It is 7:56 p.m. on a Thanksgiving Thursday, and Kmart/Rock Island manager Scott Jorgensen is calmly addressing his staff.
He thanks it for its effort, reminds it about serving the customer and preps it for its second opening of the day.
As the store clock strikes 8, the Kmart doors open, and in an orderly fashion, hundreds of customers, many waiting in line three-plus hours, file into the store.There is no running, no screaming, no stampedes. Black Friday's shift to Thanksgiving Thursday appears to be a success.
"We had a great day with our opening at 6 (a.m.),'' Mr. Jorgensen said. "This opening is great and we'll be here until 3 a.m. Then back at 5 a.m. Friday (today). We have had great specials that have drawn tremendous interest. The customers have been great about everything.''
Kmart stores joined Sears, Walmart and Toys R Us outlets opening at 8 Thursday. Target stores opened at 9. SouthPark and NorthPark Malls and Best Buy, opened at midnight on Thursday, respectively. Most were exploring the idea of consumers jumping on the shopping bandwagon on Thanksgiving and not the traditional day after.
"What a great idea,'' 21-year-old Karly Mizlo said, pointing to the 32-inch television she purchased at the Rock Island Kmart. Ms. Mizlo and boyfriend, Alex Dorman, both of Rock Island, waited more than three hours on Thursday to purchase one of the featured items on special at the local department store. "People working want to be here, people shopping want to be here, so it's good for everyone. I'm glad for the change. I bought a great TV for $100.''
Ms. Mizlo said she has played the Black Friday shopping game with her mother, Lori, but prefers a Thanksgiving start to the holiday shopping season.
"It's a relaxed atmosphere,'' she said. "People waited, were nice to each other and were nice when they were in the store. This works better.''
Two miles to the east of the Rock Island Kmart, Janet Bleuer and her daughter, Amy Reesen, sat comfortably in lawn chairs.
Like hundreds of others, the pair were patiently waiting for the Moline Toys R Us store to open. Their goal was a dancing Mickey Mouse, an electronic item or two, and assorted other items designed for children.
'"Great idea to open on Thanksgiving,'' Ms. Bleuer, of Rock Island, said. "I am a CNA and my Friday is filled. I don't have the chance to chase bargains like everyone else on Black Friday, so this is wonderful.''
Ms. Reesen, of Milan, said her family adjusted its Thanksgiving schedule, completing its meal together at 3 p.m. From there, family members were dispatched to local shopping outlets with a goal of arriving by 4 p.m.
"We have people all over the place,'' Ms. Reesen said. "Kmart, Target, places where we there are items we know won't be there if we go shopping on Friday (today). This really has been hassle-free.''
Today is Friday, Aug. 22, the 234th day of 2014. There are 131 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: The ferry boat, Rock Island, having been put in good order at the boat yard is now making her regular trips, much to the gratification of those who have to cross the river. 1889 -- 125 years ago: W.J. Gamble, for many years superintendent of the Moline & Rock Island railway, leased the Fourth Avenue Hotel and renovated and refurnished it throughout. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Pending the building of new public schools or additions to the present ones to provide adequate room for all the children, the board of education decided that pupils younger than 6 years old would not be accepted in Rock Island schools. 1939 -- 75 years ago: The fifth annual New Windsor Fair and Horse show, which has been delayed for two days because of unfavorable weather, got off to a new start last night. The parade was held this morning. 1964 -- 50 years ago: The Rock Island County Fair and Rodeo will celebrate its silver anniversary this year. The fair opens Tuesday and will run through Saturday and offers entertainment and activity for young and old. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Earl Hanson School, Rock Island, joins the Program to Assist Latch Key Student, which aids working parents. PALS is a before and after school program for grades 1-6 in certain Rock Island public and private schools.