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Massena shoppers celebrate Black Friday, with many starting Thursday night

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MASSENA — Huddled together in a red blanket, Brittany Barney, Jessica Fountaine and Angie Francis waited in line for St. Lawrence Centre to open and Black Friday to officially begin.

While three of the mall’s tenants, Sears, Bon Ton and JC Penney opened at 8 p.m. Thursday, most stores in the mall didn’t open until midnight. But that didn’t stop the Massena trio from arriving at 8:45 p.m. to wait in the bitter cold.

“I bought this blanket because it was way too cold,” Ms. Francis said. “The blanket really helps.”

The three, which included a pair of sisters, Ms. Francis and Ms. Fountaine, said they go Black Friday shopping each year.

The line grew steadily as the midnight opening neared. By 11:30 p.m. it included nearly 90 people.

After an initial rush of at least 200 shoppers entered in the first 15 minutes, St. Lawrence Centre Marketing Manager Ronald J. Patnode said he was happy with what he had seen so far.

“It’s been great,” he said. “Our security told us there were people waiting at the door for a couple of hours now.”

Mr. Patnode said the shoppers appeared ready to have a good time.

“Everybody that has come in has been smiling,” he said.

As the temperature hovered at 19 degrees, more than 150 customers waited outside the two exterior entrances to Bon Ton.

Julie Locey of Cornwall, Ontario, a veteran of the retail holiday, said she usually shops all night. This year she had to work in the morning, but still planned to get in plenty of shopping.

Ms. Locey noted that Canada also celebrates Black Friday.

“They do have it in Canada, but it starts at 7 a.m.,” she said. “I’m going there, too, before I go to work.”

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