Line outside Best Buy Riverhead

Riverhead is a happening place during the shopping frenzy following the traditional Thanksgiving festivities.

Some chain retailers, like Wal-Mart, have been open since 7 a.m. Thursday and won’t shut their doors until midnight tonight. Others, like Toys R Us, opened at 10 p.m., or like Tanger Outlets, at the stroke of midnight. Still others, like Target and Best Buy, didn’t open up till 4 or 5 in the morning.

But the shoppers came early, lining up outside hours before stores opened, in spite of the rain and chilly air.

And they came from all over the region, from NYC east to Montauk.

Even though the same stores exist closer to home, said Jane Willow of Rockville Centre, she comes shopping in Riverhead because the lines aren’t as long here, she said.

1126_best_buy_staffMost came in pursuit of a specific bargain — from a flat-screen TV or a video game system, to digital cameras and laptop computers. Others bargain-hunters said they didn’t have anything particular in mind.

Still others came just to check it out. Sean Brewer, 20, of Shelter Island, spent the night in Riverhead with his 16-year-old brother “just for the experience.”

“They don’t have anything like this on Shelter Island,” Brewer said.

“I had never been to Black Friday before, and I wanted to see what it was like,” he said. After deciding before midnight that Tanger Outlets was “way too crowded” he and his brother headed to Best Buy, where they got in line at about 3 a.m. The line wrapped around the three sides of the building, winding all the way to the back of the store. They were in the second group of 75 customers to gain entry, Brewer said.

Best Buy store personnel controlled the number of people entering the store, limiting it to groups of 50 or 75 at a time, said one Best Buy staffer standing outside dressed in yellow rain gear and armed with a walkie-talkie.

Best Buy bargain hunterWhen Target opened its doors at 4 a.m., they let everyone in all at once, according to Rob Stromski, of Jamesport, who arrived at Best Buy at about 5:30 in pursuit of a Play Station 3 game system.

The father of three young children, Stromski said he and his wife Keri had shopped at Toys R Us Thursday night until about 11:30, went home for a few hours sleep and were back out and in line at Target before it opened.

“It’s worth it,” Stromski said of his nearly all-night adventure. “There really are a lot of great deals. We saved hundreds of dollars and pretty much finished up all of our Christmas shopping in one night,” he said.

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