Yorkers start Black Friday on Thanksgiving

Christopher Dornblaser
  • Dozens of locals lined the front of Toys R Us in West Manchester Township Thursday.
  • A few had waited a couple of hours to get in.
  • The York Galleria is closed, but the anchor stores, Bon-Ton, Boscov's and Sears, opened Thanksgiving.

On Thursday afternoon, Brittany Anderson, of Wellsville, was first in line at Toys R Us in West Manchester Township. She had been there for about three hours, all in anticipation for the 5 p.m. opening, when shoppers could get their first shot at Black Friday deals.

She was one of dozens of people who lined the front of the store.

For Anderson, the shopping experience, specifically at Toys R Us, has been a tradition each Thanksgiving.

"I always start here," she said.

Brtittany Anderson, right, of Dillsburg, one of the first in line when doors opened at 5:00PM, asks Department Supervisor Mitze Thomas for assistance as she shops for her two children at Toys "R" Us in West Manchester Township, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Black Friday: Anderson was there to get some discounted toys for the holiday season, and it was one of several stops she would make that night. She had planned to go to Wal-Mart and Target, where their deals started at 6 p.m.

"I'll go out (Black Friday), too," she said. For her, the shopping experience was part of the day, one where she and her family ate earlier, specifically to get to the stores.

"We'll be out pretty late," Anderson said.

Not too far down the line were Laura and Kelly Wetzel and their daughter Alex, all of Red Lion. Like Anderson, the Wetzels usually do their Black Friday shopping the day of Thanksgiving and eat their holiday meal earlier to accommodate  it.

The Wetzels try to get what they can beforehand and make use of the best deals on Black Friday. The two have four children, and they were looking to buy toys for them.

"If you know what you're getting ... you don't really deal with the craziness," Kelly Wetzel said.

He said they were planning on getting smaller items, which meant they didn't have to deal with as much hassle. Kelly Wetzel said they also were planning to go to Kohl's and Wal-Mart and that would most likely be all the shopping they would have to do. They said they didn't plan to go out shopping Friday.

Closer to the front of the line sat Katrina Cartagena, of Spring Grove. Unlike the Wetzels and Anderson, she had not been out to shop on Thanksgiving for many years. This year, she set up shop in line with her own fold-up chair and waited for nearly two hours. She was there to get a hoverboard for her son.

York Galleria closed for Thanksgiving

"It's like $100 off," she said. Cartagena said she hadn't seen it that cheap anywhere online, and she was determined to get it. She said that was all she intended to buy, and she would do the rest of her shopping Friday, online.

Employees at the store gave Cartagena a ticket in line for her to buy a hoverboard when she went in.

"I'm getting one, for sure," she said.

Once the doors opened, shoppers flooded the store in search of the best deals. About a half hour after the store opened, people still lined the front of the entrance, waiting to get in.

The West Manchester location will be open until 11 p.m. Friday.

Waiting until Friday: While Toys R Us and many other stores opened on Thanksgiving, the York Galleria  opted not to open that day for the first time in many years. Previously the mall had opened at 6 p.m. Thanksgiving Day, but this year it will open at 6 a.m. Friday. The president and CEO of CBL & Associates Properties, the mall’s owner, explained the decision in a letter.

"Over the last few years, we’ve watched as the magic of Black Friday has been diminished by an earlier start to the holiday shopping season," Stephen Lebovitz wrote in his letter. "Gone are the days of waking before dawn to hunt for deals and doorbusters. Well, not this year.

"We want you to spend Thanksgiving with family and friends and come fresh and excited to spend Black Friday with us. So enjoy that extra plate of pie at dinner, take a long afternoon nap, set your alarm and wake up with us to bring back the magic of Black Friday."

Even though the mall is closed, the anchor stores, Bon-Ton, Boscov's and Sears, opened Thursday, according to their websites.

• Bon-Ton is open from 6 p.m. Thursday until 11 p.m. Friday.

• Boscov's is open from 6 p.m. Thursday until 1 a.m. will reopen from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. Friday.

• Sears is open from 6 p.m. until midnight Thursday, and the store will re-open at 5 a.m. Friday until 10 p.m.

A few other stores in York County opened Thursday night for those who wanted to get first dibs on the deals. According to their websites, the following stores opened Thanksgiving night:

• Best Buy opened from 5 p.m. Thursday until 1 a.m. Doors open again at 8 a.m. Friday.

• Dick's Sporting Goods opened at 6 p.m. and closes at midnight. Doors open again 5 a.m. Friday.

• Kmart opened 6 a.m. Thanksgiving Day and will remain open until 10 p.m. Friday.

• Kohl's opened at 6 p.m. and will be open until midnight Friday.

• Target opened 6 p.m. Thursday and will close 10 p.m. Friday.

• Wal-Mart deals started at 6 p.m. Thursday

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at@YDDornblaser.