Huber Guerrero, bottom, of Napa, carries bags of gifts with his children Brian, 3, Brandon, 3, Jonathan, 7, and Brittany, 5, in tow through Westfield Mall during the Black Friday sales event Friday morning. (Mike Greener/Daily Republic)

Huber Guerrero, bottom, of Napa, carries bags of gifts with his children Brian, 3, Brandon, 3, Jonathan, 7, and Brittany, 5, in tow through Westfield Mall during the Black Friday sales event Friday morning. (Mike Greener/Daily Republic)


Shoppers turn out earlier and earlier for Black Friday

By From page A1 | November 25, 2011

FAIRFIELD — Being an early bird shopper for Black Friday these days just about means becoming a Thanksgiving Day night owl.

“We’ve already had two rushes this morning,” Westfield Solano mall manager Geoff Mason said at 7 a.m. Friday.

The first came at midnight, when a dozen or so stores opened. The second came at 4 a.m., when most of the remaining stores opened. By 7 a.m., the mall still bustled with shoppers and the parking lots were packed, but the long lines had dissipated.

And Westfield Solano mall  is far from the earliest place to kick off the Christmas shopping season. Some stores, such as certain ones at the Vacaville Premium Outlets, opened as early at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

Accounts from Mason, shoppers and merchants indicate that shoppers turned out in force for Black Friday at the mall and that many embraced the trend toward earlier and earlier store openings. The question that remains is how much shoppers will spend amid an economic recovery that seems anemic at best.

Becky Johnston of Vacaville and her two friends shopped at the mall at 7 a.m. on Friday morning as kind of a part two to the Christmas season sales kickoff. The previous night, Johnson went to Walmart at  10 p.m.

“It’s fun for us,” Johnston said, but she added she feels bad for the employees who have to work that nighttime shift.

But while she might be ready to visit shops until she drops, she’s not necessarily ready to spend until she drops. She foresees spending less than last year. People are forced to go to the door-buster sales to make their budgets stretch, she said.

Latasha Richardson of Fairfield came to the mall at 6:30 a.m. with her brother Moses. The trend of opening stores earlier and earlier — especially the ones opening Thanksgiving night — isn’t for her.

“I’d still be recovering from the food,” she said.

Cassandra Kobbe of Vallejo came to the mall at 3:30 a.m. with her daughter Kianna Baldwin to be ready for the 4 a.m. wave of store openings. The parking lot was full, she said.

She wouldn’t have minded coming earlier, but she specifically wanted to go to a mobile phone store that opened at 4 a.m., Kobbe said.

By 7 a.m., she still had a full day of activity ahead of her, but it didn’t involve shopping.

“I’ve got to go get ready for work,” she said with a weary smile.

Marjorie Huffenberger is store manager for Old Navy at the mall. Old Navy opened at midnight and Huffenberger said about 450 people were in line, compared to about 300 last year.

“There were more stores that were open at midnight this year,” she said “That made a difference. We had a giveaway. That brought a lot of people in.”

At one point, lines at the cash registers stretched to the back of the store, she said.

“Right now, I’m doing better than last year for the month of November,” Huffenberger said. “People are still coming in for really good values. That’s what they’re looking for.”

Shoppers lined up for the J.C. Penney opening at 4 a.m. Friday, too.

“All four doors,” store manager Rosie Edwards said.

The toys, electronics, houseware and shoe departments all saw a lot of traffic, Edwards said. The shoppers are definitely turning out, she said.

Now merchants will wait to see how much money the shoppers are leaving behind.

More people than local merchants have a stake in the Christmas shopping season. Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of the United States economy. On the local level, Fairfield gets almost 30 percent of its general fund revenues from sales taxes and a state reimbursement for borrowed sales taxes. It gets 28 percent of its sales tax revenues from the mall and adjacent Gateway area.

Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929, or [email protected]

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling has been a reporter with the Daily Republic since 1987. He covers Solano County government, transportation, growth and the environment. He received his bachelors of art degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.

Discussion | 22 comments

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  • Fairfield's Innovation InstituteNovember 25, 2011 - 2:04 pm

    The mall has super good deals today. Also check out Best Buy and Macy's.

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  • T.J.November 25, 2011 - 2:22 pm

    Aren't they part of the mall?

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  • Mr. PracticalNovember 25, 2011 - 2:39 pm

    T.J., don't confuse him. You bully!

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  • T.J.November 25, 2011 - 3:02 pm

    I was just curious if he would call me a bully for saying that. He probably thinks I am sitting here talking to myself. Or could it be you are talking to yourself? Or wait, if C.D comments would he be talking to himself? After all we are all the same bully.

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  • Mr. PracticalNovember 25, 2011 - 5:59 pm

    Don't forget that we're bought and paid for by the Harry Price good ole boy's network!

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  • SavetheRepublicNovember 26, 2011 - 10:10 am


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  • T.JNovember 26, 2011 - 11:08 am

    I heard there was a fist fight between some women at the Fairfield Walmart over some towels. Any truth to that?

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  • Mr. Green ValleyNovember 26, 2011 - 11:23 am

    A fist fight, at Walmart? Tell me it ain't so, or remind me that it's likely not the first.

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  • Mr. PracticalNovember 26, 2011 - 6:57 pm

    Low prices, kills.

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  • Keeping up with the JonesesNovember 26, 2011 - 7:24 pm

    You can't BEAT the deals...

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  • Mr. Green ValleyNovember 26, 2011 - 10:33 pm

    Spending $199 on something that was once $399 and will soon be $99 may sound like a good deal, but spending $0 on something you didn't need in the first place, sounds like a much better deal to me.

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  • Mr. Green ValleyNovember 26, 2011 - 11:22 am

    "Black Friday" helping people spend money they don't have since 1966. How about a change, why don't we start living within our means? Can't you tell someone "no, we (I) can't afford that for you, sorry."

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  • T.JNovember 26, 2011 - 11:34 am

    The wife and I started doing that last year. All of our kids are grown so they don't get presents anymore. If a good dinner and family time isn't good enough for them for Christmas then oh well. Now the Grandkids, they get stuff.

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  • Mr. Green ValleyNovember 26, 2011 - 11:55 am

    Too many people "dread" Christmas, because they put money before family. I'm not a religious person, but I do celebrate Christmas. This year my son (under 5) asked Santa for a single hot wheel. When Santa asked him if that was it, he said, if you have two, then I'll take two. He's grateful for anything and everything he has, because he has parents and a family that care for him and want to spend it with him, and not to spend it on him. Only when more people do this will we get to reclaim the month of November from being "the month before Christmas" and claim its duly title of the Month to give thanks for giving.

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  • Christine in FFNovember 26, 2011 - 12:02 pm

    He's only 5. He's too young to know what else is out there in the real world. Give him time and he'll be right there with the other teens asking for phones, ipads, laptops,namebrand clothes and shoes, etc. JUST SAY NO! LOL!

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  • Mr. Green ValleyNovember 26, 2011 - 12:17 pm

    It's up to the parent to teach their kids the difference between a need and a want, and fact vs fable. I'm not saying all he's getting is 2 hot wheels, but the fact is humility at a young age, will become humility as a young adult. If I wasn't in the position to buy him things, then yes, that's all he'd be getting along with a lesson of life. My family is lucky that we're in a position to be able to give gifts, and to give more to others than to receive. We could easily spend ourselves into the position to not be as fortunate, but then I'd be replying to this on an iPad2, while my son was playing some downloaded app on an old iPad1 while watching movies on a 60" flat screen. Where's the family in that? $8 from target, you get a great board game (scrabble even for my son is fun). Just saying, people need to prioritize their spending, and buy within their means. How much better would our economy be if people understood money?

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  • ArtimusNovember 26, 2011 - 12:35 pm

    Good going Mr. Green Valley, it sounds like you are doing a great job instilling good values in your child; he sounds like a cool guy. There is old fable; and I hope you don't mind that involves having an eye for many things in life. For some people they only have an eye for things that will serve or satisfy them and others have might have an eye for material wealth and others might have an eye for positions of power or elite. But the fable says that a person who as an eye for the less fortunate or those in need are people of value. Keep up the good work.

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  • Christine in FFNovember 26, 2011 - 4:32 pm

    Agreed Mr. GV! Need vs.Want~ very hard for people to understand. My boys are teens and even though they have been taught to be frugal (they call me cheap~ I prefer frugal, hehe), I still have to ask them sometimes, "do you need it?" They would love to have a new flat screen tv. I have a 36 inch analog, yes, analog, tv. I refuse to buy a flatscreen just because they "want" one. I will not buy a new tv until this one is broke. Just one of many lessons their learning when it comes to spending wisely. Hopefully, as adults, they'll take these lessons and use them. Have a Merry Christmas!

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  • Mr. Green ValleyNovember 26, 2011 - 4:44 pm

    You both have a great holiday. Also, it is to note, when it comes to finances it's really up to the parents. Just remember, the kids are taught very little, it anything, at a middle or high school level for finance. But yet, when they are 18 (and possibly still in High School) they are getting Credit Card offers in the mail. This is where the problem starts, but it doesn't end until much later when they finally get control of the debt (if ever). watching the series "Money as Debt", reading "Rich Dad, Poor Dad", "Dollar Crisis", "Intelligent Investor" and several others have kept me on my feet. Most importantly, I was raised by my parents who originally had very little, and was taught the value of a dollar, even though not too much is to be had with a dollar. To all the parents out there that can afford more than 5 toys for their kids, just remember there are many of kids that haven't felt, and may never feel the love of a family, and the joys of opening a single present on Christmas. I challenge ANYONE reading this with a kid that's 3 - 8 to bring your kids to a store, have them pick out a toy, purchase the toy and bring them to a "Toys for Tots" booth (preferably one that's staffed with military professionals) and have your kid give them the toy. The praise and thank you's give to your kid directly from those mean a whole lot more, then just donating a gift, and it means even more to the individual receiving it. We've done it since my son was 1, and something so small goes a long way for everyone involved. It's also a lesson they will not soon forget, I know this because my son asks every year, when we're going to buy a present for the kids that don't have any. You look at the way we live now, vs. the way the people that are 60 lived them, you have to imagine, would the economy be in the position it is in now, if we just said "No" to the big screen TV's, un-needed fancy gadgets, and the hundreds of games to go with the gaming consoles that are soon becoming families past times? I doubt it!.

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  • SavetheRepublicNovember 26, 2011 - 4:48 pm


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  • GordonNovember 26, 2011 - 8:43 pm

    It's all about wanting what you have, not having what you want. Merry Christmas all.

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  • Christine in FFNovember 26, 2011 - 9:15 pm

    Well said Gordon!

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