Black Friday shoppers fit in Thanksgiving and shopping
BAXTER--Many families had their Thanksgiving feast Thursday and some headed out the door to begin their Black Friday shopping in the Brainerd lakes area.
BAXTER-Many families had their Thanksgiving feast Thursday and some headed out the door to begin their Black Friday shopping in the Brainerd lakes area.
People were lined up in front of and around the sides at many of Baxter retail stores, waiting for the doors to open. Mother Nature was nice this year as temperatures stayed around 33 degrees, with hardly any wind and no snow or rain, though there was patchy fog.
About 400 people lined up at Best Buy before they opened at 5 p.m.; the line at Target about 45 minutes prior to opening at 6 p.m. was about three-fourths the way down the front of the store and closer to 6 p.m. the line made it around to the side of the store. It was the same story at Kohl's as the line began to swirl into the parking lot as the 6 p.m. opening crept close.
Once the doors opened, people quickly headed to the items they wanted and the stores burst into action.
There were the three reindeer ladies from Isle in line at Kohl's. Sisters Kim Wingrove and Sue Robertson and their good friend Laura Erickson, all of whom were wearing reindeer antlers with glitter on them so they can find each other at the stores.
The ladies-who called themselves the "Mille Lacs Reindeers"-were behind about 20 people in line at Kohls.
"We've been doing Black Friday for about seven years," Wingrove said. "We have so much fun. We try to pick something new each year to put on our heads so we can find each other more easily.
"It was hard this year finding something new to wear. ... We get everything from the Dollar Store."
Robertson said they have a tradition that includes a trip to the coffee shop, getting the newspaper and going through all the ads. They map out their trip and then they're ready to go.
"We did our Thanksgiving early so we had enough time to get here," Robertson said. "We take selfies of ourselves at every store so our friends can follow us. We try to be creative and take funny photos. One year we took a picture of the 'Caution: Wet Floor' sign.' We do a lot of selfies with mannequins."
Robertson said she likes that the stores open Thursday because they are not as crowded and the lines are not as long.
Wingrove was hoping Rafferty's Pizza would be open when they were done shopping because that also is part of their tradition. The ladies had plans to go to several stores, including J.C. Penney Co., Walmart, Target, Dunham's and Herberger's.
Paula and Bruce Kerber of rural Brainerd were the first people in line at Kohl's.
"We normally are in Florida at this time of year," Paula Kerber said. Instead they're in town to go Black Friday shopping to purchase items for a raffle for Racers For Christ, a nondenominational ministry to the world of motorsports.
"We're bearing the cold for our raffles," Kerber said. "We were in the (Twin) Cities today for our family dinner and drove back to be here. We plan to get a lot of stuff from Crock Pots to pots and pans to griddles.
"We do eight raffles a year and we will have more than 100 things to raffle off. The raffles are a dollar."
Kohl's Manager Laura Frost said this was her 13th Black Friday and this year the store will be open for 30 hours straight.
"We're very excited," Frost said after the line of people came into the retail store. "I love the holidays, love the season and I love Black Friday."
Frost said Kohl's wants to be shoppers' No. 1 destination and they work hard to accomplish that.
Frost said items "that have generated a lot of excitement" are American Girl dolls, Fitbits and Nike products.
TVs seemed to be a hot buy at Target. Anita Iaquinto of Aitkin was first in line at Target because she had to get a new TV.
"My 4-year-old son broke our old one two weeks ago," she said.
Iaquinto said she pulled into the parking lot at Target at 2:30 p.m. and waited in her minivan until about 3:30 p.m. when she started to see people coming. She said her son and daughter were at Wal-Mart as they wanted to get the big stuffed animals, an Xbox and some odds and ends.
Iaquinto said she likes that Black Friday starts Thursday. She never went when it started on Fridays because she didn't want to get up so early.
"We've always had our Thanksgiving later at 8-9 p.m. so that hasn't changed (because of shopping)," Iaquinto said.
Right behind Iaquinto was Mike Lynn and his friend Raymond Martin, both of Aitkin. They were in lines for the TVs; in fact they wanted the 50-inch TV.
Lynn said the wife and the girls were at other retail stores while they waited in line at Target.
"This is my first time," Martin said of shopping on Black Friday. "Mike just said let's go so here we are."
J.C. Penney was the first store to open Thanksgiving Day, at 3 p.m. When people entered the store they were greeted by a clerk who was dressed as a turkey and handing out coupons.
Kay Pihlaja, J.C. Penney manager, said the parking lot was full when they opened and shoppers have been in and out nonstop.
"It has been fantastic," Pihlaja said of the customer traffic as she also was running nonstop.
Pihlaja said the hot items this year are the electronics, some household items and women's boots. She said the retail store has so many items priced at $25 or less that people will be able to get everyone on their Christmas list checked off with one stop.
Theresa Fischer of Crosby, who was shopping with her mom, said they started shopping around 3:45 p.m. and there were "a ton of people." She said they got every item on their list, which included a Crock-Pot, pajama bottoms, boots and a comforter.
"It didn't take long for us to check out," Fischer said. "We're heading to Wal-Mart next.
"I'm fine with (Black Friday) starting early. We do our family Thanksgiving at noon and have everything done by this time. And this gives us something to do."
Tyler DeVries of Farmington, who was shopping with his girlfriend after they had Thanksgiving dinner with her family, said they have mixed feelings about the early store hours.
"It seems like they keep pushing Thanksgiving earlier and earlier," DeVries said."It's like let's hurry up and have lunch so we can go shopping.
"I think it is taking away from family time to go buy stuff and it has you wondering where your morals stand."
At the same time, DeVries and his girlfriend said they like that they don't have to get up early Friday morning.
Cindy Albrecht of Crosby said she got to J.C. Penney at 4 p.m. and was able to find her items, which included towels and a nice necklace for her daughter. Albrecht said the lines were not too bad and she had plans to also go to Kohl's and Herberger's.
Albrecht, like DeVries, had mixed feelings about Black Friday being on Thursday.
"I look around here and see all these people and think we all should be home with family," she said. "But there are a lot of good deals."
Albrecht said her family ate early, not because of the stores opening earlier, it was just the way it worked out, so she had time to go shopping.
Small Business Saturday
Lakes Proud is Cass and Crow Wing counties supports Small Business Saturday. Small Business Saturday is a day dedicated to supporting small businesses across the country. Founded by American Express in 2010, this day is celebrated each year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
As a consumer, they can support small business in lots of ways. They can patronize a local small business, invite friends to shop with or share on social networks where to shop at small businesses.
Lakes Proud reports in Cass and Crow Wing counties, if every adult made one $50 purchase each month at a local store, $42 million would stay in the community; if every business made on $500 purchase each month from a local vendor, $18 million would stay in the community.
Lakes Proud is a collaboration of the Brainerd Lakes, Crosslake, Cuyuna, Nisswa and Pequot Lakes Chambers of Commerce to grow the regional economy.
"We want to create an understanding that it matters where consumer and business dollars are spent. It's a buy local campaign with Lakes flair," Lakes Proud states on its website.