The buzz was akin to a post-Thanksgiving Day sale, as shoppers arrived early, scoured the aisles for deals and filled their buggies with bargains.
For the Camden area, the grand opening of its first Goodwill store Thursday ushered in a new era of discount shopping.
At the same time it offered the hope of a boost to the area's employment health.
"We've been waiting for this for a long time," said Betty Carraway, who was among the first several hundred people to make their way into the Springdale Drive store.
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The opening marked the 28th Goodwill store in the state and the ninth in the Midlands.
Stocked entirely with community donations, its stores support job placement and training opportunities for S.C. residents, specifically those with disabilities and other special needs.
"This is why we do what we do," said John DeLoach, Goodwill Industries vice president of retail, as he surveyed rows of shoppers in the Camden store. The facility includes a retail area, drive-through donation drop-off and Job Connection center.
The first shoppers arrived before 7 a.m., and by the time doors opened at 9, more than 150 people were waiting in line. Some had traveled 30 miles or more, while others had either taken a day off from work or changed their schedules to make sure they were among the first in line.
Awaiting them at the store was a large inventory, including shoes, hats, furniture, household appliances, toys, books, videos, pictures, and men's, women's and children's clothing.
"We're going to shop till we drop," said Camden resident Warren Nealey, who came to the store with his wife, Betty Nealey.
Lois Gerard, office manager for the Sumter veterinary office of her husband, Chris Gerard, persuaded him to close Thursday so the two could go to the grand opening. The couple have shopped at the Goodwill in Sumter for many years, but Lois said she couldn't resist the chance to visit another store.
"I go at least once or twice a week to check out the new stuff," she said.
Lugoff resident Marilyn Furniss has long frequented Goodwill stores across the state and elsewhere. She said she is thrilled to finally have a store closer to home.
"It's wonderful to be able to look, (wonderful) like all those things you see," she said. "And when I hear what some women pay (at other places), I laugh."
"There is no excuse for people not to have anything anymore," she said.
Equally as exciting as the savings, many said, is the store's potential impact on the area's employment.
The Camden store employs 21 people and is home to one of Goodwill's Job Connection sites, which help area residents with such things as resumes, online job searches, computer training and job referrals.
Goodwill officials said last month the agency helped nearly 400 people find jobs.
Many shoppers said the combination of getting a bargain and helping put people back to work is a plus.
"It's helpful to a lot of families," Carraway said. "They're not just here to get people's money, but to help them in the process."