POLL: Black Thursday?: More businesses opening before Friday to offer sales

Black Friday Insight My Thoughts Exactly by Annette Kniola

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Tradition dictates the Friday after Thanksgiving is the biggest shopping day of the year, but for some stores, that’s not enough.

Braving crowds is one thing, but ensuring all those door-busting deals turn into money in your pocket is another. So Toys R Us, Sears, Kmart, Walmart and several stores at Miromar Outlets will be open on Thanksgiving - hoping everyone is not too stuffed to shop.

Toys R Us will open at 10 p.m. Thursday.

“Last year we had thousands waiting for the store to open (at 5 a.m. Friday),” said Toys R Us spokeswoman Jennifer Albanon.

“This year again we’re expecting people who want to get an early start on Black Friday shopping, (so this) is designed to accommodate shoppers (who want) a deal and to help with crowds.”

Sears is also preparing for large crowds and will be open Thanksgiving Day declined comment. However, door-busting deals are available from 7 a.m. to noon and the company has extended its layaway program from eight to 12 weeks.

“This is what the customers said they wanted and we’re listening to them,” she said.

Walmart will be staying open on Thanksgiving Day, following their normal 24-hour schedule, but the door busting deals won’t begin until Black Friday morning.

Kmart will be also me open from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thanksgiving Day and will have specials. Those specials will resume on Black Friday from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m.

To some eager shoppers forgoing the turkey has become their holiday ritual; this is a reality that the Best Buy in Naples and Gulf Coast Town Center know better than anyone.

All employees are scheduled to arrive at 3:30 a.m.. In past years, there have already been eager shoppers lining up rearing to bust through the doors from some deals.

While some thrifty shoppers guard their spot on the sidewalk before sunrise, others opt for the late night route.

In the past few years, Miromar Outlets in Estero, has tempted shoppers with its version of midnight madness, opening the minute the clock strikes Friday.

“Our parking lot is pretty well filled up by 11:30,” said Jeff Staner, Miromar vice president. “There are lines waiting outside several stores (like Coach Factory, Polo Ralph Lauren, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nike, Reebok, adidas, Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger) waiting for them to open.”

So to accommodate the rush, stores will open in hourly waves.

Bath & Body Works, the Children’s Place, Nine West and Starbucks have chosen to be open at 9:30 p.m. Thursday.

At 10 p.m. more stores like Wilson’s Leather, Timberland, Pacific Sunwear, Lacoste, Journey’s, Eddie Bauer, Converse, Calvin Klein, Bass, Ann Taylor, Tommy Hilfiger, Van Heusen, Talbots, Nautica, Nike, Izod, Faconnable, Esprit, Crabtree and Evelyn, Book Warehouse, OshKosh and Carter’s Childrenwear will be ready for crowds.

And at 11 p.m. the remainder of the mall’s stores will open.

Staner said the mall is preparing for large groups of people by ensuring there is extra security. Also, they will have Florida Highway Patrol troopers there to help direct traffic at the Corkscrew Road entrance, just off Interstate 75.

“(We are opening earlier for one reason), because the people are here,” Staner said.

“Each year has shown there are more and more people that are coming earlier and earlier, getting in line for those door buster sales that are going until 6 a.m.”

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