Shoppers opened up their wallets and lined up at stores all over the Augusta area Thursday night and Friday morning.
The shopping season began soon after the last morsels of turkey and dressing were consumed Thanksgiving Day.
Images surfaced on social media on Thursday evening of lines wrapped around the JC Penney at the Augusta Mall, while customers at Kohl’s in Evans stood in lines that stretched to the back of the store to checkout.
Palmetto Moon store manager Lauren Beckum met with her team of employees Sunday to prepare them for the busiest shopping day of the year. Palmetto Moon opened in late summer in the Augusta Mall and Beckum said the store’s inaugural Black Friday was easier than expected.
“We weren’t really sure how today was going to go since it’s our first year here but it’s been great,” she said.
Shoppers bustled from store to store, looking for the best deals, while children played in the mall’s playground or had pictures made with Santa Claus.
It’s that atmosphere that keeps Beckum excited.
“This is my favorite time of the year because there’s always something that needs to be done, always someone I can help, always someone to shop with when we’ve got parents coming in with lists,” Beckum said.
In mid-November, the National Retail Federation estimated that 69 percent of Americans would shop during the Thanksgiving weekend from Thursday to Monday. Of those 164 million people, 32 million were expected to hit stores on Thanksgiving Day, 115 million on Black Friday, 71 million on Saturday, 35 million on Sunday and 48 million on Monday. Those numbers indicate that many shoppers will spend more than one day gathering deals on gifts for loved ones or treating themselves.
Black Friday shoppers Crystal Arnold and her daughter, Abby Arnold, 15, of North Augusta left their house at 4:45 a.m., made a Starbucks run and had a “girls day out” on Friday shopping for gifts and looking for deals for themselves.
“You can usually get some good deals if you get there early enough; however, we weren’t wanting to venture out on Thursday,” Crystal Arnold said while shopping at Kohl’s. “I think Thanksgiving should be with family and friends, and I wish the stores weren’t even open.”
Academy Sports and Outdoors, T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and Dillards were a handful of stores not open on Thanksgiving Day. On Thursday, Academy Sports tweeted, “Happy #Thanksgiving! We are closed today so that our team members can enjoy time with their families and friends. We’re all about that fried turkey, though.”