Black Friday deals advertised ahead of time had shoppers lined up as early as closing time Wednesday in Conway, one retailer reported.
Others stated that they saw longer lines than in 2010, and none reported violent incidents between shoppers.
Best Buy store manager Kelly Beard said that employees saw one man set up camp outside the store’s door at Elsinger Boulevard at 10 p.m. Wednesday in anticipation of Friday’s deals.
The store opened at midnight Friday, and crowds were strong at 7 a.m.
Beard said that Thursday evening brought the longest line she had seen at the location.
"We left a little after midnight on Thursday and our line had wrapped around the building by the afternoon. It went the entire length of the building toward Home Depot and just about to their front door this morning," Beard said.
She said that multiple times the store stopped allowing customers to enter once the business reached capacity at 750 people.
"We had longer lines than expected, the longest we’ve seen at this store. We hit our capacity multiple times and we stopped letting people in because the lines were too long. We couldn’t get people in line to get them checked out."
Beard reported "good spirits" at the store, with no incidents between customers or staff members.
"On the store’s part we executed this very well. There was no stampede, no one got trampled. We tried to minimize that by ticketing extremely popular items. We did that at around 11 o’clock last night," said Beard.
Beard said that televisions were the most popular among store items, and customers in line for a specific item were issued tickets based on availability.
"This way we could tell people if all of the product they were looking for was reserved or if we were sold out. They then had the option to wait for something else or go somewhere else. Many of them were able to come in and get several other items they wanted even if they didn’t get that one," she said.
Overall, Beard said that Black Friday at the store was "as organized as it could be."
Ace Haynes Hardware on Prince Street opened its doors an hour early for deals Friday at 7 a.m.
Manager Mary Pollock said that extra staff members were on-hand Friday to handle more customers than usual.
She also reported good spirits and "good moods."
"There was definitely an increase. It has been a good morning. We had extra staff on hand today with a lot of helpful people," Pollock said.
Popular items were saw horses and Craftsman tools, which the store ran specials on.
Similar deals and specials at Ace will continue Saturday as well at regular store hours, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Lowe’s Home Improvement at Highway 64 West reported a line twice as long as that of in 2010.
Store manager Gary Stillwell said that before doors opened at 5 a.m., customers were lining the building ready to get popular items like fire pits, Shop Vacs and heaters.
"Strong traffic" continued through the morning, he said.
Two customers were fading at Best Buy at 7 a.m. on Friday, after they said they had been shopping since about 10 p.m. Thursday.
Buffy Poff and Kristen O’Brien said that they left their house at 9:40 p.m. the night before.
O’Brien said that Black Friday shopping was a family tradition that followed Thanksgiving. Poff added that she was not as impressed with specials this year as with last year’s prices. The two were shopping for toys to be given as Christmas presents.
Eduardo and Maricella Duran were evidently unopposed to prices at Best Buy Friday. The husband and wife pushed a cart at capacity to the front registers bearing many handheld electronics and accessories.
(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)