Anna Gasca (L), her aunt Margaret Lucero (C) and her mother Nellie Gasca (R) shop at the Westfield Valencia Town Center on Black Friday. Anna started her Black Friday shopping at 11 p.m. Thursday at various locations and as of 1 p.m. Friday still had at least three places on her list to shop. Photo Tom Cruze/For the Signal
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Many Santa Clarita residents refused to hit the snooze button Friday morning as they woke up as early as 4 a.m. to seek out the best Black Friday steals and deals.

Fifty-nine percent of Americans, or 137.4 million people, are expected to shop both in stores and online during Thanksgiving weekend, according to an annual survey by National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

Stacy Charland (L) checks the receipt with her mother Kim Fowler after making "a good deal" at The Children's Place while shopping at the Westfield Valencia Town Center on Black Friday. In the stroller is daughter Lilly. Photo Tom Cruze/For the Signal
Stacy Charland (L) checks the receipt with her mother Kim Fowler after making “a good deal” at The Children’s Place while shopping at the Westfield Valencia Town Center on Black Friday. In the stroller is daughter Lilly. Photo Tom Cruze/For the Signal

However, despite the rush to retailers, many shoppers at the Westfield Valencia Town Center, open all day from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., found stores to be less crowded than in years past.

“It was a lot less crowded this year,” said 17-year-old Maya Botvin who arrived at 6 a.m. with her friend, 17-year-old Klara Zavala.  “We expected it to be crazy but it was a lot less crowded.”

Botvin usually seeks out shopping deals Thanksgiving night, but chose to arrive to the mall when it opened Friday, a choice she said she would not make again.

“It’s not worth it,” she said.  “The only thing I really wanted wasn’t on sale.”

Marie Wiles ordinarily braves the stores Thursday evening as well, but chose to shop online this year and shop at the mall at 6 a.m. Friday.  She noticed that the mall was not as hectic as it had been in previous years.

“I’ve talked to cashiers who have said things have been spread out,” Wiles said.  “But there

Shoppers congregate at the Westfield Valencia Town Center on Black Friday. Photo Tom Cruze/For the Signal
Shoppers congregate at the Westfield Valencia Town Center on Black Friday. Photo Tom Cruze/For the Signal

are lots of good deals.”

Lynette Jackson, who began shopping at 6 a.m. with her daughter, said the smaller crowds were a pleasant surprise.

“It made the shopping experience much nicer,” she said.  “I was actually really successful.”

For others, the bustling department stores and early morning spending was a lot to handle.

Arturo Lopez of Santa Clarita (L) and Roy Morse of Castaic (R) wait for their wives to complete their shopping at the Westfield Valencia Town Center on Black Friday. Photo Tom Cruze/For the Signal
Arturo Lopez of Santa Clarita (L) and Roy Morse of Castaic (R) wait for their wives to complete their shopping at the Westfield Valencia Town Center on Black Friday. Photo Tom Cruze/For the Signal

“It was pretty intense,” said Amanda Vidal, who arrived at the mall in the early morning with her family.  “I can only imagine what it’s going to be like in the coming weeks.”

Many shoppers did shop ‘til they dropped, as they slumped down into comfy chairs and benches scattered throughout Valencia Town Center to rest their feet and their eyes.

“I am ready for bed,” said 16-year-old Caesar Preciado.  “I woke up at 4 a.m. just to get ready and we came back from a Thanksgiving party around 12 a.m.”

Friends Felicia Kubinski and Dawn Stinson, who began shopping around 7:20 a.m., took a break from scouring the

Tony Alvarez watches over purchases as he waits for his mom to complete her shopping at  the Westfield Valencia Town Center on Black Friday. Photo Tom Cruze/For the Signal
Tony Alvarez watches over purchases as he waits for his mom to complete her shopping at the Westfield Valencia Town Center on Black Friday. Photo Tom Cruze/For the Signal

mall to get some much-needed caffeine.

“We got our Starbucks and then we’re going to keep shopping,” Kubinski said.

ccox@signalscv.com
661-287-5575
On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_

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Christina Cox
Christina Cox is a multimedia journalist covering education, community and breaking news in the Santa Clarita Valley. She joined The Signal as a staff writer in August 2016.
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