Business

Long lines fail to deter some early shoppers

BrandsMart opened its doors on Thursday, giving rabid shoppers a head start on the bargains and special Black Friday sales.
BrandsMart opened its doors on Thursday, giving rabid shoppers a head start on the bargains and special Black Friday sales. cjuste@miamiherald.com

Adriel Fernandez and his girlfriend, Estephanie Arrieta, were among the first group of 30 customers to walk into a BrandsMart on Thursday afternoon after waiting for four hours. The line went around the corner, while hundreds of people waited patiently for their turn to be at the front.

“We had to take advantage of the early timing and prices and purchase the stuff first, and then we can go home and eat the turkey,” said Fernandez who was looking for TVs at the Miami Gardens store.

Like some other retailers, BrandsMart didn’t wait until Black Friday to open its doors. Instead, people were let inside at 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day to snatch sales on electronics, jewelry, and furniture.

For many, the Thanksgiving holiday has gone from a tradition of eating to a tradition of shopping, pushing many retailers to cater to that trend.

“Every year it’s the same thing, “ said Nelson Altamiro, a senior product specialist, who says the store’s low prices attract a heavy flow of clientele. “We have lines going all the way to the back, to the parking lot.”

We have lines going all the way to the back, to the parking lot Nelson Altamiro,

BrandsMart

Erma Smith traveled from the Bahamas for the weekend to shop. After waiting in line at BrandsMart from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., she went inside, grabbed two TV sets and put them in her cart.

“We have a lot of damages [from the storms] and we have some of the stuff gone, so I just want to replace it,” said Smith. “They have good discounts.”

A crowd of Hialeah residents and tourists stood outside Westland Mall at 1675 W. 49th St., waiting for J.C. Penney to open at 3 p.m. Victor Benavides, who lives in Hialeah, was among them. For Benavides, Thanksgiving isn’t just a day to spend with family, but also a good opportunity to shop for shoes, pants, and shirts at more affordable prices.

“The sales are great,” said Benavides, who has made it a yearly tradition to shop on Thanksgiving. “My family isn’t here, so I like to spend today — my day off — doing some shopping.”

Customers held piles of clothes as lines grew by the second, while others ran to sections with discounts ranging up to 70 percent off.

Kmart, which opened at 6 a.m., didn’t have a heavy flow of customers until noon. At 2 p.m. checkout lines were packed. Trees, ornaments, and toys were among the items that filled shopping carts.

“Everybody is coming here for Christmas ornaments and trees,” said Adela Galdamez, assistant mananger. “It’s all about the savings.”

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