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Black Friday: Lure of savings draws early crowds
Shoppers hunt for bargains as holiday buying spree begins
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Gabby Sanders shops for boots Friday morning at Belk in Gainesville taking advantage of deep discounts after Thanksgiving.

While some Black Friday shoppers waited in lines for stores to open, many took advantage of special store hours to get their shopping done more conveniently.

The North Georgia Premium Outlet Mall in Dawsonville opened at 6 p.m. Thanksgiving Day and stayed open through 10 p.m. Friday. Kimberly Vigne, director of marketing for the mall, said a steady stream of shoppers flowed throughout the day.

“This year we opened a little earlier,” she said. “It was to accommodate the busy schedules of our shoppers and to meet the needs of our shoppers who are eager to kick off the holiday season.”

Judy Stein and her granddaughter, Ashleigh, decided to beat the crowds Friday morning and arrived at the outlet mall about 6 a.m.

“It’s really not too busy now, which is nice,” Stein said. “It’s cold, but there aren’t a bunch of lines so you can do all your shopping pretty quickly.”

Stein said she doesn’t like the idea of shopping on Thanksgiving Day, especially not around dinnertime. Vigne said large crowds came out as early as 4 p.m. Thursday to wait in lines for stores to open.

Roxann Hudson shopped Friday morning at Target in Gainesville looking for some Christmas ornaments and home décor, plus a few gifts for family and friends.

“Gosh, I love Target,” Hudson said. “It’s not the first time I’ve shopped at Target on Black Friday and I probably won’t go anywhere else today.”

Target was open from 6 p.m. Thursday to 11 p.m. Friday, also providing customers with vastly extended Black Friday hours.

Joseph Gordon of Gainesville stopped Friday morning at Best Buy. The Gainesville store opened from 5 p.m. Thursday to 1 a.m. Friday, then reopened again at 8 a.m.

Gordon said he was interested in purchasing a new television and wanted to check out the deals.

“I’m not really much of a Black Friday shopper, but I need or could use a new television and figured, why not come see what deal I can get on it?” he said.

Cpl. Kevin Holbrook with the Gainesville Police Department called Black Friday an “important and dangerous travel day,” reminding people to drive carefully and be mindful of their possessions.

“Many people will be traveling from store to store in hopes of finding the perfect Christmas gift,” Holbrook said in a release. “It is important to keep items out of plain view in vehicles. If you must keep items in your vehicle, make sure you secure them in your trunk or out of plain sight.”

Vigne said stores at the outlet mall had sales and discounts ranging from 25-65 percent off. She said she believes the excitement around Black Friday is simple.

“It’s all because they get to save lots of money,” she said.

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