By Angela Peacock and Ryan Lengerich
Perhaps put to sleep by a Thanksgiving feast, Tucumcari shoppers took to local stores early Friday morning on the nation’s biggest shopping day of the year.
Tucumcari K-Mart opened at 6 a.m. Friday to kick off the season of Christmas shopping for Tucumcari residents, but was disappointed after learning most people weren’t aware of the sales because they hadn’t received the stores advertisements in the mail.
K-Mart Human Resources Manager Kristine Husman wants residents to know the store is still having special Christmas sales.
“We’re very angry at the post office because those fliers should have been sent out Wednesday,” Husman said.
Tucumcari U.S. postal service Postmaster Alan Wright said the mistake regarding fliers not making it out to area residents on time was due to human error. In his 22 years with the post office Wright recalls this being the first incident the post office has sent K-Mart advertisements late.
“We deeply regret any inconveince this caused to K-Mart and if we’ve just have stopped and looked a little closer people would have gotten the fliers on time,” Wright said.
The first 100 shoppers to arrive at K-Mart Friday morning received a cash card which could be redeemed for special discount at the register.
“We’ve had a lot of customers today like we usually do the day after Thanksgiving, but we haven’t had the normal amount we would of if those fliers would have got sent out on time,” Husman said.
Searching isles for the perfect Christmas decorations and gifts Tucumcari resident Linda Hatterman said though she wasn’t one of the first 100 shoppers who received a cash card she always shops K-Mart during the holiday season.
“I decided to start my Christmas decorating and have found some really good sales at K-Mart. I usually try to keep all my holiday shopping in Tucumcari, but I wasn’t about to get up that early for that craziness to be one of the first shoppers here this morning,” Hatterman said.
Having already received her K-Mart holiday flier Wanda Gallegos of Santa Rosa brought her 2-year-old grandson Jordan Gallegos to Tucumcari to check out any sales.
“Since there’s really no place to shop in Santa Rosa we do all of our Christmas shopping out of town — usually here, Las Vegas or Albuquerque,” Gallegos said.
K-Mart will be open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and Husman said they will be offering special layaway plans throughout the weekend.
ALCO opened at 7 a.m. Friday, two hours earlier than normal store hours. The store will stay open until 10 p.m. daily, including Sundays, for the remainder of the holiday season.
Store manager Scott Asbill said he required almost all store employees to work Friday during the shopping rush.
“We do four-times the amount of sales today than a normal day,” Asbill said.
Despite what he called a slow morning on Friday, Asbill said store sales surpassed a normal day’s total sales by 10 a.m. and he was pleased with the early afternoon shopping crowd. Asbill expects electronics to be hot items this holiday season.
Tucumcari shoppers, Asbill said, tend to start their shopping in town before searching out of town stores. Customer service, Asbill said is the key to keeping shoppers in the city.
“You have to keep the store in nice shape, straightened and have nice people,” Asbill said.
At the family owned Southwest Mercantile, owner Kathy Duba said the day after Thanksgiving is not a overly busy day. The store does not have a one day or weekend sale but instead uses advertisements and coupons that last throughout the holiday season.
She said this year’s holiday shopping is up from last year. The store is also offering free gift wrapping to entice shoppers. Duba expects boots to be a hot item for the holidays and said local people have told her the store’s boot prices are more than competitive with out of town stores.
“So that made me feel good,” Duba said.
She admits that many locals like to take trips to bigger cities such as Albuquerque and Amarillo to do their shopping. On the other hand, Duba said, she has had customers from Amarillo and Clovis that have made trips to Tucumcari to shop her store.
“Everybody likes to go out of town,” Duba said. “But we do okay too.”