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Friday, Oct 20, 2017
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Black Friday shoppers find sales, civility

WESLEY CHAPEL - Elaine Rollock offered a good reason why she and granddaughter Alana Rollock didn't take advantage of pre-Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving Day. "We were too full to move," she said. The grandmother/granddaughter shopping team wasted no time Friday, though, as they hit the stores by 6 a.m., first with a stop at Beall's on Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, then heading to The Shops at Wiregrass. There they joined what proved to be a steady, but not overwhelming, crowd of shoppers seeking bargains as the Christmas gift-buying season launched.
The Rollocks planned their day partly by checking out newspaper advertisements and also by searching the Internet. They took advantage of emails that many stores send to inform customers of sale items. "That's been a good way to communicate this year," Alana Rollock said. Teen pals Brooke Silvest and Cassidy Place, both 16, said they scoured the store emails, too. Silvest said she also was checking in with her mother by telephone while deciding what to buy. The two girls, who attend different high schools in Land O' Lakes but play on the same club soccer team, had been up since 5 a.m. After a few hours of shopping, they sat down to rest at one of the outdoor tables at The Shops at Wiregrass. Their bags nearly covered the table. Silvest said they considered venturing out Thursday night, but decided it would be "a little too crazy." Black Friday proved to be not crazy at all, they said. Not every shopper was sifting through store emails or plotting each move with Internet assistance. Laurie Dahlen, shopping with her 14-year-old daughter, Delainey, said they were more or less winging it, with no grand scheme in mind. "I'm not one of those professional Black Friday shoppers," Dahlen said. "I had to beg her to come out today," Delainey said. Delainey just had finished shopping at Hollister Co., a clothing store catering to young people, and said that experience had been hectic. Overall, though, the Dahlens didn't encounter too much Black Friday shopping stress. "I haven't seen any mean people," Laurie Dahlen said. "Everybody's been nice." Members of a new church set to open in January took advantage of the Black Friday crowd at The Shops at Wiregrass to spread the word about their church. Bay Chapel will open Jan. 27 at Bartels Middle School on Imperial Oaks Boulevard in Tampa, just south of the Pasco County line. The church members handed out bags filled with coupons and advertisements from stores, gave balloons to children and promoted the church website, www.baychapel.com. "It's great advertising for us," said Wes Morris, the church's pastor.

rblair@tampatrib.com (813) 371-1853 Twitter: @RBlairTBO

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