While some people compete in the races on Regatta Day, others compete for the best bargain.
The Royal St. John’s Regatta is big business for stores outside the capital city.
In Mount Pearl, managers at the Rona on Topsail Road and Pipers on Commonwealth Avenue both said it’s their biggest sales day of the year.
“Five times more (than Black Friday) probably,” said Rona branch manager Wayne Harvey.
“The customer count is a lot bigger, too,” he said.
To prepare for their Regatta Day sale, Harvey said he begins bringing in extra product about three weeks in advance.
On sale day Wednesday, he had 102 people working.
“Staff put a lot of work into it,” he said. “It’s a big job.”
Outside the store, vehicles overflowed on the front parking lot and blocked the lots of nearby businesses, such as Pennecon.
Across Topsail Road, vehicles were parked along the street’s edge.
Customers with full carts jogged across the busy road to load up their vehicles.
“We do this every year – we never go to the Regatta,” said Rona shopper Marlene Cahill.
Cahill said the Regatta is too crowded for her liking, and then she laughed.
“It’s funny to say it’s too crowded because normally this is a zoo when we get here.”
Another shopper, Darryl Francis, went in to Rona to buy lumber but came out with his cart full before he even got to that section of the store – he got sidetracked with a deal on a barbeque and a lawnmower.
“Now I’ve got to go back in again for lumber,” he laughed.
Francis said he enjoys the Regatta sales, but he also makes a point to attend the races when he’s finished shopping in the morning.
Across the parking lot, Dave and Tammy Crowley had two carts filled.
“We did well,” they said, as they stacked a cart-full of deck décor into their trunk.
Across town at Pipers on Commonwealth Avenue, store manager Carol Masters said Regatta Day is their “number one day” of the year and “definitely” bigger than Black Friday.
Pipers shopper Eva Nixon eyed a sale on towels.
“I’m looking for a few specials,” she said. “You’ve got to make the dollar stretch.”
And out in the parking lot, Sandra Sampson filled her trunk.
She said taking advantage of Regatta Day sales doesn’t mean she can’t also go to the Regatta.
In fact, as she closed her trunk, she said she was headed to Quidi Vidi Lake right away — not only did she compete with shoppers for bargains in the morning, she’s also competing as a rower in the afternoon.