When the hour hand struck 8 a.m. Monday morning, sales for the borough's annual Collingswood Cash holiday promotion began, spinning the town into a fevered, two-hour frenzy.
By 9:56 a.m., officially became the final of three local purchasing sites—which included and —to sell out of its Collingswood Cash supply.
Both buyers and employees at each purchasing site said the promotion, which offered $20 free for every $50 of Collingswood Cash sold—with certificates valid at all borough businesses—yielded the largest turnout of any holiday season.
"I got to borough hall at 8:40 a.m.," said Collingswood man Jay Carlson, who bought $300 in Collingswood Cash Monday morning, yielding $120 in free bonus cash. "The line seemed a lot longer this year. I've been buying Collingswood Cash for the past four years, and the turnout seems a little bit better each year."
Carlson's first order of business as a 2011 Collingswood Cash-holder?
"I'll probably spend it at restaurants in town," he said. "I'd be spending money there anyway, so why not pay this way? It's extra money to spend."
Collingswood Communication Director Cass Duffey also noticed the heightened response to this year's promotion.
"(Collingswood Cash) has sold out consecutively faster every year, which is good, because it means more people are finding out about it and more business is coming into our downtown," said Duffey.
Further down Haddon Avenue, was second of the three sites to sell out. After making the final sale at 9 a.m., employee Carrie Schreiber was sent to post a "Sold Out," sign on the bank's front door.
"I'm not surprised at all about selling out in the first hour," said Schreiber, taping a corner of the sign onto the glass. "(A coworker) said there were people in the parking lot when he arrived at 6:30 a.m. By the time I got to work at 7 a.m., 30 or 40 people were lined up around the building. They even brought lawn chairs; it was really cute."
Just as Schreiber finished posting the sign and retreated back into the bank, borough resident Kelly Rathbone emerged from within, bearing a huge grin—and last Collingswood Cash certificates sold that day.
Although it was her first time purchasing Collingswood Cash, Rathbone played her cards right.
"I made sure I got here relatively early; I was in line by 7:50 a.m.," said Rathbone, who didn't exit the building with her $300 in Collingswood Cash until 9:06 a.m. "I got really nervous (toward the end), when I heard them announce they were running low, just about five minutes ago. I wanted (this trip) to be worth my time because I have to go to work today."
But earned first place in Monday's sell-out record.
"We completely sold out 35 minutes after we opened this morning. I think that's record time for any site (since Collingswood Cash's inception)," said Teller Supervisor Donna Adams. "People were wrapped around the building. The line went all the way to the back of our parking lot.
"By 7:50 a.m., the line filled half of the parking lot. By 8 a.m., the whole thing was full," said Adams. "We had absolutely no parking spots left."
Pat O'Neill, attempted to start her Collingswood Cash hunt at at 9 a.m.
"I think most people thought opened at 9 a.m., but they opened early because of Collingswood Cash," she said. "The second I got there, they sold out."
O'Neill instantly found herself formulating a new plan of action.
"When we found out there was nothing left, everybody just bolted," said O'Neill, who fled with a group to borough hall, rumored to still have stock. "We literally ran down Haddon Ave. My car is actually still in the parking lot; I was going to move it to borough hall, but I thought that might waste time and hurt my chances."
Thanks to quick-thinking and a dedication to the hunt, O'Neill left borough hall victorious.
But despite being successful, O'Neill's grip on the wad of Collingswood Cash loosen only when she returned to her car, at —the site she'd begun, and ended, this town-wide annual quest.