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Local Retailers Preview Black Friday Deals

CLEVELAND — Holiday shopping has arrived – and local retailers are cranking out the deals starting on Black Friday.

One of the hot ticket items at Learning Express in Westlake is a writing tablet, the Boogie Board, which is made in Kent.

“It’s been quite popular, actually for several months now,” said Mark Caston, owner of Learning Express. “It’s an LED display and it comes with a stylus and you can write what you want on the camera.”

Toys, however, aren’t the only thing at the top of wish lists.

“It’s actually the number one seller in the store,” Caston said. “These are live frogs. They come in an eco-aquarium. Very low maintenance and that’s why parents love them. It costs about $5 to feed them for an entire year.”

The store is offering deep discounts on Friday. From 6 to 9 a.m., shoppers will get 25 percent off items that aren’t on sale. Other items will be 20 percent off throughout the weekend.

For those who don’t want to wake up early, however, some retailers like Toys ‘R’ Us are starting sales on Thursday night.

“I’ve found that I can go now on Thanksgiving night and I find a lot of things then,” said Debbie Bird of Norton. “I love it. Love it.”

Joe Becka, manager of the Toys ‘R’ Us in Copley, said parents need to keep their eye on several items for the holidays.

“We have the Trash Pack is one of the hot things,” Becka said. “Skylanders right behind me here. Skylanders is huge. One of the big breaks for the video game system.”

Other must-haves are a new line of Lalaloopsy dolls, the new Wii-u gaming system and iPods.

Customers will get a $20 iTunes card with the purchase of a 4th generation iPod along with a $30 iTunes bonus, Becka said.

Caston said shoppers should tackle their lists by planning ahead, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

“To see people who are able to come into the store and find what they’re looking for and be happy about it, you know that means a lot to me too,” Caston said.