More Rock Hill stores opening on Thanksgiving afternoon provided extended and largely stress-free shopping on Thursday.
The Rock Hill Galleria opened for the first time on Thanksgiving, welcoming customers from 6 p.m. until midnight. Mall anchors Sears, J.C. Penney and Belk had long lines waiting for them to open, with J.C. Penney opening an hour before the mall.
Next door, a long line of cars snaked around Walmart as shoppers waited to pick up large-ticket items at the rear of the store.
Kohl’s, Best Buy and Target were among the other merchants along Dave Lyle Boulevard that opened on Thanksgiving.
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Shopper Larry Lovett of Chester got his holiday shopping done in about 20 minutes. On his list: bicycles, a Barbie house and iPads. Between Walmart and the stores in the mall, everything was checked off.
“It was a great day,” Lovett said. “You don’t have to fight all the crowds.”
Most shoppers reported a polite and pleasant experience – a change from some Black Friday sales, where shoppers push and shove over limited inventory.
“I’ve shopped times when people would grab, pull and scratch you to get a deal,” said Lula Canty of Charlotte, who came to the Galleria to shop with Pat Ware, a Fort Mill kindergarten teacher. Shoppers and the staff at Belk were the most friendly, Canty said.
One clerk was so good, “you would tell him what you wanted and, like magic, he was back with the shoes in the size you needed,” Canty said. She and Ware left the mall with large shopping bags filled with shoes that sold for $19.99 a pair.
Many people who traditionally shop on Black Friday said they were extending their holiday shopping hours by getting out Thursday. Others said they were less likely to shop on Friday. Most said they celebrated the holiday beforehand, getting their fill of family favorites during lunch prior to shopping.
“It was joyful, peaceful and everyone was having fun,” said Randy Miller of Greenwood, who came to Rock Hill to visit his daughter, Sheneka Miller. “There was the right mix of hectic and fun.”
Some traditions continued, such as staying all night at Best Buy to get deals on big-screen televisions.
Dexter Myles and Ladaisha Pettus, recently married and preparing to celebrate their first Christmas together, arrived about 9 p.m. Wednesday to start the line outside Best Buy. They were coached by Black Friday veteran shoppers Jeff Morgan and his family and Tyronne Howze, who have lined up as many as 30 hours before Best Buy opens to get a spot at the head of the line.
This year, Howze arrived at 6:15 a.m. Thursday to buy a 50-inch television.
“I could do this in my sleep,” he said.
Myles also was there to buy a television, but he couldn’t loiter. After making his purchase, Myles had to get to work at Kohl’s, which opened its doors to shoppers at 6 p.m.