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Shoppers turn out for Black Friday

Well after the initial rush died down, customers waited patiently for their turn to browse at the Coach outlet store. The mall
Well after the initial rush died down, customers waited patiently for their turn to browse at the Coach outlet store. The mall's general manager attributed the line to Coach's brand popularity.
— image credit: Danielle Szulczewski

MARYSVILLE — The shoppers descended upon Marysville area stores in waves.

The first wave of customers on Black Friday, traditionally one of the biggest shopping days of the year, hit Seattle Premium Outlets at midnight as the mall's dozens of stores opened to the masses.

"It was elbow to elbow here," said mall general manager Mark Johnson. "There's no way to say if there was more or less [shoppers]," he added, unable to compare the mall's turnout at midnight versus Black Fridays of past years in light of the poor economic outlook making daily headlines.

But almost eight hours later, shoppers were still toting bags through the outdoor mall, with about 30 waiting behind a velvet rope to get into the Coach outlet store. A woman who identified herself as Connie was among those waiting in line to enter.

"I've already been to Macy's," she said, adding she wasn't looking for a particular item inside. "We're just going to see if there's any good deals."

Shortly before 5 a.m., the crowd awaiting Best Buy's opening wrapped from the store's entrance and around two sides of neighboring store Linens 'n' Things. But as loss prevention employees enforced the line and counted customers when the doors opened, they told onlookers they didn't expect to keep anyone waiting outside like they had in years past. Within minutes of the store opening, the earliest customers exited, carrying 32-inch LCD televisions on carts and the popular video game title "Guitar Hero" under their arms.

The shopping spirit even extended to smaller local businesses like Book Works. Customers were waiting outside the door when owner Mary Burns opened the store at 9:30 a.m.

"I was surprised people came this early because they don't usually," Burns said. Popular items at her bookstore have included the "Twilight" series, which made its silver screen debut last week. She's also expecting traffic for a "Star Wars" book and "Dewey," a book about a cat that lives in a library.

"I think I have more people buying books because if things are tight, why not get something lasting?" she said.

Johnson added that a good value seems to be on shoppers' minds this year.

"I think the bargain-conscious shopper — which we all are right now — is drawn to outlet shopping," he said.

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