The couple traveled 14 hours from their home in Barrie, Ontario, to Kingsport. Of course they also were in town to visit with her mother and sister, but curiosity about Black Friday in the Model City got the best of them.
You see, in Canada, Thanksgiving is in October and the big sales day of the year is Boxing Day, which is the day after Christmas, although Diane said sometimes they cross the border to Buffalo, N.Y., for holiday shopping.
“It’s different,” Diane said.
“They (retailers in Canada) do Black Friday sales there but nothing like you have here,” she said. “We’ve never been here on Black Friday.”
However, they weren’t excited enough to get up for the 6 a.m. opening of some stores.
“Your deals on Christmas presents are before Christmas. We get them after.”
She added that some Canadians actually delay their exchanges of gifts until after the Boxing Day deals.
Black Friday busy in Model City
The Stones may have been just browsing, but folks across Kingsport seemed to be in a buying mood Thursday afternoon and well into Friday, judging by parking lots and traffic. Shoppers were carrying bags and pushing carts full of purchases from stores to vehicles at the Pavilion, home to Best Buy, Target and Kohl’s; at East Stone Commons, including Office Depot, Ross and T.J. Maxx; the Fort Henry Mall, including JCPenney and Belk; Walmart; Kmart; and other locations.
Janice Jennings of Kingsport was at Best Buy with her children, Austin and Emily. They came about 2 p.m. Friday, although her son unsuccessfully came Thursday for the 5 p.m. opening in a quest for a television that sold out.
“I don’t go out to beat those crowds at 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning,” Jennings said, adding that TVs, cell phones, virtual reality devices and cell phone cases were among items on her to-get list this year.
Associates at retailers said the busiest times were when the crowds lined up outside stores Thursday and then again Friday. Most stores closed Thursday night or early Friday morning and then reopened with new deals for Friday shoppers. Many stores will have Saturday-only deals, too.
Retailers lure shoppers
To attract shoppers Thursday, JCPenney starting at 2 p.m. gave away coupons for $10 off a purchase of $10 or more, although one lucky shopper won $100 off $100 or more and another got $500 off $500 or more.
Pam Shipley of Kingsport said one of her friends won the $100 off $100 Thursday and that her dad once won it, too, on a past Black Friday.
Belk gave away gift cards ranging in value from $5 to $500 starting at 4 p.m. Thursday.
Inside the mall, which is being refurbished by new owners, shoppers were snapping up Black Friday bargains. Dunham’s, a new sporting goods store, ran doorbusters from Thursday until 3 p.m. Friday. Most stores had coupons or special offers in addition to doorbusters.
Black Friday gets its name from traditionally being the day during which retailers went from being in the red, or losing money for the year, into the black, or making a profit.
“I got everything that I wanted, plus more, which is the bad thing,” Shipley said, adding that her daughter and son-in-law traveled to the Pinnacle in Bristol, Tenn., to buy from the Carter’s store.
Shipley said she will go to JCPenney at 8 a.m. today to get another $10 off $10 or more coupon. She also said grocers Kroger and Food City have holiday deals, too.
Also, today is Small Business Saturday and Monday is Cyber Monday.