By Ron VandenBoom
The day after Thanksgiving is traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year and Havre found itself to be no exception to the rule as large crowds lined up at Big Kmart and at Herberger's Friday to take advantage of holiday bargains.
More than 100 early-bird shoppers stood waiting at Herberger's front door Friday at 7 a.m. when Gary Peterson, manager of the local Herberger's slid back the doors for the Second Annual Cracker Jack of a Sale day.
"We had some great traffic right at 7 a.m.," Peterson said. "We had a big line of traffic at both doors. It was really good right away."
Karen Bohn, assistant manager at Herberger's, stood at the front door handing out bags of Cracker Jacks to each customer entering the store. Each bag contained some kind of a prize or discount shopping coupon.
Bohn was excited about having given away a $1,000 shopping spree.
Kris Ness, of Havre, won the large corporate shopping spree and according to Peterson, she has already placed part of her winnings to the side.
Other prizes included 15-30 percent discounts on purchases, a possible $500 shopping spree, or a grand prize of a $500 diamond ring.
They have also given away a $100 gift certificate, Bohn said.
The sale lasted until 10 a.m.
Jane Hedstrom arrived at Herberger's about 7:10 Friday morning, she said.
"It's all over at the counter," she said, pointing in the direction of all her purchases. "There's a nice gal over there and she just holds on to everything for me."
Hedstrom said she had brought a list with her when she came shopping and hoped to get everything she needed for her family of three kids and her husband today.
"I want to," she said. "I have my sister to help me."
Steve Harr, the manager of the local Big Kmart, said there were about 50 customers stand ing outside the store when they opened at 6 a.m., but that Thanksgiving day was, he thought, busier than today.
"We had a tremendous day yesterday," he said. "For being open on Thanksgiving we did very good business."
Today Kmart featured a five-hour sale that started at 6 a.m. and would last until 11 a.m.
"We have 20 percent off on all toys," he said. "That's the big one today."
Kmart also featured a buy one, get one free on jeans and also on footwear.
Unlike previous years, there were no prize packets or coupons handed out at the door this year, Harr said. This year they concentrated more saving into the merchandise."
Kmart did however offer free coffee and cookies to their patrons.
Harr said that on Thanksgiving they had a special price on a 19-inch TV for less than $100.
"We sold almost 200 of those within two hours," he said.
He added that electronics were looking very strong this year with DVDs doing very well. Add to the list Pokemon Monopoly, the traditional Barbie, and baby Ferbys, doing well.
He said he felt Kmart would continue to do more that kind of a thing instead of doing something free.
Daryl Schultz was one of the few male shoppers who braved the early morning crowds at Kmart Friday.
"It was too cold to take my daughter hunting," he said, when asked what brought him to Kmart Friday morning. "So I went shopping instead."
Schultz said he needed to get some things for his daughter and some things for his wife.
He added that in his case the sales had nothing to do with his choice to go shopping and that it was more the fact that he had the day off of work that prompted the visit.
But he said he wouldn't be adverse to taking advantage to one of the sales if he saw something he wanted.