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 Saturday, Sept. 20, the 263rd day of 2014. There are 102 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: Recruits can get $500 by enlisting now. Lt Jobe has a recruiting office on Illinois Street. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Superintendent Schnitger formally inaugurated the Rock Island and Davenport Railway Line of the Holmes system by putting on four cars to start. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Wires of the defunct Union Electric Co. are being removed by city electricians. 1939 -- 75 years ago: The Bishop Hill softball team won the championship in WHB"S Mississippi Valley tournament at Douglas Park. 1964 -- 50 years ago: A boom in apartment construction has hit Rock Island, with approximately 300 units either in or near the construction stage or due for an early rezoning decision. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Members of the Bi-State Metropolitan Planning Commission are hoping to revive their push for a new $70 million four-lane bridge spanning the Mississippi River.