It is officially the start of Christmas shopping season and Richland Mall in Waco was well-prepared Thursday night into Friday morning, they extended their hours so shoppers can find the best deals.
It’s Journey Garrett’s first time participating in Black Friday shopping, she was woken up at 2 a.m.
“I don’t like it,” she said.
For many others though, Black Friday shopping is a long-time family tradition.
“We know where we’re going, what time they start and when they end,” said Tanya Merritt, who has been shopping with her family since 4pm Thanksgiving Day.
“We dress up every year for Black Friday and we start Thursday night and go until whenever like we still got what two other stores to go to so non-stop, we take a couple of coffee breaks maybe eat here and there, take some naps in the van,” said Liz Gonzalez who went shopping with her mother and two sisters, a tradition at least 15 years in the making.
It’s no surprise shoppers were out in full force, the National Retail Federation estimates holiday sales will increase between 4.3 and 4.8 percent over last year, and could reach more than $720 billion.
“The lines are long, so people are spending money, not making a whole lot, but we spending,” said Donna Hill, who traveled to Waco from Corsicana just to shop.
In total, 116 million shoppers were expected to hit the stores on Black Friday.
“It felt slower this morning than it was last year but now it is on and popping, everyone is out. I think the people that went shopping at midnight, they took their little power nap, ate their turkey and came back and it has just been a blast,” said Allison Chamberlin, store manager at Bath and Body Works.
“I got up at like 6am and it’s been kind of hectic but it’s okay, I’m pushing through,” said Britney Silva, employee at Journey’s Kids.
That’s why the mall is hosting games and contests to keep the moral up, and people’s shopping game strong.
“This is all about the shoppers experience, we want them to come in, we want them to have fun, we want them to win some prizes, you know post on Facebook, this is a fun place to come to, it’s all indoors, the weather is nice inside here so it’s a great time to come out and just enjoy,” said Brad King, Marketing Director at Richland Mall.
The mall is closing it’s doors at 10 pm and reopening at 9 am Saturday morning.