Though some employees at various retail stores around Aiken looked pretty tired, there were still a lot of smiles as they helped hundreds of customers coming through their doors Friday.
Many store managers around the city said this Black Friday was quite a success. Starting as early as 8 p.m. Thursday evening, shoppers hit the stores hoping to find some great deals.
Sears was one of the stores open Thursday, and it had long lines stretching out into the parking lot at both entrances.
Target, which opened at 9 p.m. Thursday, had a line of enthusiastic shoppers wrapped around the building before it opened. They stayed very busy until about 2 a.m., according to Senior Team Leader Ivory Jackson. It was quiet later that morning but employees were ready for another wave of customers later in the day.
“I think they (customers) were pretty happy,” Jackson said Friday morning. “We had some great sales on electronics and TVs. We had a lot of door busters.”
Jackson said shoppers were picking up items that they didn't even realize they wanted until they saw them on the shelves.
“That's what Black Friday does,” Jackson said.
Some stores in the Aiken Mall, like Books-A-Million, opened at midnight. Customers were grateful for the opportunity to buy some coffee to stay energized throughout the night as they hopped from store to store.
“There was a line out the door ready for the cafe,” said Lloyd Nieto, Books-A-Million customer service specialist. “It's been steady.”
While some enjoyed the extra hours of shopping, others weren't too thrilled with stores opening Thursday night rather than early Friday morning.
“It kind of takes the fun out of it,” said shopper Debby Jordan of Aiken. “Rushing from store to store is what makes it fun.”
Jordan was shopping with her daughter-in-law Ashley Rickard who said the crowds did seem tamer than last year and, despite the crazy hours, they were enjoying the sales.
She brought her 3-year-old daughter Ashton later that morning so she could experience the shopping event of the year for the first time.
“We've kind of made it a family tradition,” Rickard said, smiling.
Other stores stuck with the more traditional Black Friday hours like JCPenney. The last few Black Fridays were a bit disappointing, according to JCPenney Store Manager Kristin Flake, but this year was different. The store opened at 6 a.m. and there was a line at each entrance, she said.
“It went fantastic, and sales are doing great,” Flake said.
Many Aiken County residents were out and about Thursday night and all day Friday, but there were quite a few people from out of town.
Terry Albright, of Virginia, was sitting on a bench at the Aiken Mall as he waited for his wife. They were in Aiken visiting family and decided to take advantage of the Black Friday sales that afternoon.
“We've had easy access,” Albright said. “I think we beat the crowd.”
Cindy Gosnell, her daughter Kayla and other family members came from Hampton to shop in Aiken. They typically go to Savannah but stopped here instead.
“It's a lot less hectic and a lot more quiet,” Kayla said.
Michelle Moten of Barnwell met up with family members in Aiken for Black Friday around 6 a.m. She said she typically comes to Aiken to do her holiday shopping.
“It's fun with family and friends,” Moten said. “There have been some very good deals.”