JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – The Black Friday shopping marathonbegan early this year, with a few big box stores choosing to open onThanksgiving.
Shoppers sprinted from one store to the next in Jonesborolooking for deals, and the extended shopping hours meant big business forstores of all sizes.
Not even cold temperatures could keep shoppers away from thehot holiday deals. Hundreds waited hours outside stores like Target and BestBuy to pick up discounted items like tablets and televisions.
The Gearhead Outfitters store at The Mall at Turtle Creekopened at midnight Friday to a crowd that Manager Megan Farwick could onlydescribe as "insane."
"A line started around like 11:15, 11:30 [p.m.] outside ofour store," Farwick said. "The crowd was way bigger than last year's. When we openedthe doors, we all played rock-paper-scissors to see who was going to have to doit."
She worked at the mall from midnight until 4 a.m., and thenwent home to sleep a few hours before helping open the Gearhead store on MainStreet at 8 a.m.
"We're doing 10 percent off store wide and buy one, get onehalf-off all footwear as well as a few in-store specials," Farwick explained. "Ithasn't really slowed down so far. It's been pretty steady."
A stream of customers stayed steady for another popularstore in Jonesboro on Friday – j. christopher toys, located on West Parker Road.
"A lot of times, people just come in here to de-stress, getsome ideas, mark some things off their list and feel very accomplished whenthey get out," said Mary Horne, the store's owner. "We're tradition for people,but we've had several families in today that it was their first visit. It wasexciting to be able to talk to them."
Horne says the toy store may not see long lines like the bigbox stores do, but Black Friday is still one of her biggest days for sales ofthe year.
"Black Friday is often the time of the year when retailbusinesses like myself can kind of make the turn and give the banks a littlebit of confidence that we can, you know, sustain," she said.
Most retailers see Black Friday as the official start to theholiday shopping season, and for good reason. The National Retail Federationpredicts that more than 140 million people plan to shop over the Thanksgivingholiday weekend.