Black Friday bonanza

Finding a parking spot was the biggest challenge

Staff photo by Adam Urquhart Shoppers make their way through both floors of the Pheasant Lane Mall looking for the best deals on Black Friday.

NASHUA – Black Friday brought out many eager shoppers, including night owls, early birds and those staking out stores the entire day to take advantage of a variety of special holiday sales.

People from near and far poured into Pheasant Lane Mall and Merrimack Premium Outlets Friday to see how much they could save.

“Black Friday is a time we look forward to for the best deals. We see full parking lots and bags,” said Aylin Felch, director of marketing and business development at Merrimack Premium Outlets.

She thinks a lot of people enjoy coming out for just the experience, bu many really do get into the sales and many special deals.

“It’s fun to do after Thanksgiving. People are getting into the spirit of the holidays out there,” Felch said.

She said people are having lots of fun and that the consumers are looking for savings wherever they can get them.

“For us, it’s exciting seeing the cars, bags and shoppers,” Felch said.

The outlets had vehicles frantically looping the rows of parking spaces searching to find an open spot. Crowds congested the outdoor corridors as

people waited in line to enter some stores, while others carried bags out to their cars before heading back for more shopping.

Pheasant Lane Mall had a similar outpouring of people flooding the parking lots to walk around the mall.

One shopper at the mall said he hadn’t realized it was Black Friday when he and his family showed up to have their annual family picture taken.

After realizing what day it was, he said he wanted to look into getting a new television.

“I tried getting into Best Buy but the parking was full,” Tim Knittel said.

Indeed it was. The popular electronics store opened at 5 p.m. Thanksgiving Day. A line, which stretched up to the Savers parking lot could be seen well after 7 p.m. The store’s parking lot was so full, many were dropping off loved ones and friends on the highway and parking elsewhere. Once inside, the store was so crowded that it took some more than two hours to weave through the checkout line, which started in the back of the store near the kitchen appliances.

Once all was said and done, several thousand people battled the long lines at Best Buy, which closed at 1 a.m.

Many experienced that same trouble when driving through the parking lots of the mall.

Knittel said it was his first time out Black Friday shopping, and was expecting people to be grumpy, but said, “People seem friendly, it’s not bad.”

Although it was his first time out shopping during the annual retail rampage that Black Friday brings, one woman met up with a group of friends for their traditional shopping spree.

Doreen Bourassa goes Black Friday shopping every year and said she came out to the mall at 6 a.m. Friday.

She said she’ll break for lunch and then be back out there for a total of at least 12 hours.

“Every year I go with my girlfriends and their daughters. It’s a great tradition, we’ve been doing it for 25 years,” Bourassa said.

In Amherst, stores were equally as busy. Walmart had an overflowing parking lot, as well, but inside, lines moved smoothly. One store clerk said Thursday night they were trying a different system. Shoppers were permitted to choose the items they wanted starting before 4:30 p.m., but those taking advantage of Black Friday deals were not permitted to check out until 6 p.m.

Once at the checkout, lines moved smoothly, with no backup or delays.

Whether carrying on a tradition or testing things out for the first time, many shoppers took to area stores to get the holiday shopping season underway.

Despite some long lines and delays at certain locations, no issues or problems were reported, making it a truly happy beginning to the

Christmas season.

Adam Urquhart can be reached at 594-1206 or