Shoppers Hunt for Sales at Hamilton Mall

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Starting at 6 a.m Friday morning, shoppers flooded the Hamilton Mall to take advantage of Black Friday sales and to get a head start on their holiday shopping.

“Last year, it was crazy at Walmart, so I thought it was going to be just as crazy here,” said Jayani Schafle of Northfield. “But it’s getting there.” 

The mall welcomed in about 200 eager shoppers when they opened at the crack of dawn, hunting for the best holiday deals and taking advantage of giveaways.

“Everyone comes here as a family," said Rachel Wheeler, marketing coordinator for the Hamilton Mall. "It’s really a community environment, so beyond just retail shopping we have everything you need to keep you busy all day long.” 

Staff at the Hamilton Mall were giving away gift cards and concert tickets to a few lucky shoppers, while families waited in line to get their photos taken with Santa. 

Although there were events happening all around the building, that didn’t stop customers from finding bargains.

“Not bad,” said Elizabeth Pratts of Hammonton, regarding prices. “Pretty good, yes, really good sales.” 

And for others, family time was the focus for this year’s shopping spree.

“Going around with her because she lives far away and it’s nice seeing her,” said Emma Horner of Ventnor, describing how fun it is shopping with her cousin. “I just don’t like waking up.” 

“My least favorite part is I know what I’m getting for Christmas,” said Emily Gilmer of Lumberton. “But other than that, it’s fun, we get to spend time with our family.” 

For some of the retail locations, if you snooze, you lose. 

Related: 'Secret Santa' Foots Bill for 10K of Layaway Items at Toys 'R' Us

But some shoppers said sleeping in gave them shorter lines.

“Actually, I’m really surprised how empty it is because we started late,” said Jackie Pratts of Hammonton. "So when we got here, everyone was gone.” 

This year, additional security intertwined with the crowds.

After the shooting that happened last year in the mall’s parking lot - after hours - extra precautions were taken.

“Last year’s event was very unfortunate," said Wheeler, "but at Hamilton Mall we have security coverage that is top notch, around the clock, 24 hours a day. 

“And for the Black Friday weekend, we also have police officers on [the] property to enforce that safe shopping environment.” 

An environment that says "'tis the season for shopping and sales."

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