Shoppers looking to take advantage of a rebate program designed to recycle inefficient appliances didn't waste any time early Thursday.
Business was steady in the early hours at Ventura TV Electronics & Appliances' Blackstone Avenue store, which opened at midnight. More than 100 customers showed up the first two hours, said store manager Raffi DerSimonian.
After a bit of a lull from 3 to 5 a.m., business picked up again and store employees were busy ringing up sales and informing customers about the rebate process by 9 a.m., he said.
The Cash for Appliances program for items such as refrigerators, washers and window or room air conditioners, will dole out $35.2 million in rebates in California -- for as long as that pot of money lasts.
That created a bit of urgency for customers who had heard that rebate money in other states had run out within hours.
Pat Oliver, who lives in Madera County, said her most pressing need was replacing a 15-year-old dryer "on its last leg."
She walked out of Ventura TV with a new clothes washer and dryer, saving $325 through rebates from the Cash for Appliances program, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and the manufacturer.
"They gave me a good price, and the rebates helped," Oliver said.
Don and Judy Amerson of Clovis, who had been looking to replace their 16-year-old washer and dryer for about a year, saved $375 in rebates.
At Sears in Manchester Center, several people were waiting outside when the store opened at 6 a.m.
A store discount coupled with rebates dropped the price of a washer for Jerry Fitzhenry of Fresno by several hundred dollars.
In addition to the Cash for Appliances rebate, Fitzhenry, who also bought a dryer, will receive rebates from the city of Fresno and PG&E for using an energy-efficient appliance.