the rush of early morning bargain-hunters, one thing was different about this year's Black Friday at this Target: It would be the store's last.

"It (the closing) hasn't impacted traffic, but it's impacted our team," said Mike Peters, manager of the Port Richey store, which is one of four nationwide slated to close Jan. 30. "It's our last hurrah. It's sad that this is our last Black Friday. It's bittersweet."

The somber mood among employees wasn't shared by shoppers, who came out in droves for $3 appliances such as coffee pots, toasters and sandwich makers. They flocked to scoop up deals such as a 7-inch portable digital TV on sale for $79 and a $199 Kodak digital camera that was going for $129.

Holiday resident Barbara Blind got up at 6 a.m. and headed to Target looking for a 32-inch TV with a retail price of $429 that was marked down to $246.

By the time she got to the store, those were all gone. But the Turbo hockey game table she wanted for her 9-year-old daughter was still there.

Blind, 43, dragged the table's tall cardboard box down a center aisle of the store for a few minutes until a store representative offered to place it at the checkout for her.

"I got here at 7:30 a.m.," she said. "I didn't get the TV, but I got the table."

In Land O'Lakes, the day of post-Thanksgiving sales marked a different milestone for the Walmart Supercenter: It was the first Black Friday for the store, which opened earlier this month near U.S. 41 and Dale Mabry Highway.

All 26 registers had lines shortly after it began its doorbuster deals at 5 a.m. The hottest items were electronics, especially discounted laptops.

But Tracee Brock was most excited about something else.

"Look at my Joker hoodie," the 35-year-old Lutz resident said. "We got it for $7."

She and her mother, Linda Brock, 58, also of Lutz, didn't brave the sunrise sales but found a cart full of toys anyway.

"We were late bloomers," she said.

Amber Trammell, 27, of Tampa was among those who started early. She and her sister lined up at Sears at the Westfield Citrus Park mall to get a Sony flat-screen TV. They had ticket No. 25.

"We got one of the last ones," she said.

Then they hit Best Buy for discounted DVDs and a $98 digital camera on sale for $50. Trammell bagged a DVD player at the Land O'Lakes Walmart for $50.

Her next stop was going to be Toys R Us in Wesley Chapel, where she hoped to find a gift for her 7-year-old nephew.

Then Target. Then bed.

"About 1 p.m.," she said, "we will be out."

Inside Walmart, people congregated around the electronics department, with many combing through the $5 and $2 DVD bins.

Alissa Fischel of Lutz was a first-timer, but she scored deals like a veteran.

She started the shopping day before 4 a.m. at HHGregg in New Tampa, where, for $888, she bought a washer and dryer that originally sold for $2,000.

"I get free delivery and setup," she said.

Fischel later went to Sears at University Mall and got a tool chest for half price at $100. At Target, she also got a $50 gift card for buying an XBox 360.

"This is my last stop," she said while standing in the Walmart Supercenter parking lot with her ad in hand, eyeing a pink scooter.

Was it worth it?

"I was tired," she said. "At first I was all excited, but when I was in line over an hour, I started to think, 'This isn't worth it.' But then I got my second burst of energy."

At Best Buy at Gulf View Square mall in Port Richey, foot traffic was steady as shoppers looked for deals on video game systems and laptops.

Heath Brinkley of New Port Richey was hoping to get a good deal on a Nintendo DSi. Brinkley, 37, had already been to Target to get an Xbox 360 for $399, which garnered him a $50 gift card in return for the purchase he made for his three kids.

"Hopefully, I'll head home soon for a snack," he said. "Or maybe a nap."

Jennifer Lheureux, 30, had gotten up at 4 a.m. and started shopping with a girlfriend in hopes of finding toys for Lheureux's 9-year-old daughter.

At Target, a sleepy Lheureux ended up with a Barbie Furniture and Gift Set for half its retail price, and a half-price ring toss game for her 4-year-old nephew.

"We got some good deals," she said, "so it's worth it."

While she shopped, Lheureux said she had figured out the key to staying energetic on Black Friday.

"I got a Red Bull as soon as I walked in the door," she said, laughing while holding the can. "I felt like I was going to collapse."

Camille C. Spencer can be reached at (727) 869-6236 or cspencer@sptimes.com.

Could be a fluke

A successful Black Friday doesn't mean a successful holiday season. Story, 1A

Photo gallery

Shoppers all over the Tampa Bay area hit retail outlets in search of bargains. Visit links.tampabay.com.

Could be a fluke

A successful Black Friday doesn't mean a successful holiday season. Story, 1A

Photo gallery

Shoppers all over the Tampa Bay area hit retail outlets in search of bargains. Visit links.tampabay.com

Black Friday in Pasco is one Walmart's first and one Target's last 11/27/09 [Last modified: Friday, November 27, 2009 8:27pm]

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