Black Friday starts early, ends late
by Michelle Babcock
November 29, 2013 10:27 PM | 2178 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Outlets Shoppes at Atlanta welcomed shoppers from all over metro Atlanta for its first Black Friday rush. The Outlets opened Thanksgiving Day at 8 p.m. and stayed open all night, through 10 p.m. Friday evening. <br> Staff/Todd Hull
The Outlets Shoppes at Atlanta welcomed shoppers from all over metro Atlanta for its first Black Friday rush. The Outlets opened Thanksgiving Day at 8 p.m. and stayed open all night, through 10 p.m. Friday evening.
Staff/Todd Hull
As many started their annual shopping in the early morning hours of Black Friday, other shoppers were already finishing up at stores that were opened overnight for early sales.

Some stores, like those at the Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta, Best Buy and Kmart, opened their doors Thanksgiving Day and remained open overnight for shoppers.

Gina Slechta, spokeswoman for the Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta, said that “well over 10,000” consumers flocked to the mall for the “All Night Madness” event.

“We know for sure that it was well over 10,000 people that were here overnight,” Slechta said.

The Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta opened at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving for the all-night event and remained open until 10 p.m. on Black Friday.

Slechta said that, between the 1,781-car-capacity parking lot and off-site overflow lots, parking space at the mall fluctuated at about 75 percent capacity during the overnight event and throughout the day Friday.

During peak afternoon hours, parking reached 100 percent capacity at times.

“We made extra arrangements with the parking, and of course we’ve got drop-off area and we’ve got the valet parking going on. We’re able to still accommodate a lot of people at the shopping center,” Slechta said of the traffic management at the outlet mall Friday. “It’s going in waves, people are staying about four hours at the shopping center, so the parking lot is turning over about every four hours.”

Slechta said that in addition to the 10,000 overnight shoppers, thousands more arrived at the mall on Black Friday to take advantage of sales.

“It was what we expected,” Slechta said of the crowds.

Shoppers took advantage of extra hours

The Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta weren’t the only retailers to remain open for more than 24 hours straight as Black Friday shoppers funneled in to find sales.

Canton resident Taylor Smith said she went to 15 or 16 stores between 8 p.m. Thursday and 11 a.m. Friday during a marathon shopping session.

“We came home one time to unload, and then we also came home to swap out the car for the truck for our bigger items,” Smith said. “The longest line I think we waited in was at Target, but we were in and out of Target in about 40 minutes.”

Smith said she would’ve waited until Black Friday around 5 or 6 a.m. to start her shopping, but didn’t want to miss out on a sale on a camera at Target Thursday night.

“We did get some good deals,” she said.

Jessica Dillard, also from Canton, said she got to Target at 7 p.m. Thanksgiving Day to wait in line for the 8 p.m. opening.

“I was really regretting walking out the door without a cup of coffee — it was freezing,” Dillard said.

Dillard went from Target to Dick’s Sporting Goods and then to Kirkland’s with a friend, she said.

“The line outside of Target was very long, but once my shopping was done and I got in line to check out we moved really quickly; Target has a great system for checking out. We were in line at Dick’s Sporting Goods to check out for about 20 minutes, and Kirkland’s had no line at all,” Dillard said.

Despite the cold, Dillard said that it was worth the wait and the work, and planning helped to make her night of shopping a success.

“I am almost done with all of my Christmas purchases. I was extremely pleased, I can’t wait to start wrapping,” she said.

After finding success at Target, Dick’s and Kirkland’s, Dillard said she took her children to Kohl’s on Highway 92 at about 10:30 a.m. Friday morning.

“That line was much longer for checking out, but the people around me in line were very helpful. We were probably in line for about 30 minutes, which feels more like two hours with a 2-year-old and a 6-year-old. But the kids were extremely patient and the people in line with us didn’t mind entertaining them. I got a great deal on a Keurig coffee brewer. I probably only paid about $65 when it was all said and done,” Dillard said.

Another Canton resident, Millie Cline, went shopping in the early morning hours on Friday, too.

“We rested a little bit Thanksgiving night, and then we went out about 2:30 a.m. and were out until about 10 a.m. Friday morning,” Cline said. “I’m in the Service League of Cherokee County, and we are shopping for 200 children this year for Christmas, between the 90 members in the Service League, and I have three children to shop for this year.”

Cline, a member of the Cherokee County Service League along with her sister Nellie Johnson, said she went shopping to find good deals on children’s toys so the money would “go as far as it possible can.” Johnson was also shopping for two children through the Service League program, Cline said.

Getting good deals on toys for the children in the program is why Cline said she “participated in the insanity.”

“I wouldn’t normally go out, it’s just because I want to give them the most that I can. I want my dollar to stretch as far as it possibly can, for them,” Cline said.

The Service League program allows up to five children who are in need from each public school in Cherokee County to be recommended for the program by the school’s counselor.

Cline and her sister started their shopping at Kmart, along with their mother, Anne Warren, and sister, Brooke Skellie, all from Canton.

From Kmart, the group of four moved on to Wal-Mart, followed by breakfast at Waffle House, then to Target, and finished up at Kohl’s at about 10 a.m.

“At 3 a.m. in the morning, you’d be surprised how few people are at Wal-Mart,” Cline said. “It’s wonderful.”

Cline said avoiding crowds and long lines was worth the late-night shopping trip.

“We really enjoy being together,” Cline said about shopping with her mother and sisters. “We enjoy it because it’s kind of like an adventure for the four of us.”

Big crowds were reported at Kohl’s, Best Buy, Target, Belk and Wal-Mart stores in Cherokee County. Some people were even seen with lawn chairs and blankets with them as they stood in line in the cold so they could be the first inside to take advantage of advertised sales.

Best Buy in Canton opened their doors at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and remained opened until 10 p.m. on Black Friday.

A Canton Best Buy employee confirmed on Friday that shoppers were lined up around the building waiting to get in the door before the store opened at 6 p.m. on Thursday night.

The manager was unavailable for comment, as the employee stated the store was just too busy.

Kmart in Canton opened at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day and remained open until 11 p.m. on Friday, catering to patrons of the busiest holiday shopping weekend of the year. Louise Satterfield, manager of the Canton store, said that the crowds were huge on Black Friday and the store was “slammed.”

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