Doorbusters, on-the-spot sales, early bird savings, and substantial rebates brought the city to life before sunrise on “Dark Friday.”

Spike Stoker, manager of Tractor Supply Company, said on his 4 a.m. drive to work Wal-Mart’s parking lot was over flowing, and lines were outside of J.C. Penney’s waiting for the doors to open at 8 a.m. He said customers were waiting for his 6 a.m. opening.

“Since opening, I have checked the sales for our other stores,” Stoker said. “So far (at 11 a.m.), we are ahead of our other locations.”

Jon Allen, Goody’s department lead manager, said the store opened at 4:30 a.m., and customers were waiting for the turn of the key to begin the big day. He said cash registers had not stopped.

“From 4:30 to 10:30 a.m., we had over $20,000 in sales, and we are open until midnight. It’s exciting,” he said.

Staples manager Stephen Wilcox said there was a substantial line of customers for his 6 a.m. opening.

“Advertised sales have done well. But other items are also moving,” Wilcox said. “The hot item this year is the Global Positioning System (GPS).”

Customers interviewed were ready for the holiday spirit. The cold snap didn’t deter them from braving the crowds to find bargains a month before Christmas.

Most shoppers said they would spend more money this year than last. The rise in prices and lower economy doesn’t seem to be significant for seasonal purchases.

Mike and Crystal Snider of Gorman were pondering digital frames at Staples.

“We have at least five years of pictures piled in various places,” Crystal said. “We thought it would be special if we just load up the frames and give them as gifts.” They were also scheduling some toy shopping for their two young daughters.

Jennifer and John Salinas of Stephenville were shopping for clothes and jewelry in Goody’s, while son, Tryston,,was watching over sleeping baby brother Asher.

Cindy Davis, SHS coach and math teacher, was caught in Staples after her session with Coffee with Coach.

“Cody and Brent aren’t interested in clothes anymore,” Davis said. “It’s all about electronics this year for my whole family.”

Two Hannah Montana dolls were grabbed up by DeLeon teacher, Charlene Everett. She was shopping for her daughters and five granddaughters and said she was happy that she still could locate the popular items at Goody’s.

Jack Dragoo and his son, Andrew, 12, were intently studying a Tractor Supply’s Warrior Mini Bike. Dragoo said his son was pretty sure the bike would be under the tree. He said his family was large, and much shopping is on the horizon, regardless of the economy.

“What are you going to do?” Dragoo asked? “Not enjoy your life?”

SHERRY BOARDMAN is a staff writer for the Empire-Tribune and can be reached at sherry.boardman@empiretribune.com or 254-965-3124, ext. 229.