Black Friday frenzy begins

LIHUE — On the morning after Thanksgiving, the nation experiences the biggest shopping spree of the year, with legions of shoppers cramming stores and looking for exceptional deals.

It’s not different on Kauai, where most big-box stores and the island’s largest mall join the bandwagon. And for some, the shopping frenzy starts today.

Kmart will hold four back-to-back special slots during three straight days. Today, they’ll offer specials from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., and again from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. On Friday and Saturday, specials will run from 5 to 11 a.m.

“I think we’re all putting our money on Black Friday,” said Supervisor Brooke Basuel, as far as the busiest day.

“I’ll be here all night and morning,” she said of Thanksgiving night and Black Friday.

Walmart will be open from 6 a.m. today until midnight Friday. Besides several Black Friday deals, Walmart is repeating last year’s One-Hour Guarantee, an event that guarantees customers select items during a one-hour period, according to a company press release.

Those events will roll at 6 and 8 p.m. today; and again at 8 a.m. Friday. Last year, they had three items available during those special events; this year they bumped it to 21 items.

For the first time, the company is introducing a wristband system that allows customers to pick items from the one-hour special before the event kicks off, and then continue shopping for two hours before getting back in line.

Kalaheo resident Mary Ellen Silva said she is trying to find a baby-sitter for two of her granddaughters, so she can buy three iPad minis at Walmart.

“The doors open at 6 (a.m.), but I want to be here at 3,” she said of Thanksgiving Day. “And I hope I make it.”

Richie Ogata, owner of Bamboo Sushi and Grill in Nawiliwili, was shopping at Walmart Wednesday, along with his friend, Chris Rapacon. He said neither he nor Rapacon have any plans to return to the store on Black Friday.

“But his wife will be here, definitely,” Ogata said of his friend’s wife.

Jonell Kaohelaulii, marketing manager at Kukui Grove Center in Lihue, said a few stores will have door-buster deals on Black Friday, but all will have specials all day.

“For those who may not be able to be there right at opening, they will have specials throughout the day to accommodate the shopper,” she said.

Home Depot, behind Kukui Grove, will be closed on Thanksgiving. On Black Friday they will open at 5 a.m. and will offer specials all day.

Costco, next to Home Depot, will also close today and open earlier than normal, at 5 a.m., Friday. But the store is not offering any specials associated with Black Friday, according to a staff member.

Puhi resident Flordelina Agostin said she can’t shop on Black Friday because she is a caregiver for seniors.

“It’s not like I don’t care, I can’t leave them,” she said.

But Agostin may be better off working anyway.

“My kids go, they bought me a TV last year,” she said.

Koloa resident Rochette Dahler said she is planning to spend Friday morning cleaning up the house with her family.

“I’ll probably do mostly online shopping,” said Dahler, adding she might venture out later in the day to go shopping with some of her girlfriends.

Hanalei resident Steve Stitely said he will probably stay home, away from the crowds.

“It’ll be a wreck,” he said of the shopping spree.  

Kaohelaulii said Kukui Grove is the best place to be on Black Friday.

“You park your car once and you can come right in and check out our shops,” she said.

Kukui Grove will treat shoppers to a “special shoppers’ retreat” Friday, by offering complimentary refreshments at 6 a.m., in an area next to Deja Vu.

“We will be serving fresh pastries from Kauai Bakery, and bottled water just to kind refresh our shoppers,” Kaohelaulii said.

Then at 11 a.m., Kukui Grove will host a keiki show featuring Showtime characters, she said.

At Kukui Grove, 11 stores, including Kmart, will be open today, and some will stay open through Friday, including Macy’s, Starbucks and Vitamin World. On Black Friday, many stores will open at midnight and some at dawn. Most stores will remain open until 9 p.m., with some staying open an extra hour.

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