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Working at Shopping

Twelve-year-old Vicki Vesecky put in the equivalent of a work day shopping the day after Thanksgiving.

Twelve-year-old Vicki Vesecky put in the equivalent of a work day shopping the day after Thanksgiving.

From 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Ashburn girl shopped at stores in strip malls and at shops in the Dulles Town Center with her mother Janet Havican and grandmother Pat Widdowson of Newborn, N.C.

"There's a lot of after-Thanksgiving deals and stuff," Vicki said. She was out shopping for gifts for her family and friends, along with a picture frame for her teacher. "I just like to shop, and it's fun."

"It's an all-day job," Havican said. "I think there's a lot of people shopping. Kohl's was so packed [at 8 a.m.], you couldn't move. And Kirkland's is buzzing with people," she said, pointing to the store behind her.

Havican and other shoppers packed the Dulles Town Center Friday, the initial start of the Christmas and Hanukkah shopping season.

CONSUMER sentiment has remained fairly stable during the last quarter, staying within the 40-year average for six months, as reported by the county Department of Economic Development. A national economic indicator, consumer sentiment gauges consumer consumption and signals changes in consumer spending. The indicator reached a 10-year low in March of this year and has since increased.

"I've not seen a slow down ever. I have not seen the consumer side slow down," said Jason Hudak of Manassas. He and his wife Lori visited family for the holidays and decided to shop at the Dulles Town Center on Friday, where they had been shopping for four hours to look for gifts for family and friends.

"Anytime we go shopping, there are people everywhere. Somebody's spending money," Lori said.

Kelly Bradley of Lovettsville had that goal in mind as she took her family out for a shopping trip at the Dulles Town Center. "We're out shopping today because my sons are home from college, and I'm trying to get him to show me what he wants for Christmas," she said, pointing to one of three of her sons.

Leesburg resident Anne Schultz was out shopping with her mother Marlan Reiser of New York on their annual day-after-Thanksgiving trip. "It seems to be busy. It looks like people have packages," she said.

"We had an early rush. It was in and out. It wasn't all at one time," said Ann Jo, owner of 2 U from Me, Inc. in the Countryside Shopping Center. Even so, "I think they're still waiting. ... I think there are going to be last minute shoppers. We have Christmas up, but they're not really shopping much."