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 Thursday, April 24, the 114th day of 2014. There are 251 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: We learn that it is a contemplation to start a paper mill in Rock Island during the summer by a gentleman from the East. 1889 -- 125 years ago: The gates of Oklahoma were swung open at noon today, and a throng of more than 30,000 settlers started over its soil. 1914 -- 100 years ago: The Iowa Coliseum Co. was incorporated with $40,000 capital and planned a building on 4th Street between Warren and Green streets in Davenport. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Plans are being discussed for resurfacing the streets in the entire downtown district of Rock Island. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Some 45 jobs will be created at J.I. Case Co.'s Rock Island plant in a expansion of operations announced yesterday afternoon at the firm's headquarters in Racine, Wis. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Gardeners and farmers cheered, but not all Quad-Citians found joy Saturday as more than an inch of rain fell on the area. Motorists faced dangerous, rain-slick roads as the water activated grease and grime that had built up during dry weather.