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Locals cash in on lack of Black Friday parking

By Megan Terlecky, Anchor / Reporter, megan.terlecky@cbslocal2.com
Published On: Nov 23 2012 07:02:19 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 24 2012 12:32:32 AM CST

Parking Problems

CABAZON, Calif. -

For a lot of shoppers just getting to the stores were a challenge.  At Cabazon and Desert Hills Premium Outlets, a prime parking spot was a hot commodity.  Local residents took advantage, helping shoppers and making some extra money.

Nancy Pena, a local resident, says, "It got pretty crazy."

Even in the afternoon looking for a place to park was difficult, there was hardly an empty space in sight.

Nikki Thaxton, a Black Friday shopper, says, "We were planning on coming last night at 9 o'clock and we thought about all of the crazy parking; so we said lets hold off until today.   We came with the hopes that everyone would be burnt out and unfortunately they aren't."

With construction on new stores and a parking structure there are fewer spaces to go around.  Employees are even taking a shuttle from the nearby Morongo Casino, Resort and Spa.

Paul Wallsinger, a spokesperson for Desert Hills Premium Outlets, says, "The more employees that were able to have parking off site opens up for customers as they come to the center."

Sheriff's deputies helped direct traffic and people.

"This takes months to plan for having this many people come and have it flow so smoothly," says Wallsinger.

Many shoppers parked in a dirt lot down the street and then walked a couple of blocks to get to their favorite stores.  Friday afternoon there was plenty of parking, but when the stores first opened, it was a different story.

Flor Pena, a local resident, says, "Really, really crazy.  Last night was crazy there were so many cars."

Local residents came to the rescue of many Black Friday shoppers, turning their yards into parking lots.

Jose Sanchez, a Black Friday Shopper, says, "I'm lucky because I found my parking for 10 bucks."

"It was either drive around for an hour and a half or pay the $10 and I feel happy about that, very excited that they were willing to allow us to park there," said Thaxton.

Local homeowners were excited as well.

Amy Rumbles, a local resident, says, "I actually had the whole yard parked with 13 cars in two hours last night."

Flor Pena has been selling parking for the last five years and says this year was one of the busiest.

"We filled that lot over there, then right here and then the other side; so its been really good," said Pena.

Nancy Pena, Flor's daughter, says, "Cars just kept coming non-stop.  It got a little crazy.  We had glow sticks, we had a lot of fun."

At $10 a car Pena says they can make upwards of $1,300 just in one night.

Flor Pena says she will put the money to good use, "To buy Christmas gifts for the kids."

"It's really good actually, blessed," said Nancy Pena.