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6:39 AM Wed, Nov. 21st

Black Friday draws throngs of old pros and first-timers

Alex Slitz/The Associated Press<br>Tonya Thomas makes her way through the aisles of Best Buy while shopping for deals Friday in Bowling Green, Ky.

Alex Slitz/The Associated Press<br>Tonya Thomas makes her way through the aisles of Best Buy while shopping for deals Friday in Bowling Green, Ky.

PRESCOTT - Residents and visitors to the quad-city area had barely finished their Thanksgiving turkey dinners when they began shopping for Black Friday for clothing, appliances and other consumer goods.

They visited big-box stores that opened their doors on Thanksgiving Day, or arrived hours before other stores opened at 12 a.m. Friday to better their chances of finding popular merchandise on sale.

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is a shopping tradition that has been going on for at least 20 years, and is one of the busiest days in the year for retailers nationwide.

Some shoppers locally took part in Black Friday for the first time in their lives, including two people who patronized the Best Buy electronics store near the Prescott Gateway Mall shortly after 12 a.m. Friday.

"It was a great experience. I'm just glad I tried it," Dusti Fishback of Valencia, Calif., said as she waited in line at Best Buy to pay for a digital camera, memory card and camera case.

Fishback, who was visiting her parents in Prescott, said she "always wanted to" shop during Black Friday but did not get around to it.

"I figured (Prescott) is a small town," she said. "At home there would be a lot longer lines."

Fear of long lines discouraged Dustin Alyea, a laborer who lives in Prescott Valley, from taking part in Black Friday in the past. He also joked that being a big guy makes it harder to squeeze through hordes of shoppers.

Referring to his girlfriend, Alyea said, "My old lady wanted me to come with her."

Alyea said he watched football Thursday, arrived at Best Buy at 11:40 p.m. Thursday, and planned to head across Gateway Boulevard to Rue 21 in the mall and to Kohl's in Prescott Valley. He added he was "not really looking" for any merchandise in particular.

He said his experience so far at Black Friday was positive because it had not reflected news media images of shoppers breaking into fights. Prescott police officer Nathan Barto stood inside Best Buy to prevent disturbances.

Parking spaces were elusive at 12:30 a.m. as shoppers piled into the store.

Best Buy shopper Roy Dunham, a housekeeper who lives in Prescott, said he initially waited in line around 9 p.m. Thursday at Best Buy, went across Highway 69 to Walmart to check advertised prices for laptops and notebooks, and headed to Sears before returning to Best Buy after midnight.

"By the time I came around (at Best Buy), everything that I wanted was gone," Dunham said. "I wanted to get a laptop."

Like Best Buy, the Rue 21 clothing store was teeming with customers after 1 a.m. Friday. Customer Kimberly Sotelo, a stay-at-home mom who lives in Prescott Valley, said she had no issue with long lines, and enjoyed shopping on Black Friday, which she has done for four years.

She said she spent more money shopping on Black Friday a year ago because the economy was better.

However, another four-time Black Friday shopper, Linda Sanchez, a Prescott homemaker, said she is better off than a year ago because her husband, Gabriel, found more work.

Sanchez said she started shopping at 6 p.m. Thursday at Walmart.

No lines were visible at the two Walmart stores and Target after 1 a.m. Friday. Some stores did not open until 5 a.m.