SKOWHEGAN — Shoppers in Skowhegan were hitting up the sales at Walmart Friday while small businesses were busy preparing for a promotion of local shops this weekend.
“There are some really good deals. It was busy from midnight to 1:30 this morning and then we had a steady flow. It wasn’t that crazy again until 9 a.m. this morning,” said Sheri Crowe, 40, a cashier at the Skowhegan Walmart.
Crowe, who lives in Skowhegan and arrived at work at 4 a.m. Friday, said all Walmart’s registers were open overnight even though for the first two hours of her shift she only had four customers.
When she got off work at 9:30 a.m. she went straight to the shelves.
“TVs and laptops seem to be the big items this year. There were some really good deals on movies for 96 cents and two dollars though and I got those for presents,” she said, adding that she would probably be out shopping again this afternoon after going home for a nap.
Other shoppers also said that deals on electronics got them out of bed Friday, or in the case of some, kept them up all night.
Angela Gordon, 43, of Cornville, said she started shopping at 9:30 Thursday night.
“I started last night in Augusta and went to Sears and Target, then K-Mart and Walmart in Waterville. I went home for a quick nap and then went to the Tractor Supply store and came here this morning,” she said as she left Walmart Friday morning around 10 a.m. with a shopping cart piled high.
The best deals she said were on an iPod and a 50-inch television that she got at Target.
“I’m exhausted. I’m ready to go home and get some rest,” she said.
In Farmington, Olympia Sports employee Chris Malone, 19, said he expected the store to be busy the rest of the day.
“It’s usually just a swarm of people on Black Friday,” he said.
Meanwhile, local retailers were preparing for Small Business Saturday, a response to Black Friday and Cyber Monday promoted by American Express.
Chris Ellis, the owner of Mooseville gift shop in Farmington, said that small towns like Farmington get the Black Friday rush later after the residents have been to some of the bigger retailers.
“They’ll start filtering in later after they go to the big-buck stores in the city,” he said.
Leah Donoghue, 33, the owner of Kid Friendly, a clothing store for kids and teens on Water Street in Skowhegan, agreed.
“I didn’t really expect anything today,” she said. “Everyone is off and they drive to Augusta or go to Walmart.”
Donoghue said she was focusing on preparing for Saturday, when she will run a 10 percent-off the entire store sale, have snacks for kids and set up a table for them to make Christmas cards to send to soldiers overseas.
Just a few shops away, photographer and jewelry designer Rebecca Norling, 32, said that after being open just an hour, she had been steadily busy Friday morning at the River Roads Artisans Gallery, an artists-owned co-op that sells clothing, painting and photography, wool mittens and wooden frames, among other things.
“We don’t have any Black Friday deals but we are excited for Small Business Saturday. That’s our angle,” she said.
Rachel Ohm — 612-2368