Earliest hours ever: Shoppers make the most of extended Black Friday

By JB Clark and Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – By noon Friday, Jeanetta Toshee was almost 24 hours into her after-Thanksgiving shopping spree.
After lunch with her family on Thursday, she headed to Tupelo to catch as many deals as she could.
“I went to Sears, Belk, Walmart, came back to JC Penney then went to the flea market,” she said. “You’d think I’d be worn out.”
With a laugh and another swig of her large cup of coffee, she said she was “only getting started.”
The Black Friday shopping scene in Tupelo was as rushed and hectic as it’s ever been – only the fun began hours earlier than usual.
Thanksgiving Day saw stores open as early as 7 a.m. Sears and Toys R Us opened at 8 p.m., and Walmart started its special sales at the same time. The Mall at Barnes Crossing opened at midnight for the first time.
“It was huge,” said mall General Manager Jeff Snyder. “We actually opened the mall at 11, and we maybe should have opened them earlier.”
Snyder said the biggest crowd of shoppers was between midnight and 4 a.m. JC Penney opened at 6 a.m., bringing in another wave of shoppers. Waves of shoppers continued throughout the day.
Shoppers also hit downtown shops and other stores across the city.
Downtown retailers reported a steady stream of shoppers trickling in as they opened their doors between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m.
Barbara Fleishhacker, owner of Main Attraction on Main Street, said some shoppers finished off their overnight shopping spree with her before going home and going to bed.
“We had a really good crowd from 8 a.m. until 9 a.m.,” she said. “We had really nice, brisk, business. And then around 9:15 a.m. we didn’t see anyone again until about 10:30 a.m.” Around noon, Fleishhacker’s store was fairly crowded.
Shaundi Little of Saltillo was at Main Attraction, and like many downtown shoppers opted out of all-night shopping at big box stores.
“I decided to wait until after lunch and just come to some of my favorite stores where I regularly shop downtown,” she said. “You can find gifts for people you can’t find anywhere else.” Little said she was also finding comparable deals at the downtown retailers.
Carlee Glenn, of Guntown, was shopping at Shoe Country in the West Main Shopping Center Friday after lunch. She said she was staying in the downtown area to avoid traffic.
The Tupelo Flea Market also was in full swing, with a parking lot that was bustling throughout the day.
“We’re hitting all the stores, plus the flea market today,” said Shelby Cayson and her sister, Sheila. “Just gettin’ it done.”

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